If you know me at all, you know that I love to read. I love written language. I love a good story.

I have been tearing through books lately.

I highly recommend you check out The Tender Bar. It was, by far, my favorite book I have read in a while. And it is perhaps my all time favorite memoir.

I finally got around to reading Sarah’s Key.

I desperately wanted to like this book because it came highly recommended, but when I finished it my thought was, “Meh”.

Hear me out.

Sarah’s Key begins as two stories.

The first story is of Sarah, an eleven year old girl that gets rounded up by French Police during World War 2 as a part of the Vel’ d’Hiv round up. Her story is heartbreaking, riveting and spellbinding. She, her mother and her father are taken by police from their home- as they leave, she locks her younger brother in a hiding place hoping to come back soon to save him. Sarah and her parents are taken to an arena to be held in deplorable conditions until they are shipped to temporary camps, separated from one another and then destined for Auschwitz. I could not turn the pages fast enough as Sarah’s story unfolded.

The second story is set in 2002 in France, and it centers around Julia. Julia is a journalist in a less-than-enviable marriage. She is given the assignment to write about the 60th anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv round up. And far too early in the book, we stop hearing Sarah’s story from her point of view and we are left with Julia.

I thought Julia lacked depth as a character, and as a reader I just didn’t care about her or what happened to her.

And then somehow the book turned into this weird, predictable Nicholas Sparks-ish story. And I was over it.

I was so disappointed because the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup story is an important one to tell, and I cared so quickly and so deeply for the character Sarah. I felt almost betrayed by the author when the intimate details of Sarah’s story were abandoned for Julias. Blah.

All in all, the book was a quick read, and I did stick through until the end. I would recommend it solely for gaining an understanding of the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup.

Next, I finally read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Some of you may know that this book was one of those “highly anticipated” novels. All sorts of important literary people were waiting and expecting to be blown away by Morgenstern.

Me? I’m not sure exactly what I think of The Night Circus. I think I liked it.

I turned the pages of the book quickly to find out what would happen in this fantastical story. I loved the world that Morgenstern created. I could see the Night Circus, and I wanted it to be real.

My beef with the story? There are about a billion characters. I found it a challenge to keep the characters straight, and when that happens it inevitably means there are characters I just don’t care about.

The end of the story was rushed and somewhat confusing to me. I think it was clear that Morgenstern had a vision of how the story would end in her head, but it just didn’t translate perfectly when she put pen to paper. But, that is just my opinion. I know lots of folks that loved this book.

If you are interested in what I would consider some of the best reads ever, here are a few to pick up this summer:

Freedom  by Jonathan Franzen

Your Voice in my Head by Emma Forrest

The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer

Bossypants by Tina Fey

What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Shantaram  by Gregory David Roberts

Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano

Do you have any recommendations for me? And don’t say Fifty Shades of Grey. The writing in that book is horrendous. I’m sorry. I know lots of people love it, but it is true.

Have a great day, my friends.

Happy Reading!