This weekend more than two feet of snow settled atop New York City’s streets and resulted in a travel ban and transit shutdown on Saturday that effectively trapped me at home. Despite all that, I had a great weekend: snow shoveling led to a snowball fight and a snow angel, followed by hot chocolate laden with marshmallows and whipped cream; Todd and I finally had time to relax and catch up on season six of Royal Pains; and I baked a walnut-topped blueberry loaf.
But one of my favorite moments during the blizzard came on Saturday morning while everyone else still slept, and I curled up on the couch with a blanket and a book in front of our electric fireplace. There are few activities as cozy and pleasurable as that, especially when you’re reading a novel you can’t put down. Unfortunately I’ve also slogged through some duds since I last posted a reading update. To help you decide what to pick up and what to pass over, I decided to write up a few one-sentence reviews about my winter reading picks thus far:
The Black Prism by Brent Weeks: The first in the Lightbringer series, this fantasy newcomer delivers a fresh, funny protagonist; an action-packed story with a mind-blowing twist; and a really detailed and really cool system of magic based on color.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker: This gripping novel brings to life two creatures of legend, a golem named Chava and a genie whose real name is never revealed—and in prose as mesmerizing as the gleam of a magic lamp, it chronicles their very real, very human struggles.
The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller: Romance, tragedy, and magic fill readers of this short novel with a yearning and nostalgia they didn’t even realize they possessed.
Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem: Though it began with a fun premise and quirky family dynamic, this novel quickly became an uninspiring commentary on urban life, with flat characters and lessons never learned.
After Alice by Gregory Maguire: A far cry from the delights of Wicked, this fantasy retelling succeeds only in making readers feel as though they’ve fallen down a rabbit hole and, in order to get back home, must wade through tiresome bouts of wordplay, boring character cameos, and two story lines that mostly ignore each other.
Season of Salt and Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe: This breezy book’s thin plot and too-easy ending leave the reader unable to find anything meaningful in its love-story drama.