Hello readers!

It’s been over a year since I last posted on Books on the Table. Why? I guess I’ll blame it on the pandemic. During those long months at home, I kept hearing, from friends and participants in Zoom book clubs that I moderated, that reading, specifically concentrating on a book, was challenging. I didn’t experience that difficulty — I’ve never read more — but I did find myself paralyzed when it came to writing. I’d sit down to write a book review, and no words would come.

I’m not ready to “retire” from Books on the Table, which has been a rewarding, creative outlet for me for nearly eight years, and I will continue to update my reading list (Read in 2021) and to post every now and then. However, I’ll post regularly on my new Instagram page (Talking Books with Alice & Ann) — please check it out and follow us! My partner at Between the Covers Book Discussions, Alice Moody, and I will both provide book recommendations. We hope you’ll comment and let us know what you’re reading.

Here are some highlights of my reading since March 2020:

Favorite novel: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. Runners-up: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue, The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline, Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard, Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin, Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian, We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida, Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews.
Favorite nonfiction book: American Baby by Gabrielle Glaser. Runners-up: The Lost Boys of Montauk by Amanda M. Fairbanks, Finding Freedom by Erin French, This Is All I Got by Lauren Sandler, Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford.
Favorite books for book clubs to discuss: The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

I’d love to know what you’ve been reading!


5 thoughts on “Reading Recap — and an Update

  1. It’s so good to see your post pop up. I’ve missed you and your excellent recommendations! Hamnet is such a good read. I’ve not heard of American Baby until now but it’s now on my library list.
    I apparently like “Sliding Doors” types of books because two of my recent favorites were Half Life by Jillian Cantor and The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas. 🙂
    Hope the rest of your summer is very good.

    1. Hi Katie,
      I just picked up a copy of The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano — looking forward to reading it! I think the book is set in Rhode Island (or maybe the author is from there?) which interests me because that’s my home state. Loved Half Life!
      Happy reading,

  2. I did not care for Morningside Heights.

    Two recent reads that have me shouting praises: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman (a debut novel, but you’d never know it) and The GUNCLE. Both are fast and very enjoyable reads but leave you thinking. Curiously, each figures children, but are far far from saccharine. I am as high on both these books as I was on Towles’ Gentleman of Moscow – tho vastly different in theme, they leave you similarly impressed by the human condition and our abilities to endure, grow and overcome.

    1. I’ve heard great things about The Guncle — and will have to check out The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman. Loved The Gentleman of Moscow — one of my all-time favorites. Towles has a new book coming out this fall.
      Thanks for writing!

  3. Hi Ann,

    I will check out your new Instagram page and am glad you will continue sharing book recommendations. Two of my favorite pandemic reads: “Brood” by Jackie Polzin and “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I also enjoyed Klara and the Sun. I guess I will pull out my copy of Hamnet!
    Kim Beck

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