SALT LAKE CITY — If you’re looking to read more in the new year, then you’ve come to right place.
Some New Year’s resolutions or intentions might be thwarted by the ongoing pandemic, but reading more is not one of them.
Welcome back to the KSL.com Book Club! It’s a book club with a twist, where some KSL.com team members read a different book and then recap our picks at the end of each month. The goal here is to simply read more and escape real-world distractions, if only for a few pages a day.
This month’s KSL.com Book Club features book picks from social media manager Yvette Cruz, breaking news reporter Jacob Klopfenstein, news director Whitney Evans and reporter Graham Dudley. If you think of a book one of us might like based on our book choices and reviews, feel free to let us know!
Yvette’s pick: “The Light We Lost,” by Jill Santopolo
“The Light We Lost” follows the story of two people over the course of 13 years. Gabe and Lucy meet in college in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, where the events and emotions of the day change the trajectory of their lives. What follows is a story of love, loss, ambition and choice.
The story is told through vignettes in the form of Lucy’s memories. As she’s recalling the last decade of her life, the reader gets little hints here and there about what’s to come for the characters.
While some parts felt predictable, I couldn’t put this book down. I was completely invested in the main characters and how the book would end for them. The pace of the book also takes off right away and doesn’t slow down, which I liked. The plot isn’t anything new but it still has the power to make the reader reflect on how the choices we make shape our lives.
“The Light We Lost” contains profanity and sexual content.
Who would like this book? Hopeless romantics or someone looking for a semi-lighthearted and quick read.
My next read: I got a puppy a couple months ago and have been adjusting to the life change. For some reason, I’ve been wanting to watch the movie “Marley and Me” again, which I haven’t seen since it came out over a decade ago. But recently, I came across a copy of the book by John Grogan which inspired the movie, so I’ll be going with that instead. Yes, I’m ready to have my heart ripped out.
Jacob’s pick: “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?” by Raymond Carver
Raymond Carver is revered as one of the greatest American writers of all time, but I wasn’t aware of him until a friend recommended his work to me a few months ago. I checked out “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?,” a collection of short stories focusing on mundane, yet somehow poignant, interactions in the ordinary lives of Carver’s characters.
I loved the light, conversational prose Carver uses. The stories are short and simple and would probably be boring in the hands of another writer, but Carver is somehow able to make them interesting and emotionally resonant.
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories
Who would like this book? Lovers of short stories and realistic fiction would like Carver’s writing. Carver wrote these stories in the 1960s and 1970s, so people who are into that time period will also enjoy his work.
What else I’m reading: I am a huge Cormac McCarthy fan and I’m trying to read all of his books, so I’m reading his novel “Outer Dark” now.
Whitney’s pick: “Dear Mrs. Bird,” by AJ Pearce
This book was a fun historical fiction piece about some young adults in England during World War II. It centers around Emmy Lake, who wants to be a war correspondent, and accidentally ends up applying to work in the office of an advice columnist for a women’s magazine that’s on its last leg and run by the same publisher. The columnist, Mrs. Bird, has comically puritanical rules about what questions she will/won’t respond to. Anything involving war, unpleasantness or relationships is ruled out. Emmy, feeling like she can help these readers, decides to respond to them personally herself, and when she can’t find addresses for some, takes a gamble and responds through the magazine itself, banking on no one reading the magazine and no one finding out. Comedy ensues.
There were some logical inconsistencies that made the book hard to take super seriously, but overall, it was a fun read.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Who would like this book? If you want a light read that will make you chuckle, and you can turn your brain off a bit so you can enjoy without analyzing, this book is for you.
What else I’m reading: I’m reading a book called “The Moment of Lift” by Melinda Gates, and “How We Win” by Farah Pandith.
Graham’s pick: “Greenlights,” by Matthew McConaughey
I cannot swear to the factual accuracy of 100% of this book. But honestly, if only 25% of this stuff went down how Matthew McConaughey says it did, this memoir from the Oscar-winning actor is well worth the read.
As a fellow Texan and movie lover, I’ve been enjoying the McConaissance for the past decade. And in some ways, this book reads exactly how McConaughey fans would expect — lots of tall tales, irreverent memories and vague spirituality interspersed with one-liners, poems and aphorisms. But there’s no denying that McConaughey has led an utterly fascinating life and learned some valuable lessons along the way. For anyone who feels stuck, unsure or unsatisfied, this book has more than enough adventure and wisdom to inspire. It also explains how McConaughey’s background and upbringing prepared him to become one of this century’s most iconic, and unique, leading men.
“Greenlights” contains profanity, drug use and sexual content.
Who would like this book? McConaughey fans, of course, but also self-help enthusiasts, film buffs, adventurers, biography readers and anyone who appreciates a tall tale.
What else I’m reading: I’m partway through “The Last Boy,” Jane Leavy’s Mickey Mantle biography.
Which book are you most interested in?