I’ve really had a down year reading books. I think a lot of it is the news, the pandemic, and the election stealing away my ability to concentrate. When I get too bogged down by current events, I find that I can’t quite escape into either fiction or non-fiction. I used to blog a lot for an outlet, but I’ve found since I started graduate school a lack of time (and energy) for blogging. I’ve mostly quit social media this week, and while I journal and save quotes in a notebook, I realized I just need an outlet to write again. I thought the best place to start with is what I’ve been reading lately.
Crazy Rich Asians is the first novel in a trilogy that involves the life of one “crazy rich” Singaporean family. Kwan chooses to focus on three cousins–Nick, Astrid, and Eddie– but their whole families get involved in the book and multiple family members get perspective chapters.
This book has Nick’s best friend Colin getting married. Nick decides to bring his girlfriend of two years, Rachel Chu, to the wedding. The family is in an uproar attempting to determine how serious the relationship is and whether or not Rachel is good enough for their family.
In the midst of this drama, Astrid makes a discovery that her picture perfect marriage is not as perfect as she has believed. She’s still dealing with this discovery when the book ends in a way that tells me this side-plot will be much more prominent in the second book.
I have had the novel on my bookshelf since the movie came out in 2018, and it was fun to read, even though I had already watched the movie. I plan on reading the second and third books in the series this year, and I have them ordered and on the way to add to next month’s potential TBR.
I also watched the movie (which is streaming on HBOMAX) with my thirteen and nine-year-old daughters. The movie sticks fairly close to the plot of the book, and the girls both really loved it. I enjoyed the escapist nature of both the movie and the book.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is a mash-up of two genres. First, we have the chick lit theme of middle-aged housewives who read vampires novels. Then, we have the classic horror (scary) vampire story. Patricia lives in the Greater Charleston area (I believe in Mount Pleasant). It’s a lovely area, and she has a lovely life with a husband, two children and a close group of girlfriends that she loves to get together with and talk about books. But, when strange things begin happening in her part of the town, she begins to think she knows who is behind it all, and she wonders whether or not she’ll be about to protect her family from the danger lurking in the neighborhood.
This sounds like it might be light and comedic. Trust me that it’s not. This book is not only gory and in the traditional horror genre of vampires, but it also deals with big issues such as spousal abuse and racism. It’s a tough read, and it may be hard to beat when it comes to choosing my favorite read of the year. There were times when it was hard enough that I wanted to put it down, yet mostly, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It was totally absorbing, and I will be thinking about the book for a long time.
If you’re a highly sensitive person, this is not a read for you. There’s just too many triggers in this book. Like many vampire books, it has close to all the triggers. If you’re like me and you share books with your teenagers, leave this one out of their hands.
That’s my reading for this week. I really enjoyed both of these, and they have similarities with housewives, etc., even if they were two very different books.