Tag Archives: Book Club Reading List

Review: The Book That Matters Most

The Book That Matters Most

The Book That Matters Most
By Ann Hood
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393354096, August 2017, 384pp.

The Short of It:

Surprisingly enjoyable.

The Rest of It:

After Ava’s marriage falls apart, she finds herself desperate for companionship. So desperate, that at the suggestion of a close friend, she joins her book club. The club’s reading theme for the year is “the book that matters most”.  The participants select books like The Great Gatsby or To Kill a Mockingbird but Ava selects a book from her childhood that many are not familiar with.

As Ava navigates life and tries to figure out where to go next, her daughter Maggie spends her days in Paris as a kept woman and spirals downward into the dark sea of addiction.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when this book was selected for my book club. Honestly, I felt like it would be too fluffy and dare I say it, too romantic and sappy but it was none of those things. The Book That Matters Most deals with some pretty deep topics. I found myself eagerly flipping the pages and because it centers around a book club, there is plenty of bookish talk which I always enjoy.

This book has been around for a little while but I don’t recall ever seeing it before it was selected for my club. I’m glad I read it. I felt like the daughter’s story was more developed than Ava’s but overall it was an enjoyable, page-turning read.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: Nutshell

Nutshell

Nutshell
By Ian McEwan
Anchor Books, 9780525431947, May 2017, 224pp.

The Short of It:

A clever take on Hamlet as told by a fetus.

The Rest of It:

You don’t need to be familiar with Hamlet in order to enjoy Nutshell but it certainly helps.

Trudy leaves her husband John for his brother, Claude. Together, Trudy and Claude come up with a plan to murder John. The house they occupy is quite valuable. With John out-of-the-way, they could potentially make quite a bit of money. But their plan is not a secret to Trudy’s unborn child. The child is fiercely loyal to his mother and somewhat loyal to his paternal father, John, Mostly because he cannot stand the vile Claude.

This is not a new idea. Movies like Look Who’s Talking have provided platforms for the unborn to voice their opinions but in Nutshell, Trudy and John’s child is very well-spoken, a wine connoisseur (due to his mother’s affinity for drink) and hilarious with his high-brow take on the dim-witted plan these two have hatched.

Nutshell is very literary and clever and superbly written. I’ve read many of McEwan’s books and all of them have been good, with Atonement being my favorite. However, Nutshell was very enjoyable. It was a book club pick and many in the group agreed that it was humorous in its own way, but some felt it was a little over-the-top with its pretentiousness. I didn’t mind that part of it and had no trouble suspending my disbelief over the fetus telling the story, but the scheme these two come up was riddled with holes from the beginning so believability in that regard is non-existent.

Have you read it? I think some readers are intimidated by McEwan and if that’s the case, I recommend Nutshell because it’s not as heavy as some of his other books.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.