Great Reads

Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle – Expected out June 9

book
Publish Date:
6
/9/2020
Author: 
Jill McCorkcle
Started: 5/13/20
Finished:
5/14/20
Pages:
320
Rating:
⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Summary:“Jill McCorkle has long been one of our wryest, warmest, wisest storytellers. In Hieroglyphics, she takes us on through decades, through loss, through redemption, and lands in revelation and grace. As always with McCorkle, the story feels so effortless and true that we might well miss what a high-wire act she’s performing. But make no mistake: She’s up there without a net, she never misses a step, and it’s spectacular.” —Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Great Believers

Lil and Frank married young, launched into courtship when they bonded over how they both—suddenly, tragically—lost a parent when they were children. Over time, their marriage grew and strengthened, with each still wishing for so much more understanding of the parents they’d lost prematurely.

Now, after many years in Boston, they have retired in North Carolina. There, Lil, determined to leave a history for their children, sifts through letters and notes and diary entries—perhaps revealing more secrets than Frank wants their children to know. Meanwhile, Frank has become obsessed with what might have been left behind at the house he lived in as a boy on the outskirts of town, where a young single mother, Shelley, is just trying to raise her son with some sense of normalcy. Frank’s repeated visits to Shelley’s house begin to trigger memories of her own family, memories that she’d rather forget. Because, after all, not all parents are ones you wish to remember.

Hieroglyphics reveals the difficulty of ever really knowing the intentions and dreams and secrets of the people who raised you. In her deeply layered and masterful novel, Jill McCorkle deconstructs and reconstructs what it means to be a father or a mother, and what it means to be a child piecing together the world all around us, a child learning to make sense of the hieroglyphics of history and memory.

My Review:

How could I be only 42 pages in and be so heartbroken? Already at this point I recognized how bittersweet life really is. I felt immediately connected to the characters but longed for their everlasting life. Although their lives have tragedy, their day-to-day life seemed somewhat normal. Remembering every day occurrences and longing for them is what broke my heart so quickly. It felt like I was watching an old movie reel knowing it was about to be cut off and longing for it to keep going. I felt sad and didn’t want to continue to put myself through the sadness but knew that the characters’ lives were not really all that sad but just a normal life playing from beginning to end.

The author’s writing is so beautiful and this book is the true definition of modern literary fiction. Although there was no plot to find, this character driven book was much more than that. It’s a story of broken relationships and hardship that I felt truly compelling and heartfelt.

I whipped through the first half of the book and then things slowed down for me. I felt like the repetitiveness at that point was doing more harm than good and it’s ultimately why I ended up rating it 3 stars instead of the 4 that I believed I was going to give it at the start of my read.

This book is definitely a book I will remember for a while and I feel like it really pulled at my heart. I recommend this read for sure.

Great Reads

The Jane Austen Society – ARC Out Tomorrow! May 26

book
Publish Date:
5
/26/2020
Author: 
Natalie Jenner
Started:
5/12/20
Finished:
5/13/20
Pages:
220
Rating:
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Goodreads Summary:
Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

My Review:

Oh my heart! First things first, as an English Literature major, you’d think I would have read Jane Austen in my time. When I was a kid, I attempted Pride and Prejudice and just didn’t continue. I have yet to read any Jane Austen even though I am well aware of her literary accomplishments. That didn’t take away from this book. There were some points where I didn’t necessarily know the character or quotation from one of her works but I was still able to understand it.

Let me just say, I really struggled at first to get through this. I was struggling, felt defeated, and didn’t want to push through but with most of my reads, I usually do not abandon a book! I loved reading about Mimi as a character and her chapters but they were few and far between. About 130 pages in, it was just BAM I LOVE THIS. I needed to know all the details and wanted so much for everything to work out for our characters. I think that’s around when Mimi becomes a main staple in the book and she really did it for me.

The book is really cute and I think if you love Jane Austen, you will LOVE this book. If you aren’t a Jane Austen fan, you will still appreciate and love the book! It’s a slow burn (at least it was for me) so be ready to take some time to get into it. This isn’t necessarily a life-changing or fast read but it was a great palette cleanser.

By the end of the book, I felt connected to each of the characters. They each were deserving of what they longed for and I felt like their goodness shined through so bright. They were wonderful and quaint. The small-town relationships left me longing for a simpler life (not quarantine simple) and I felt like this book showcased those times wonderfully even a different country.

I recommend this read! This has made me want to go back and discover Jane Austen. The characters’ love for her is so convincing and beautiful!