[Bookending Spring] Who Am I?

Today I’m super excited to jump into the Bookending Spring season with this creative prompt from the inimitable Sam @ Fictionally Sam! I’ve definitely been guilty of skimming through book lists based entirely on the covers, so I’m a little apprehensive to see how this goes.

I used the same book generator that Sam did, and may have gotten a little carried away because I was having so much fun. Oops.

Donโ€™t judge a book by its cover: the remix edition! Letโ€™s see if you can accurately guess a bookโ€™s synopsis โ€” solely on the cover alone.

This post is part of Bookending Spring 2020, which is organized by Sam & Clo!
Today’s prompt, “Who Am I?” is hosted by Sam @ Fictionally Sam.

Reasons to Live by Amy Hempel

My Synopsis:

I associate covers in swimming-pool-blue with Adult Contemporary novels, usually involving scandalous extramarital affairs and/or epiphanies about how the meaning of life is the white picket fence plus 2.5 perfect kids and/or long-buried dark family secrets. Probably told from the POV of a discontented housewife whose adult offspring never come home to visit.ย 

Then a mysterious stranger who is not actually a stranger but a figure from her past turns up on her doorstop to disrupt her life, dun dun dun …ย 


Actual Synopsis (x):

It is always “earthquake weather” in Amy Hempel’s California, a landscape where everything can change without warning. Traditional resources โ€” home, parents, lovers, friends, even willpower โ€” are not dependable. And so the characters in these short, compelling stories have learned to depend on small triumphs of wit, irony, and spirit.

A widow, surrounded by a small menagerie, comes to terms with her veterinarian husband’s death; a young woman entertains her dying friend with trivia and reaffirms her own life; in the aftermath of an abortion, a woman compulsively knits a complete wardrobe for a friend’s baby. Buffeted by rude shocks, thwarted by misconnections, the characters recognize that anything can finally become a reason to live.

Garden, Ashes by Danilo Kiลก

My Synopsis:

Once upon a time, there was a boy who liked to play with fire. No matter how many times he burned his fingers, or his parents โ€” who just didn’t get it; it’s not a phase, Mom โ€” tried to hide the matches, nothing could keep him away from the joy of exerting his will on the universe. Just a guy living his best pyromaniac life, y’know?

Also the whole story is an allegory for nihilism. (Because with a cover like that, there has to be some deeper universal meaning embedded.)


Actual Synopsis (x):

In Yugoslavia during the Second World War, young Andi Scham and his beleaguered family are constantly moving and searching for refuge. Yet the physical hardships of the world do not intrude on Andi’s adolescent world of vivid observation and imaginative withdrawals. From his memories emerges the wondrous story of his father, Eduard Scham โ€” the Wandering Jew, Don Quixote, red-eyed, crazed, drunk, bellicose, a man who recedes from life and then disappears in the Holocaust.

Andi’s search for his father is a poetic, lyrical remembrance of things past. The celebrated Serbian writer Danilo Kiลก has blended bits of realism, snatches of dreams, and echoes of his own consciousness as a child to shape this magical and memorable novel.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

My Synopsis:

While the title makes me think of The Radium Girls, the cover definitely has dark thriller vibes. So it’s got to be about a serial killer who stalks beautiful young women and burns them to death.

The police have had no luck tracking down the killer, until one of his intended victims escapes. But she claims not to remember anything that could help them, so that she can take justice into her own hands. The hunter becomes the hunted, and only one of them can survive in the end.


Actual Synopsis (x):

In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. Curtis stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back.

Working with a former homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby races against time and reason to unravel an impossible mystery.

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

My Synopsis:

In the same vein asย The Great Gatsby, our unnamed upper-middle-class narrator is drawn into the orbit of a mysterious rich dude who introduces him into high society. They go to a lot of parties and talk to a lot of ladies, spend money on luxuries the narrator couldn’t have previously imagined existing (let alone owning), and clash with local authorities who don’t understand that rich people are above the law.

Naturally, there’s a love triangle (or maybe even a love rectangle) that involves the narrator’s girlfriend having an affair with a cop. Or a poor person. Maybe both.


Actual Synopsis (x):

Sherman McCoy, the central figure of Tom Wolfe’s first novel, is a young investment banker with a fourteen-room apartment in Manhattan. When he is involved in a freak accident in the Bronx, prosecutors, politicians, the press, the police, the clergy, and assorted hustlers high and low close in on him, licking their chops and giving us a gargantuan helping of the human comedy of New York in the last years of the twentieth century, a city boiling over with racial and ethnic hostilities and burning with the itch to Grab It Now. Wolfe’s gallery ranges from Wall Street, where people in their thirties feel like small-fry if they’re not yet making a million per, to the real streets, where the aim is lower but the itch is just as virulent.

We see this feverish landscape through the eyes of McCoy’s wife and his mistress; the young prosecutor for whom the McCoy case would be the answer to a prayer; the ne’er-do-well British journalist who needs such a case to save his career in America; the street-wise Irish lawyer who becomes McCoy’s only ally; and Reverend Bacon of Harlem, a master manipulator of public opinion. Above all, we see what happens when the criminal justice system โ€” gorged with “the chow,” as the Bronx prosecutor calls the borough’s usual black and Latin felons โ€” considers the prospect of being handed a prime cut like Sherman McCoy of Park Avenue.

The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

My Synopsis:

Missy Carmichael thought she’d met and lost the love of her life already. But they had fifty happy years together; although she grieves for him, she knows he would want her to try to enjoy the rest of her life.

Left with only the dog they adopted together to keep her company, she takes long daily walks through the park near her house and reminisces. The story is told partly through flashbacks to key moments of her life โ€” from the funeral last year to her first childhood memory โ€” while in the present day Missy makes peace with her mistakes and learns to live as part of a community.


Actual Synopsis (x):

Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Woman meets dog…

The world has changed around Missy Carmichael. At seventy-nine, she’s estranged from her daughter, her son and only grandson live across the world in Australia, and her great love is gone. Missy spends her days with a sip of sherry, scrubbing the kitchen in her big empty house and reliving her past โ€” though it’s her mistakes, and secrets, that she allows to shine brightest. The last thing Missy expects is for two perfect strangers and one spirited dog to break through her prickly exterior and show Missy just how much love she still has to give. Filled with wry laughter and deep insights into the stories we tell ourselves, The Love Story of Missy Carmichael shows us it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. It’s never too late to love.

  • Have you read any of these books? How do the synopses (both mine and the official version) compare to the actual plot?
  • Have you ever tried to guess what a book is about based on the cover? How successful were you?
  • If you’ve also done this prompt, feel free to link me to it!

10 thoughts on “[Bookending Spring] Who Am I?

  1. I’ve not read any of these books but I agree with the swimming pool blue association, they scream YA contemporary for some reason maybe because we associate swimming pools with summer and a lot of contemporary books take place in summer. Or maybe I read too much into that haha.I didn’t do this post per say but I am doing these prompts on my bookstagram (aka I revived my bookstagram to trial run if the prompts can work on there, so I’ll link to the post on bookstagram where you can try and guess the synopsis of a book if you want <3)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never even heard of all these books, so I haven’t read them. I tried to do this prompt myself, but I can’t do this based on just the title. The image is much more important to actually make something of it.

    Are you gonna read any of these books anytime soon?


    1. honestly I totally do that too ๐Ÿ˜… often when I’m scrolling through Goodreads or browsing covers in a bookstore and can’t be bothered to actually read the description, and if I come across the same book more than once I feel like I know it somewhat well … even when I have absolutely no clue about it!

      Liked by 2 people

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