Hello! You may have been wondering whether I got abducted or stopped reading entirely (abducted would be the more likely scenario) – but neither of the above happened! I just got busy! So I put off blogging about one trio of books to move onto the next trio, and then put off blogging about that one, too, until I found myself here, with 12 books read and waiting to be reviewed.
That’s overwhelming by anyone’s standards, so I decided to take that pressure off of myself and instead post a rapid fire, 5-sentences-or-less reviews of all 12 of the books I’ve finished in the past 5 – 6 weeks. Enjoy reading about books 48 – 59!
#48: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads. I thought it was smart, entertaining, and very funny. I like Aziz’s sense of humor, and his take on modern love was refreshing if not revelatory. He teamed up with a sociologist (Eric Klinenberg) to write it, so there was a nice statistic-y aspect that made me felt like I was learning real things. The photo captions and Aziz-asides often made me laugh out loud in public.
#49: All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister
I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads, and I met this author! She was very smart and passionate, and she signed my book. I loved this book and thought it was a great blend of anecdotes and historical evidence. I’ve come across some negative reviews of this book, and they all tended to be complaints about the fact that this book was nothing new, but it was brand new to me, therefore I learned a lot. It made me feel deep affection for my friends and job and also portrayed both sides of marriage in an informative and (I assume) accurate way. (*disclaimer/illegal 6th sentence: I’ve never been married but I think I’d probably like to be someday, so I hope to reread this then and compare my thoughts)
#50 (!!!!): The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord
This got 4 stars on Goodreads, and I also met this author! She was bubbly and fun and the image of every YA author that I have in my head. After all that sociology and study-based nonfiction, I needed some light young adult reading and this did the trick. This book is about the tough spot a girl is put in when her high school boyfriend of not that long dies. She faces everyone’s sympathy, feels like a posturing mourner, struggles internally, finds love again in the unlikely Quiz Bowl team; warm and fuzzy feelings ensue.
#51, 52, & 53:The Neapolitan Novels #2 – #4: The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
I LOVED this series so much that it makes my heart hurt thinking about it right now. All 3 of these books got 5 stars on Goodreads, and I wish I could’ve given them more. I read the first book in this series last year and loved it, and I regret waiting so long to dive into the rest of the series, but it was so worth the wait. (*ah, only two more sentence left to fit in my deep love for these books) Lila and Elena are both fascinating characters, and I feel lucky to be alive while Elena Ferrante is writing and publishing books. I’ll use my last sentence to urge everyone to read this series; even if you feel the first one started slow or they’re hard to get into, POWER THROUGH AND READ THEM BECAUSE THIS SERIES IS INCREDIBLE (*all caps so you know how serious I am as I conclude this crazy run-on sentence).
#54: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by the one and only J.K. Rowling
I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads, and it hurt me to do so. I obviously had high expectations, but found it to be a little fluffy and cheesy. Then I realized, Rowling’s dialogue has never been stellar or the reason that I love the Harry Potters series; in this screenplay form, when she’s only writing dialogue, I think it’s clear to see it isn’t her strongest suit. Still, I loved that these characters were brought back to life for me: I teared up when Snape reappeared, and enjoyed all of the drastically different scenarios and characterizations if one or two things changed slightly in the past narrative of this series. Also, warms my heart to know that Ron + Hermione = forever in any world.
#55: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
This is a young adult novel and it got 4 stars. The premise is that a mother uses her daughters twisted love triangle as the plot of her latest runaway bestselling book, and then does an interview with a national publication admitting that the story is based on her daughter’s life (worst mom ever). Molly had been dating one boy forever, then on a quick break in their relationship, she sleeps with said boy’s older brother. I thought the book was going to be more predictable than it was, which was refreshing, and even though I found the narrator a bit helpless at times, I thought the author really captured the very real, complex feelings of young love and the messy differentiation between the type of love you feel for those you grew up with.
#56: Summerland by Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon does a 500-page children’s book! I really enjoyed this book – it drew on folklore and legends to create a well-developed alternate reality where the world is a large, old tree with four main branches leading to 4 different worlds. Sometimes, the branches blow around and leaves stick to leaves from a different world, creating an outlier place of magic. In this case, it created Summerland in The Middling, aka a place where it’s summer all year round in a place that ordinarily rains all year round. Baseball is a huge part of the story, and ends up being the main character, Ethan’s, key weapon in saving his dad and the world in the process; it’s fun and uplifting and heartwarming and smart and I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.
#57: The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
What a charming book! This is a short sort of manifesto on Taoism, making the argument that Taoist figures do in fact exist in Western culture, embodied by the lovable, round bear named Pooh who inhabits the Hundred Acre Woods. Hoff uses sweet nostalgic illustrations from Winnie the Pooh, and draws on actual scenarios to prove that Pooh bear is the ultimate Taoist in his very existence and ability to just be. I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.
#58: The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
I also gave this 5 stars on Goodreads. I loved this book and stayed up way too late reading it a couple of nights in a row. It’s the story of a 30-year-old male writer living in Brooklyn and navigating his love life, but it’s written by a woman and she nailed it. This was Adelle Waldman’s debut novel, which is beyond impressive. It felt frustratingly accurate and kind of heartbreaking; the main character was the perfectly realistic balance between very smart and huge asshole making self-destructive mistakes over and over again, to his own detriment.
#59: You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
Last but not least: the weirdest and most unsettling book that I’ve read in a long while; I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads. Alexandra Kleeman has created a kind of recognizable world that is run by zombie-like characters consuming television endlessly and being subconsciously controlled by a Hostess-like, pastry company called Kandy Kakes. It’s incredibly hard to describe, and the three main characters are called A, B, and C. I read a review that called it “Fight Club for girls,” and I guess I would agree with that except without limiting it to being for girls. This book is for everyone, just try not to read it while you’re eating because I often lost my appetite from Kleeman’s spare, stark, and vivid sentences that ranged from talking about peeling an orange to swallowing a fistful of hair. Like I said, weird book.
So that’s it! I’m all caught up, and have just stared reading book #60 of 2016. I’ll try not to get this behind again, but inevitably I will, so I’ll see you again when I have 12 more books to catch you up on. ◊