Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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Transcription

This book marked the completion of my 2019 reading challenge! 34 books finished on October 2 (my book posts are only on Tuesdays so they are a little behind)! I really have the train to thank as it gives me ample time to read every day. Especially on those odd days when there are mechanical issues and it takes 2 hours to get home.

I have read 2 other books by Kate Atkinson – Life After Life and A God in Ruins. Neither was my favorite so I haven’t read another of hers. But my friend who has also read those told me that Transcription was much more likeable. She is my guru for books so I gave it a shot. And of course she was right.

Transcription is historical fiction that takes place during WWII. Juliet is recruited to work for MI5 (think CIA in Great Britain) and ends up taking on various roles. She begins by simply transcribing conversations between an MI5 agent and some German sympathizers, but is eventually looped into the espionage ring by taking on alternate identities and sent in to form relationships with suspects. And of course it wouldn’t be an Atkinson novel without some time jumping. In 1950 post-war Britain, Juliet thinks she has left that life behind but realizes how difficult it is to escape when ghosts from her past begin appearing again.

Nothing is as it seems and trust that no one is who they say they are. This was an entertaining and riveting read. Some of the characters are loosely based on real people and the ideas are loosely based on real events (apart from the actual war, of course). I definitely recommend it. Enjoy!


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Recursion

If you don’t like books that make you think, then you can expect Recursion by Blake Crouch will make your brain hurt. He writes great sci-fi, which isn’t always my jam, but both of Crouch’s books I’ve read have been fantastic.

Helena sets out to create a device that will help Alzheimer patients save their memories. And she succeeds. But the device does so much more than she intended and in the wrong hands, the device creates a world that is self-destructing due to memories being tampered with. Think sci-fi Groundhog Day meets the Matrix. Imagine reliving the same lifetime over and over only to get to the same day to have all the other lifetimes flood back into your memory. And then horrific things taking place as you try to stop them.

But don’t think too hard while you’re reading because you will lose your mind trying to figure out if what’s happening makes sense or is even slightly plausible. It’s not real but it is slightly terrifying. Enjoy (haha)!


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Where the Crawdads Sing

I waited for a while to get this book on Kindle loan from the library and it was worth every minute. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was engaging, suspenseful, and heart-wrenching. The story is about Kya, who grew up in the marsh of North Carolina’s coast. She and her family were outcasts, not at all accepted by the town they lived near. And as young girl, she can’t even rely on her own family to support and protect her.

She raises herself and makes a couple friends along the way who help her get by, including helping her to educate herself. But when it comes to dealing with people and emotions, she is in unfamiliar territory. Understandably, she has a hard time trusting, since everyone in her life has abandoned her. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want a human connection and tries for it. But is taken advantage of. Things get nasty when she is charged with murder and any progress she has made socially is trampled. She distances herself from the friends she did have and appears to give up. But her attorney would not let that happen.

This is a story of survival, growing up, life lessons, and overcoming obstacles. And Kya does all of those things despite of people’s cruelty. This was a great read and I it was hard to put down, even when I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Definitely deserves all of the accolades it has received. Enjoy!


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The Art of Racing in the Rain

If you don’t like to cry, don’t read this book. If you don’t mind crying, I recommend not reading this book in a public space. Luckily for me I finished last night at home so avoided that embarrassment.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein had been on my list for a while, but when I saw the movie preview, I moved it to the top and put a hold in to get it. I like reading books before I see the movies!

This is not really a spoiler because the first chapter of the book is a dog at the end of his life. I knew then that I’d be in trouble, but I plowed through. The story is from the perspective of the dog, Enzo, and it covers his life with his family. The family grows and the family deals with a lot of stuff. Serious illness, conniving family members, hurtful accusations, and questions of custody. And Denny, Enzo’s owner, is dealing with all of this while trying to make a living and chase his dream to become a professional race car driver.

I mean, how much can one person take in a life! There are many sad things in this book but I will say the ending, for the family, is not. It’s a fascinating perspective from the eyes of the dog and it makes me look at my dogs differently. I always wonder what they’re thinking and why they do the things they do. My dog is 14 now so I think the end of the book hit me especially hard.

It was a good, albeit emotional, read and it was quick (I finished in 3 days). So if you like to read the book before the movie you can probably even finish while it’s still in theaters. Enjoy!


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Educated

As I’ve alluded to in my last few book posts, I was in need of a romance break. I had heard Educated by Tara Westover was good and I knew it was a memoir, but hadn’t really paid attention to what it was about. What is was was fascinating.

The memoir is all about Westover’s family, upbringing, and her journey to where she is today. And it was an incredible journey. She is completely self-educated, as in she never attended a formal school until college. Her family is very conservative and her parents are self-sufficient and un-trusting of the government or any kind of organized system (hospitals, schools, etc.). Her father is likely bi-polar. They worked a scrapyard to earn money among other various jobs and her many siblings took different journeys once reaching adulthood.

The memoir is essentially a number of short stories meant (I think) to portray the different people in Westover’s family and show the general trajectory of Westover’s life. A life that dealt with mental illness, mental abuse, physical abuse, family estrangement, all along with the personal desire for more and something different. Reading it, I imagined her childhood taking place in the late ’70s or early ’80s but Westover is just slightly younger than me (born in 1986). That blew me away. I cannot imagine having to choose between your family and what you know is right; choosing between your family and what is safe.

The stories felt a little disjointed at times but overall it came together and was a fascinating read. Enjoy!

educated


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One Day in December

Surprise, surprise – more love! Sorry I’m not sorry – I love these books. Although I do like a thriller or nonfiction break occasionally (which is coming up soon). One Day in December by Josie Silver was a quick, easy read about missed chances and what-ifs. It’s not quite a rom com because honestly I didn’t find much humor in it. Some was even a little sad.

Laurie experiences love at first sight through a bus window and is pretty sure the guy felt the same way. But he didn’t make it on the bus before it pulled away (I’m sure in a highly dramatic fashion). She spends the next year searching for ‘bus boy’. (Side note – when you’re dating, you HAVE to have nicknames.) And eventually she does find him….when he is introduced to her as her roommate’s new boyfriend who she is falling head-over-heels for. What would you do?! Would you immediately tell your roommate (who has been searching with you) that she is dating ‘bus boy’??

Laurie has to make this decision and (spoiler alert) she doesn’t say a word. She continues to live with this secret for years and I think it literally eats away at her. The story covers many years and the relationships of the two roommates, both with each other and with their significant others, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I won’t give everything away because where’s the fun in that.

But this would make another GREAT movie, as with my last book, and if you like the cheesy, gushy stories (but with a little more real life thrown in) this one is for you. Enjoy!

onedayindec

 


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Match Making for Beginners

No I’m not taking a course in match making. Though that would be a highly intriguing career choice. Match Making for Beginners by Maddie Dawson was another free Kindle book and complete disclosure – I liked the cover. And it was free!

The story was very cute and entertaining. It had elements of your typical rom com but also some twists. Main character Marnie just wants a regular old life. She is on track for that until her fiancé decides, at the altar, that he doesn’t want to marry her. But his eccentric aunt Blix had already picked out Marnie as special. Blix considers herself a match maker and enjoys life to the fullest and she sets out to set Marnie up for the same wonderful life.

Blix passes from a tumor and leaves Marnie the building she owns/rents in Brooklyn. And she adds stipulations requiring Marnie to stay there at least 3 months before making any decisions about the building. Both families of course think the whole situation is nuts. Marnie’s family think she is being scammed. Ex-fiancé’s family think the house should have gone to them. So Marnie moves into Blix’s house, starts developing relationships with the other tenants, and has to decide what her next life move will be.

The ending left a few pieces hanging, but overall the book was cute and I definitely recommend it. It would also make a great movie. Enjoy it for free on your Kindle!

matchmakingforbeginners