This book has it all: shipwrecks, sharks, and cannibalism. And it’s all true! The Essex is the whaleship that inspired Herman Melville’s classic (andThis book has it all: shipwrecks, sharks, and cannibalism. And it’s all true! The Essex is the whaleship that inspired Herman Melville’s classic (and one of my favorite books), Moby-Dick, and its real-life tale is stranger than fiction. After an 80 ton sperm whale repeatedly rammed and sank their ship, 20 crew members were left stranded in three tiny boats in the middle of the ocean. Spoiler: not everyone makes it.
This book is a doozy of a page-turner, and Philbrick does an incredible job digging into all of the nuances of life before, during, and after surviving such a mind-boggling tragedy. In the Heart of the Sea is a perfect companion piece to Moby-Dick, or a great stand-alone read for anyone who’s ever wanted to read Moby-Dick but can do without all that riveting whale taxonomy....more
We at Book Riot are all kind of stumped how to talk about the awesomeness of this Lit-Fic book about boyhood. The best I can do is: Read this. It hasWe at Book Riot are all kind of stumped how to talk about the awesomeness of this Lit-Fic book about boyhood. The best I can do is: Read this. It has Mortal Kombat and evil river spirits, and it will break your heart....more
Landline is an awesome late-summer listen, full of nostalgia, sweet 90s pop-culture references (My So-Called Life, anyone?), and a magical time-travelLandline is an awesome late-summer listen, full of nostalgia, sweet 90s pop-culture references (My So-Called Life, anyone?), and a magical time-traveling telephone.
Georgie McCool is a TV screenwriter who’s about to strike it big with a deal to produce her dream show, the one she’s been plotting with her co-writer Seth since college. But the tight deadline to crank out a pilot means she’ll have to miss Christmas with her husband and two daughters. Things are looking rocky for her marriage when she discovers an old telephone at her mom’s house that can dial her husband in the past.
There’s a love triangle situation in Landline that wasn’t my favorite — that part never felt totally authentic to me. But the story more than makes up for it with a strong female lead who kicks ass and takes names. Georgie is a star for negotiating her role in a male-dominated work place and refusing to be cast as the “secretary” or the “coffee girl.” I loved all the juicy bits about TV land and working in a creative field, too.
Rebecca Lowman’s voice is a great match for Rainbow Rowell’s leading ladies — she performs Eleanor in Eleanor & Park, too. And she nails the parts in Landline where she has to meow like a 5-year-old pretending to be a cat....more
The Girl With All the Gifts is a surprise favorite for me this year. My literary catnip is authors who can make me empathize with unlikeable characterThe Girl With All the Gifts is a surprise favorite for me this year. My literary catnip is authors who can make me empathize with unlikeable characters, which this book has in SPADES, my friends.
Melanie is a child genius who’s locked in a military compound with other orphans in a United Kingdom that’s been ravaged by a viral outbreak and hunted by legions of “Hungries.” All she knows of the world is limited to a tiny classroom and its small band of teachers and military personnel who march the children from one daily task to the next.
When I first picked up this book, I was like “OK, dystopian post-apocalyptic blah blah blah, whatever.” I read a few pages on my e-reader and forgot all about it. Then I crossed paths with the audiobook and decided to give it another try. And holy flying bananas, I LOVE it. It’s like Kazuo Ishiguro meets Max Brooks with rad lady characters. And references to Greek myths. And just the right amount of creepy sciencey stuff. Whether you like to read for character, language, action, or setting, this book is bound to hit one of your sweet spots. Best yet, Carey nails the landing with twisty outcomes that I never saw coming.
As narrator, Finty Williams is the bee’s knees. She has the range to make characters seem like monsters in one moment, and misunderstood heroes the next. And also a cute British accent. Read (or listen to) this!...more
This book should come with a disclaimer: “While reading The Signature of All Things, you will receive many unsolicited comments about people’s feelingThis book should come with a disclaimer: “While reading The Signature of All Things, you will receive many unsolicited comments about people’s feelings re: Eat, Pray, Love."
I haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love, but let me tell you all about the enormous lady crush I have on The Signature of All Things. It’s an old-timey, swashbuckling, epic adventure tale that follows the fortunes of Alma Whittaker, a girl born to a self-made botanical entrepreneur during the Age of Enlightenment. And where many stories would shower all their attention on the heroine’s young courtships, Gilbert speeds right past that part to show us a single Alma in her forties and fifties, still learning, growing, studying, traveling, and living an all-around full and fascinating life surrounded by crazed scientists, explorers, missionaries, and geniuses. The supporting characters are all WONDERFUL, and I want to kiss Juliet Stevenson on the nose for her brilliant performance on the audiobook.
Read this if you’re in the mood for adventure, old-timey humor, and SECRETS in the vein of The Goldfinch or David Copperfield....more
Cult film director John Waters promises his agent to hitchhike across America, and imagines the best- and worst- case scenarios before revealing whatCult film director John Waters promises his agent to hitchhike across America, and imagines the best- and worst- case scenarios before revealing what actually happens on the real trip. In one fantasy scenario he’s abducted by aliens who have sex with him and give him a magical singing asshole. In another he’s captured by infamous murderess Gertrude Baniszewski who tattoos “I am an asshole” on his chest. I’ll let you guess which is from the best-case scenario and which is from the worst! This memoir was somehow equal parts filth, camp, and charm, and I adored listening to John Waters read this to me on audio during lazy summer afternoons this June....more