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Recently Read 2022 | Part III

As expected, my summer reading didn’t end up exactly being summery books, but I finally hit my stride with 5 star books, and my two favorite books of the year so far!

Unlikely Animals | I came across this book after hearing about it on the all of the books podcast when Liberty mentioned it giving her similar John Irving vibes and I quickly added it to my library holds list. It was so good– unique plot and storyline, flawed but likable characters, great pace and ending. Definitely one of my favorite books of the year. Here’s some of the synopsis because I really feel like I can’t fully explain it:

It was a source of entertainment at Maple Street Cemetery. Both funny and sad, the kind of story we like best. Natural-born healer Emma Starling once had big plans for her life, but she’s lost her way. A med school dropout, she’s come back to small-town Everton, New Hampshire to care for her father, dying from a mysterious brain disease. Clive Starling has been hallucinating small animals, as well as visions of the ghost of a long-dead naturalist, Ernest Harold Baynes, once known for letting wild animals live in his house. This ghost has been giving Clive some ideas on how to spend his final days. Set against the backdrop of a small town in the throes of a very real opioid crisis, Unlikely Animals is a tragicomic novel about familial expectations, imperfect friendships, and the possibility of resurrecting that which had been thought irrevocably lost.

Rules of Civility | I rarely prioritize reading backlist books, but I came across this one when searching for books set in New York and the synopsis sounded like something I would love, and I was right. It took a turn I wasn’t expecting pretty early on, and definitely what I was expecting, but I haven’t been so wrapped up in a book in a really long time. I felt like I was in Katey’s world the entire time and I can’t wait to read Amor Towles other books. Another favorite of the year!

On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.

Every Summer After | I usually don’t go towards into romance books, but this one was all over Instagram & Heather’s reviews convinced me to give it a try because it reminded me of Love and Other Words (which I looooooved). It was similar to that in the childhood friends to lovers told through a then & now format– totally different settings & characters though. The majority of the story takes place over the summer at a small lake town in Canada, where Percy falls for the boy next door as they grow up spending their summers together. You know *something* happens that splits them apart, and she goes back to the town for Sam’s moms funeral. The *big thing* is pretty obvious from chapter 3, but I kept thinking maybe I was wrong (I wasn’t), but it was still okay because I was so wrapped up in the characters that it didn’t feel as eye-rolly as it could have.

When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past.Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic look at love and the people and choices that mark us forever.

After this I started and stopped a ton of books, Lessons in Chemistry among others, and couldn’t get into them, my reading has ebbed and flowed so much this year– I either read books back to back, or I go weeks without reading anything.

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