Oops, It’s Been Too Long (Again)

I feel like my Goodread-ing has been overtaking my blogging, which was not my intention. There’s much more immediate gratification moving a title from the “currently reading” shelf to the “read” shelf with a couple clicks. BUT I’m back and I’m going to try to be more consistent with this as I finish books so I haven’t built up several titles to talk about (which is kind of the case this time—sorry.)

Book #11: Karin Slaughter’s Mind Would be a Terrifying Place to Live

So book #11 of the year was Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book but they changed a few things about the story, so it felt new for the most part. This book was (is) terrifying in an addictive way. The story is told from several different perspectives and a couple different timelines, but is ultimately about Claire and her estranged sister, Lydia, as they reconnect over Claire’s recent tragedy: witnessing her husband being murdered during a mugging. The sisters’ relationship is complicated by the unsolved disappearance of their sister, Julia, 20 years earlier, and the intense way that event has overshadowed and kind of destroyed their family since. I don’t want to give much away because this book depends on these crazy twists, but it gets intensely graphic and intensely violent and intensely intense. I loved this book (and gave it 5 stars) because it kept me guessing and felt mostly believable. Which is terrifying.

Book #12: The Personal Irony of Reading a Skin-Care Book

The next book I read was a quick and informative read by Charlotte Cho called The Little Book of Skin Care. It’s ironic because I am the worst about taking care of my skin. I just recently started using a cleanser (or face wash? Don’t even know the difference), I would almost always rather be laying out in the sun without sunscreen, I leave mascara on accidentally for days at a time (although I’ve gotten better about not adding more to the old, crusty stuff, so that’s something…), and I just generally don’t do stuff to my skin. So this book was definitely informative in explaining so many things that I didn’t even know existed. I don’t know if any of it will stick (the chapter about sunscreen definitely won’t… sorry, future wrinkly-self and dermatologists everywhere) but I did enjoy learning about the Korean obsession with skin care and pretending that someday I’d be willing to invest the time and money in my skin.

Book #13: Kind of Weird, Kind of Great

After testing the waters of skin care, I embraced my one true love of a genre, a good fiction novel. I read How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer. This was Netzer’s second book, and I haven’t read the first, but I liked it. It was a weird book but not in a bad way. The premise involves two childhood friends who are experiencing the complications and ailments of pre-teen love when they concoct a plan to simultaneously conceive and give birth to two children then raise them separately in ways that would make them destined to fall in love later in their lives. The two byproducts of this experiment are Irene and George, and the novel switches between their falling for each other and flashbacks of their mothers growing up together then apart. So it was weird and relatively unrealistic but I also loved the weird premise and became very involved in their love story. It kept me guessing and I think I cried, so apparently that’s all I need. Plus, it presented an interesting hypothetical: can love be plotted and planned? Or does forcing it ultimately destroy it, no matter what?

Book #14: Staying on the Love Train

My 14th book of the year also had to do with love, what it means, how it works—my mental calendar must have been about two weeks behind and still thought it was Valentine’s Day.  I read Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject (With the Help of 50,000 Strangers) by Daniel Jones, editor of the “Modern Love” column in the New York Times. More than anything, this book made me want to read a collection of “Modern Love” articles. It was okay and used interesting examples of relationships to illustrate points, but the book didn’t do much for me in the end. I don’t know if I wanted a more scientific or evidence-based approach to love, but this ended up being more general thoughts on love from the author. It took the reader through phases of love, from the beginning crush and honeymoon phases to the later (depressing) monotony and infidelity phases, so that part was interesting. I don’t know, I just felt “meh” (which equates to 3 Goodreads stars) about this book.

So that’s what I’ve read! I’m in the middle of a book I love right now, so look forward to a gushing review very soon. ◊

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