This past week I read The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman and Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. I didn’t necessarily intend them as a set, but both are about magical sisters. Both happen to be books by authors that I’m fond of — Sisterland was the only Sittenfeld book that I hadn’t read although there’s a lot of Hoffman that I  haven’t gotten to yet.  I loved Hoffman’s Faithful and definitely recommend that to you, and you may recall that I read Practical Magic last year (The Rules of Magic is a prequel).

Sittenfeld has only written five novels so far, previously I’d read Eligible, American Wife, and Man of My Dreams, and last year I finally read Prep.  I really loved Eligible (a modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice) and I loved American Wife. Sisterland, like Man of My Dreams, was okay. Didn’t care for Prep — I felt like it went nowhere and I wasn’t really invested in the main character.  Sisterland is about twins who both have some psychic abilities — the main character doesn’t want to have ‘senses’ as she calls them, and her twin sister becomes briefly famous predicting a major earthquake will occur in St. Louis and she makes her living as a medium/psychic. The novel deals with the two sister’s lives coming up on the predicted earthquake, while frequently flashing back telling the story of the women’s past up to the present moment. I didn’t love how this book ended, but after about 150 pages it became hard to put down. I was invested in the doesn’t want to be psychic twin and her life took some crazy turns.

The Rules of Magic has a very different feel — this is a world where magic is unquestionable real, whereas you could sort of read Sisterland either way. I want to say that if you liked Practical Magic, you’ll like this, but I think that’s only true if what you liked about Practical Magic was the feel, the flow, the style of the book.  This seemed very much of the same world to me, but this novel doesn’t touch much on Sally and Gillian don’t appear until almost the very end, so if it was those characters that you loved, you may not be satisfied. Basically, this is a coming of age novel for the aunts who appear in Practical Magic, you learn about how they grew up, discovered their magic, lost and found love, and ended up being the aunts of Practical Magic. It is a fairly sad book (so is Sisterland) in terms of plot, but the magic keeps it feeling sort of not so sad despite all the sad things that happen.

Currently reading: Haven’t started the next book yet, but have Spineless, When they Call You a Terrorist, The Animators, and Eat the Apple out of the library right now. (I know, only four library books??) And I keep meaning to start Future Home of the Living God so… who knows what’s next.

Also, where I work we tend to be very focused on quarters, so I’ve just about wrapped up a quarter of this year, and I’m on track (actually ahead of schedule) to read 100 books, here’s the completely Q1 list :

Books Read in 2018

January
1. The Power – Naomi Alderman
2. Lab Girl – Hope Jahren
3. How To Fall In Love With Anyone – Mandy Len Catron
4. The Awkward Age – Francesca Segal
5. From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death – Caitlin Doughty
6. The End We Start From – Megan Hunter
7. Where the Past Begins – Amy Tan
8. Manhattan Beach – Jennifer Egan

February
9. Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate
10. Our Lady of the Prairie – Thisbe Nissen
11. Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
12. A Distant View of Everything – Alexander McCall Smith
13. The Last Girlfriend on Earth – Simon Rich
14. The Double Comfort Safari Club -Alexander McCall Smith
15. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House – Michael Wolff
16. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder – Caroline Fraser
17. The Largese of the Sea Maiden – Denis Johnson
18. The Owl Killers – Karen Maitland

March
19. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding – Alexander McCall Smith
20. Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive one of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures – Ben Mezrich
21. The Bride Wore Size 12 – Meg Cabot
22. My Dream of You – Nuala O’Faolain
23. How to Stop Time – Matt Haig
24. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection – Alexander McCall Smith
25. Sing Unburied Sing – Jesmyn Ward
26. Fever Dreams – Samanta Schweblin
27. The Rules of Magic -Alice Hoffman
28. Sisterland – Curtis Sittenfeld

Current favorites of the year: Little Fires Everywhere and Manhattan Beach.