From the library | Recent Reads v.2

Reading has taken a hit recently because I have to study for the GRE, but here are some reads:IMG_2826

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri | This was a fairly predictable read, but was engaging with character development and how challenges were addressed. I puttered out in the last ¼ of the book, but overall enjoyed stepping into this family’s life as they navigated coming to America and struggles they encountered. One thing that continues to stand out to me is how the family wanted to hold onto deep-rooted traditions from the country they moved from while assimilating into America. What they did not want to leave behind was precious, however, some (not all) traditions that were common did not line up with life in America and they frequently had to choose. It was also striking to me when phone calls back to their family were shared–they saw that life went on as “normal” without them and it was devastating after the call, knowing their nearest and dearest were continuing life as normal while they continued to have to work hard for familiarity and friendships.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck | A reread. If you have not read it, please do. That is all I have to say about this. Timshel!

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamond | I picked out this book at the recommendation of my former book club and it was delightful. It followed a young woman living through many of the twentieth century’s major changes and it was such a good read. I do not think we realize how significant some of the things we are living through are, until it is 5, 10, or 15 years past and this book reflected that.

From the library | Recent Reads

Checking in with what I’ve been reading lately:

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“Food A Love Story” I got about 30 pages into this book before tossing it away in frustration. I found the tone to be whiny and material to be unoriginal. I can see where he was going with the book, I just was not interested in following through.

“Unbroken” Y’all. I half-heartedly grabbed this book thinking it’d be so-so and boring. Instead it was awesome and I could not put it down for the 3 days or so it took me to finish. I cried. Laughed. Was horrified. All the feels! I did not see the movie (and if it’s anything like how The Martian played out I probably do not want to) but wowzers. Get this book.

“Orphan Train” was a good “fun” read! It was not entirely predictable, pretty well written, and had some plot twists that got me by surprise! Oh, and a few heartbreaking moments that make you want to punch a pillow, so all in all a good read.

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Bill Bryson is one of my favorite authors but like the Food book mentioned above, I found “The Lost Continent” to just be whiny and rude, and I did not finish it. I tried to read these two in quick succession so maybe I was just in a mood?

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Circling the Sun” was another good read. The plot moved quickly, but you couldn’t read too fast because there were a lot of characters to keep straight. I enjoyed this read!

In Athens I was part of a book club and while I do not make it to book club anymore, I do usually pick up whichever book they are reading. “Luckiest Girl Alive” was one of them (I think? Or else I got it from stalking another blog) and I can see why it was popular. I had no idea the middle of the book plot twist was coming till we got there, and yikes. I was pretty down after reading this book (sheesh, watching the news will do that to me too) but it is definitely a good “beach book.”

I picked up “Life after Life” from a book club members recommendation and it did not disappoint. I hardly know how to describe it, other than to say “go get it now.” It really explores the effects of one decision as compared to another…again, hard to describe but trust me on this one. Similar to Station 18, this had me thinking (and texting my friend) for a while.

Reads

The New Year brought about a binge reading spree which is still going strong. Like most avid book readers, one thing I love most is stepping into someone else’s shoes to experience the world through their eyes and emotions. Most of the books I’ve read this year have not disappointed.

This week I finished “All the light we cannot see” in a Marta commute and one evening (I’m a fast reader and I had an uninterrupted 4 hours to read). Per how fast I finished it, you can tell I devoured this 500+ plus page novel. The characters were engaging, the story intriguing, and presented yet another perspective of individuals in WWII.

Last week I plowed through “The Red Tent.” The name should have indicated that it was going to be heavy on the graphic side (I’m a whimp, BTW) but I couldn’t put it down. This fiction book expounded upon biblical characters and their life experience. Again, it was fiction, but it did present a hint at what life was like for women thousands of years ago. As I was reading my heart broke anew at the fall—one line of the book indicated that men could not be successful without women, yet women were the “weaker ones” and in most instances, a mere commodity.

I grabbed “Station 18” from a popular Instagrammer’s recommendation and oh. My. Gosh. I took the book with me on the ski tip and when I read the dust jacket I thought…meh, why did I only bring this book, this looks lame. Um…NO. I could not put the book down, and I am still thinking about it nearly two months later. The seamless integration of the story and characters around one character who died in the first chapter was amazing.

Stella Bain” Also a book I grabbed from a blogger’s recommendation and it was one that once I finished I thought, “well crap. Now I’m dumber.” It was BAD y’all. The writing was shoddy, the character development nearly non-existent, and the plot holes huge. The only reason I pushed through was that it took me about 2.5 hours to read and I kept thinking to myself, “surely it’ll get better.” Spoiler: it did not.

The Long Road North” was a book that I could not finish. Also grabbed from an Instagrammer’s recommendation, I thought this would be a good one based on the award on its cover. I am sure to some they may find it awesome, but I found it heavy-laden and extremely depressing. I did not expect the book to be a picker-upper, as that it was about a POW camp in Japan in WWII but I found the main character to be well…an expletive. The book started with him in the midst of an affair (he was a serial womanizer) and that should have been my first clue to walk away. While I was talking to the Mr. about how I much I did not enjoy the book he goes, “don’t you hate any hint of adultery?” Oh yeah. The descriptions of the camp were vile (as the camps undoubtedly were) and explicit, and when I gave up in the middle, the book was only getting darker.

Rising Strong” by Brene Brown; I’m a fan of Brown’s message and I’ve read a couple other of her books. It could be that I was just not in the mood for self-improvement, but I only made it through about half of this book before calling it a day.

Also read:

The Martian. If you have not read it yet, go put in a hold at your library for it or find it on sale. I found this book hilarious and a fantastic read.

The Beekeepers Apprentice. Completely delightful and well written.