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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Maddie’s Library: Winter break reading review

“The Guncle” by Stephen Rowley was my top read of the break. (Photo courtesy of Goodreads)

Ah, winter break — the season of giving, resting and getting ahead on my Goodreads challenge before classes and jobs start again. 

My winter break reading list ran the gamut from books that exceeded my expectations to some that just missed the mark. Did I stick to my expected list from before break started? No further questions, please. 

Here are the best to add to your list and the most disappointing to keep off of it. 

The Best Book of Break: “The Guncle” by Steven Rowley

Rowley had me pivoting from laughing out loud to sobbing like a baby and back again in record time with this one. When Maisie and Grant come to California to live with their Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short) after their mom passes away and their dad enters rehab, hijinks ensue as they each wrestle with grief and growth. Patrick is a fantastically crafted character who is equal parts clever and tender, and the story is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking. 

Honorable Mention: “Flying Solo” by Linda Holmes

This was a fascinating, original mystery about a woman searching for answers about her great aunt’s missing wooden duck, but my favorite part was Holmes’ musings on the nature of companionship and independence. I love a woman who knows what she wants and doesn’t settle, and that’s exactly what Laurie does in this story. 

Most Fun Read: “Killers of a Certain Age” by Deanna Raybourn

This was a highly anticipated read for me, which sometimes spoils a story, but this one lived up to my expectations. Four retiring assassins find out they’re being targeted by the organization they’ve worked for their whole lives and have to take out those who gave the hit before it’s too late. Raybourn created a rich, complex world of questionable morals and lovable characters in “Killers of a Certain Age.”

Hardest to Put Down: “The Guest List” by Lucy Foley

For fans of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” Foley’s book centers around a wedding on a remote island. Readers don’t know who among the guests has been killed or who has motive and opportunity until the very end, and Foley keeps a wealth of secrets until the final twist. I devoured this book in one day. 

Messiest Characters: “The Fortunes of Jaded Women” by Carolyn Huynh

While not my favorite of the interim, Huynh’s latest certainly had the most puzzling and interesting family dynamic. The book follows a Vietnamese family who has been cursed to birth only daughters for generations and never find true love. What results is a story teeming with tense maternal relationships and arguments of epic proportions. 

Most Disappointing: “The Violin Conspiracy” by Brendan Slocumb

It’s not that this book was bad, because it definitely wasn’t. Slocumb writes about musical performance with some of the most beautiful, melodic language I can ever remember reading — his passion and knowledge are clear. However, the book was advertised as a mystery about a violinist tracking down his stolen Stradivarius, and that’s not really what it was. The narrative was not an uninteresting one, it just wasn’t the one I was expecting.  

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About the Contributor
Madeline Marriott, Editor-in-Chief
Maddie (she/her) is a senior English major with a Government & Law minor. As the Editor-in-Chief, a Mentor Writing Associate, a Senior Student Contributor for Lafayette Communications, a Communications Intern for the Office of Sustainability, co-founder and Vice President of English Club, and a Senior Interviewer for Lafayette Admissions, no writing happens on campus without her knowing about it. Her Google Calendar would make your head spin. She is a die-hard Swiftie and Phillies fan, a collector of tote bags, a builder of a Hay Day empire, and an avid Goodreads and Letterboxd user. She smokes cigars and uses an old-timey typewriter and notepad in the newsroom.

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