I keep a running tab of “Books I’ve Read” in the Notes app on my iPhone. I like to keep track because I often move so quickly from one book to the next (there’s no time to waste when my TBR pile is overflowing), and it’s nice to go back and reflect on what I’ve read, taking a minute with each book. They all affect me differently—some are pure enjoyment, some make me nostalgic, some teach a lesson. This month’s books were a varied lot, but I appreciated each one for the different qualities they have and I hope you will, too.
Stuck on Mars after a space mission gone awry, astronaut Mark Watney makes a desperate bid to survive despite near-impossible odds. The adaptation stars Matt Damon, who has some experience with stranded spacemen—he was in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar just last year. But don’t get the two tales confused: according to Damon himself, The Martian is “totally f****** different.”
Release date: October 2, 2015
André Aciman’s language and writing prowess blew me away in his debut novel. Though it has a slow start, this coming-of-age novel set in the Italian Riviera is a beautiful, tender, evocative story. Set in the 1980s, Elio starts his summer just as any other, but is consumed when Oliver, a 24-year-old American professor, arrives to stay for the season. Playing with memory, time, and love, Aciman tells the story of Oliver and Elio’s attraction, fascination, and obsession with each other.
I watched the classic Hitchcock film of Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic masterpiece starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine for the first time in years the other night, and in loving it was reminded of how much I also loved the book. Is there a first line of a novel more evocative than “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”? Only Hitchcock could do justice to the moodiness and plot twists of Du Maurier’s genius work.