I am kind of checked out this week, but I did get to combine two of my very favorite things, reading and the beach. There was also soft serve involved. Pretty excellent combo. I’m not sure what to say about Hey Harry, Hey Matilda. This has a really low rating on Goodreads, and I think it’s because of a certain Unsavory Element that I won’t name but is pretty obvious if you look at the reviews or the description. That actually wasn’t what bugged me about this book though. I would have gone along with it if it had been better executed; the writing is just not as sharp or as funny as it needs to be to pull this off. The ending could have been hilarious if this worked, instead it was just gross. There was also some really clumsy writing to get around the email format. Two people emailing each other wouldn’t rehash their real life interactions in such detail. This could have been great in better hands but it was a dud. I was pretty blown away by Do Not Become Alarmed. I’m surprised because this is the kind of thing I always think I’m going to like but end up hating. Surprise! I could not put this down. Suspense, intrigue, drama, insight, this is pretty much a perfect novel. I read her first two books but I haven’t read her short stories and I think I will be picking them up as soon as possible. I guess there was nowhere to go but down from there. The Chalk Artist was okay, but very uneven. I have loved some of her books in the past but this one had some problems. There was so much description of gaming and I was just not interested in it at all. I tried to get into it for the sake of the book, but it did not grab me. There were a couple minor characters I found compelling, but the main story was the relationship between Collin and Nina…Nina was a bit dull and Collin was the brooding/fragile ego type that I just can’t stand. I did not care if they ended up together and I’ve practically forgotten how it ended already. I won’t hold this against Allegra Goodman because I’ve always enjoyed her and hope this was just a fluke. Next up was my “Does it hold up?” pick for the month. I read most of Ira Levin’s books when I was really young, and I’ve wanted to revisit something of his for a long time because I feel like his name comes up a lot. I picked The Stepford Wives because of how much I loved Get Out, but now that I’ve read it again I realize it has just as much in common with The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s kind of a cross between the two in a really neat little package. I’m really surprised at how good this is, and how relevant it feels 45 years after it was written, and I love quick and tight the writing is. I’m going to have more to say about this when I get a chance, but for now I’ll just say this was really killer. I don’t read much nonfiction, but I’m visiting my mom right now and she gave me her copy of This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. How can I say no to PB and Ann Patchett? I cannot. This is a collection of essays and I’m about halfway through and loving it for the most part. There have been a couple that weren’t super interesting to me, but she is such a great writer, and I love getting snippets of her childhood scattered throughout. It’s clear that Commonwealth was based on her family and that was one of my favorite books in the last few years, so, more please!