These are all compelling books that are near misses for my designation of clean books, Commendable Lit. They contain some language, immorality or slightly objectionable content. They’re clean-ish.
But, they are all compelling, well-written or just intriguing breezy reads.
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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Marie Laure, a French girl who has been blind since age 6, lives with her father in Paris in the 1940s. When the Germans invade France, they are forced to flee, carrying with them a valuable museum piece. A German boy, Werner, has a knack for electronics and rises in the Hitler Youth program. He is part of the German invasion when he meets Marie Laure.
Heralded as a modern literary masterpiece, beautiful writing enhances a thoughtful plot.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Juliet begins corresponding to members of a book club on the island of Guernsey during German occupation in World War II. The story is built the letters back and forth.
Interesting characters and a satisfying plot line.
Lots of buzz about this book for good reason.
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
Cassie is a good firefighter who finds herself out of work. She’s estranged from her mother but finds work close to her in an all male firehouse. New alliances help her confront the ghosts of the past.
This was a page turner. I read it in less than 48 hours. There’s very few books I stay up late for any more. This was one of them.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Everyone who reviews this book gets taken by the octopus as a main character. Of course you have to suspend belief when the octopus gives his opinions, but once you accept him as a legitimate character, the rest of the book rings true to life.
Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
What if you were nobility in Russia in the nineteen twenties who is under house arrest at a posh hotel stripped of titles and wealth? Could you still build a life for yourself? Make the human connections and community that everyone needs to survive?
This is a slow moving book, especially the first half. It took me two or three tries to get all the way through it. I don’t think I would have stuck with it if it hadn’t come highly recommended from people I respected, but I’m glad I did.
Be prepared for brief scenes that aren’t morally commendable.
I didn’t love Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility, but I did like The Lincoln Highway, which is another near miss for Commendable Lit.
Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan
So what’s it really like to be a Hollywood star? What’s your relationship like with regular people? Could you fall in love with them?
This breezy read explores those questions in an uncomplicated, satisfying way.
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
Set in small town America, it’s the story of one man’s life, from his childhood till old age. The community plays an important part of the story and Jayber Crow serves as the town’s barber.
Except for one objectionable element in the storyline, it’s a heart-warming tale.
A literary masterpiece.
Wendell Berry’s Hannah Coulter is one of my life time favorite top 10 books.