What to Read: Book Reviews

Welcome to What to Read by Elementary Connections. I’m Samantha Goodman, a former bookseller with a passion for helping people find the perfect way to unwind. I’ve teamed up with my friends at Elementary Connections to give you some respite from the craziness of life under quarantine. Each week, we’ll recommend books with suggested drink pairings for each title.

The Highlights: Blogger turned star of a television show where she’ll be dating 25 men is a totally different ballgame.

Drink Pairing: The French 75

I heard about this book a few weeks back while reading The Everygirl, a blog I tend to read on a daily basis. The article discusses how the book inspired the writer to immediately download Bumble (a dating app, for anyone not familiar). I did not do that, but you know, to each their own. I did, though, very much enjoy this fun romance novel about Bea, a plus-size fashion blogger who becomes the star of Main Squeeze a reality dating show not unlike The Bachelor. Bea loves her body and has learned to ignore the hateful taunts of…

The Highlights: thrilling novel about systemic abuse at the highest levels of a major corporation and the suspicious death of the main perpetrator.

Drink Pairing: Chardonnay

If you love a good thriller and hate toxic masculinity, then read this book immediately! That might not be the best way to get men interested in this story of systemic abuse at the highest levels of a major corporation and the suspicious death of the main perpetrator, but perhaps men need to read this more than women do for that reason specifically. Murder mystery aside, Baker hit the nail on the head explaining all of the contradictions women have to put up with on a daily basis, from the struggles of trying to build a career and have…

The Highlights: This thriller examines the death of a famous photographer and the woman archiving her files more than 20 years later.

Drink Pairing: Manhattan

This thriller involving the death of a famous photographer and the woman archiving her files more than 20 years later is a gripping descent into depression, obsession, and madness. Miranda Brand was at the peak of her photography career when she died in what was deemed a suicide. Years later Miranda’s son, Theo, hires Kate to archive his mother’s work and personal files. While going through boxes filled with everything from grocery store receipts to broken pens to film negatives, Kate comes across Miranda’s diary. The more Kate reads the more convinced she is that Miranda didn’t kill herself….

The Highlights: This debut novel about a pregnant teenager and her growing obsession with one of her regular customers was not at all what I was expecting.

Drink Pairing: Bud Lite

I ordered this book a month or so after reading a review of it in The New York Times. I finally got around to reading it last week and I’m so glad I did. This debut novel about a pregnant teenager and her growing obsession with one of her regular customers was not at all what I was expecting. Jane is 18, pregnant, and completely ambivalent about it. While her mother and boyfriend are overly excited about their growing family, Jane just can’t bring herself to care. She’s content to continue working as a pizza delivery girl in her…

The Highlights: From a marriage marred by adultery to a forbidden tale of love at first sight, Perrin’s English debut is so engrossing you’ll savor every moment.

Drink Pairing: Sancerre

This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read this year, possibly ever, actually. This novel, translated from French, about a solitary cemetery caretaker will have you in your feelings more than Drake. Violette Toussaint’s life has not been easy, but over the past twenty years she’s managed to find contentment as the caretaker of the cemetery in Branchion-en-Chalon, a small village in France, where she is visited daily by gravediggers, the local priest, and visitors seeking the location of loved ones’ graves. She keeps herself busy recording the eulogies given at funerals, and in taking care of…