Here’s a smattering of my recent reads. What are you in the mood for?
…a gripping murder mystery whodunit:
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
You probably recognize Flynn as the author of Gone Girl, the “it book” of summer 2012. Well, my good friend Lindsay recommended I read one of Flynn’s earlier novels. So I started with Dark Places. A fast-paced and gripping tale, the novel centers around the (fictitious) massacre of the Day family in rural Kansas. The main character is Libby, a seven-year-old who survived the slaying—and testifies that her older brother Ben killed the rest of the family. But did he? Flynn switches back and forth between the present-day and the days leading up to the murders in 1985, through multiple characters’ point-of-view. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, Flynn offers up a new morsel of info. It’s macabre, it’s fast, and it’s meant to be read in large gulps.
And you coulda guessed this one—the film rights were bought and the movie’s already been cast. Read before you see! P.S. I’m going to get my hands on Flynn’s first novel, Sharp Objects, real quick. I’ll let you all know how it is.
…a series of funny but true essays:
Everything’s Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford
If you follow reigning Twitter queen Kelly Oxford, you’ll probably enjoy her debut book of personal essays. With Everything’s Perfect When You’re a Liar, Oxford joins the ranks of Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Ellen deGeneres—all female comedians who’ve released a book of humorous personal essays in the past two years. Lena Dunham’s is coming soon too.
I love Oxford’s dry sense of humor. The book lagged a bit in the middle for me—I preferred her childhood anecdotes and grown-up tales over her adolescent wanderings. Still. You’re in Oxford’s capable, humorous hands the entire time. A great, light beach read.
…a non-fiction account of Chicago’s sordid, early-20th-century past:
Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul by Karen Abbott
This book has been on my “to read” list for quite some time, so it was a happy accident that I stumbled upon it at the half-priced bookstore. I sold back about 15 books and got $8 in return; this book cost $8. Serendipity!
Sin in the Second City focuses on The Everleigh Club, Chicago’s most high-end brothel in the notorious Levee district—home to opium dens, brothels, saloons, and a seedy cast of characters around the turn-of-the-century. If you like historical non-fiction, you’ll enjoy this romp through time. It showcased a side of the city I knew very little about.