Archive for July, 2018

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

July 26, 2018

35791968Louisa in New York! I liked this third installment of Me Before You very much. My friend, with whom I was about to head to NYC, insisted that I read it before our trip and I’m happy she did. Perfect pre-NYC read.

Outside of this moment in my life, though, I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it quite as much, although I really loved the vivid characters that contributed to Louisa’s continued story.

I do recommend this book for those who have read the first two. Great follow up that shows new elements of Louisa and Sam.

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Girls Burn Brighter, by Shobha Rao

July 23, 2018

[Lesley] This book burns brighter than most. A story of two Indian girls as well as each of their stories from life in India to life in America. This wasn’t the book I expected and was better than I could have imagined.

Life is hard. In some places, for some people, life is so hard as to nearly be unbearable. Yet – some people bear it. How? Why? Follow the stories of Poornima and Savitha and you will get a glimpse.

The writing is unflinching and exacting – perfectly suited to the story. Parts of this book are beautiful and otherworldly – the experience of nature and the environment entwined with life as a whole. People who aren’t fully themselves except in the place where they were born. Parts of it are fascinating – everyday life in India, the levels of poverty and comfort, the cultural traditions. And parts of this book are horrific and hard to read. The kinds of things that make you close your eyes to avoid reading the next words and hope that will shake the image from your mind. It doesn’t work though; you have to read on in order to replace the image. Maybe violence and inhumanity are always present when two worlds are colliding? Maybe beauty and amazement and love are as well.

Girls Burn Brighter is available as an audiobook on Hoopla.

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Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

July 19, 2018

Eligible Cover Art: Red with Shining diamond ringI LOVED THIS! Eligible had a lot stacked against it since I was pretty sure anything that messed with Pride & Prejudice was, by definition, going to be terrible. Nope. It evokes emotions and frustrations, weaving so many current day family relationships in believable, relatable ways. Sittenfeld did a great job translating Jane Austen’s masterpiece into modern day America, even if she did make it a little more raunchy.

I listened to this one on digital audio through Overdrive for free.

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Less, by Andrew Sean Greer

July 6, 2018

[Lesley] First, let’s just say that this is the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction. That’s a pretty good recommendation! At first, I was surprised that this book one though. By the end, I had no doubt that it deserved it.

Disarmingly charming. Arthur Less is a bit like a Shakespeare character who stumbled off the stage before the first rehearsal began. The book is an accumulation that ultimately coheres and seems like truth. It’s a hard book to describe: the plot isn’t especially exciting or fast-moving, the main character is underwhelming, and no matter where the action is taking place (France! Germany! Morocco! India!) the situations Less finds himself in are the most pedestrian. Yet, there is humor, nostalgia, outrage, reflection, and a journey that ends somewhere very, very different than expected. It is some kind of genius that can take all of these things that seem one way (underwhelming, sheltered, hapless) and reveal them to be illuminating and essential. I couldn’t see the world in quite the same way after reading this book.

The audiobook of Less can be found on Libby/Overdrive.

Here’s a more complete review (which I totally agree with!) from the Kenyon Review: https://www.kenyonreview.org/reviews/less-by-andrew-sean-greer-738439/

Title details for Less (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize) by Andrew Sean Greer - Wait list