Your feelings on Kaling's first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, will probably be pretty similar to this one. It follows the same kind of foYour feelings on Kaling's first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, will probably be pretty similar to this one. It follows the same kind of formula, although it shifts most of the action to her post-tv life than her pre-tv life.
Kaling handles the famous-person stuff deftly. She gets that there is both a desire to see behind the curtain and a low-level resentment that the average person has towards famous people and she works hard to let us know she's grateful for her life and aware of the fact that she's got crazy amounts of privilege. Kaling, more than any celebrity memoirist/essayist out there is incredibly self-aware and happy to share that awareness with us. She has no qualms about sharing her best and worst traits, and doesn't really care all that much about whether we want to be BFF's with her. (My verdict is probably no, I think Mindy is too much of a crazy extrovert to my measured introvert, but I still enjoy her company in the book.)
I had the impression this book would mostly be about her romantic life, and I'm not sure whether that was something that was actually pushed or whether I assumed it based on the title. There is one love affair of sorts that plays out in one chapter, but that's the extent of it. Mostly it's similar to her last book, a few bits and pieces of her life, funny stories, and attempts to make you laugh.
I listened to the audiobook, as is my wont with a celebrity I recognize as well as an author reading their own work. I was kind of disappointed, but this is probably due more to my celebrity expectations than my author expectations. Kaling's reading is sweet and friendly, but it's not as lively as I expected. Compared to a reader like Amy Poehler, whose excitement always bleeds into her speech, Kaling is a pretty understated reader.
All that said, I do find Kaling very funny and I look forward to her next project (co-written with B.J. Novak) and you don't have to actually like or watch her show to enjoy this book. She's a personable writer and a celebrity who seems to be one of us undercover scouting the whole thing out. This is, like the first, a perfect airplane book....more
The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because I wish it would've played around a bit with the typical self-help book style. It sticks toThe only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because I wish it would've played around a bit with the typical self-help book style. It sticks to the formula. BUT THAT SAID, this is the single best thing I have ever read/heard/imagined when it comes to work/life balance. It should immediately eclipse all other books on the subject. Everyone should read it. Male or female, kids or not. It has so much to say about what we need to change in our culture to help people lead more fulfilling lives as workers and caregivers.
As someone whose entire life was upended after I made the "choice" to stay home with my children, I've spent several years just grinding my teeth in annoyance when people talk about work/life balance. It never applies to me or most single women, most poor women, etc. This book acknowledges that the discussion should include poor women, women of color, women in same-sex relationships, etc. Which is huge.
It also has ACTUAL ADVICE and actionable steps for your family and workplace. The list of dilemmas for young childless couples to discuss is so good I want to give it to everyone. I just want to give this whole book to everyone.
I made my decisions about my family and career thinking I was being smart and thoughtful but I was completely ignorant and naive. Many of us fall into this trap. This book at least starts us on the way out. I literally cannot recommend it enough. Buy it immediately. I am not joking....more
My new favorite romance novel. Often I find the obstacles in front of a couple frustrating, but I didn't mind them at all with Samir and Mili. If youMy new favorite romance novel. Often I find the obstacles in front of a couple frustrating, but I didn't mind them at all with Samir and Mili. If you don't like romance, or THINK you don't like romance, you should definitely consider A Bollywood Affair as your gateway book. ...more
Okay, let's be straight here. This is a romance novel. It is straight-up wish fulfillment for 30- and 40-something women. And there is absolutely nothOkay, let's be straight here. This is a romance novel. It is straight-up wish fulfillment for 30- and 40-something women. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The writing is good, and while I had plenty of hangups with the plots and characters, it's nothing outside of your normal rom-com.
If you want a book to curl up with that's the reading equivalent of watching your favorite chick flick, you can't really go wrong. Ally is smart, Jake is perfect, the book is sexy as hell.
A very strong story collection, and let's just be straightforward about the fact that the title is used ironically. These stories are not happy. HalfA very strong story collection, and let's just be straightforward about the fact that the title is used ironically. These stories are not happy. Half of them feature terminal illness in some way. There's also dictatorships, natural disasters, and let's not forget pedophilia. So know that signing on for this collection means some tough subject matter ahead.
I adored Johnson's novel The Orphan Master's Son, which I avoided for months because I didn't think it could live up to the hype. (Spoiler: it did.) These stories feel in a lot of ways like they're from a different writer, which is good and bad. It's pretty strong, the stories are relatively even in terms of quality, and he leans towards fewer long stories instead of more short stories, a preference I appreciate. ...more
I wanted really badly to enjoy this book. I'm a former Mormon and looking at the Church's issues on gender and LGBT issues is a really intriguing placI wanted really badly to enjoy this book. I'm a former Mormon and looking at the Church's issues on gender and LGBT issues is a really intriguing place to take Harrison's series. I enjoyed The Bishop's Wife without loving it, but the things I wasn't crazy about seemed to be amplified in this second book.
I try not to leave a lot of negative reviews, but I've noted Harrison's first book as an example of writing Mormons well so I felt like I needed to see this one through. Harrison seems to be writing to both a Mormon and non-Mormon audience, so she explains the Church and she explains a lot of gender/transgender elements to her audience. It can feel like a lot of explaining. And while Harrison obviously cares about these issues, the subplots feel clunky and like an attempt to do too much to make a statement.
While a big part of Linda's history is revealed and was really interesting, I still felt detached from her as a character. And I definitely felt more detached and confused about her marriage, which feels very stilted. I just didn't connect with this book the way I hoped I would....more
I get boxes full of advance copies, and one box had this book in it. I thought it looked kinda funky, it had some good blurbs, so I pulled it out of tI get boxes full of advance copies, and one box had this book in it. I thought it looked kinda funky, it had some good blurbs, so I pulled it out of the box and into the pile that I actually plan to read. But then it sat there for a few months with no urgency. Until all these people kept talking about it all the time and I thought, "Okay, okay, I'll read it, fine!" It lived up to the hype.
I am a big fan of books where I have no idea what's going to happen, the rules of the world it's in are entirely unknown to me, and the whole thing feels like a surreal acid trip. This book hit all those nails squarely on the head. Plus it was funny and romping even as it got into some seriously heavy plot and character stuff. I have never read another book like this and that's perhaps the biggest compliment I can give it.
This book is extremely violent and dark, so if you struggle with that stuff it's probably not for you. But even if you don't consider yourself a fantasy reader, you should give it a try. This is not a book that works in trope or cliche. It is starting everything from scratch and taking you on a serious ride....more
A quick read with interesting worldbuilding. The second half doesn't entirely hold up to the promise of the first, but I read the whole thing in one gA quick read with interesting worldbuilding. The second half doesn't entirely hold up to the promise of the first, but I read the whole thing in one go while laying in my bed in the middle of the night. Definitely has some serious spooky stuff happening, atmosphere is absolutely its strongest quality....more
I don't read much fantasy at all. I tend to get too frustrated by the tropes and cliches, the repetitions that most people find exciting make me boredI don't read much fantasy at all. I tend to get too frustrated by the tropes and cliches, the repetitions that most people find exciting make me bored. But when I heard good buzz about Sorcerer to the Crown from other people who aren't that into fantasy, I knew I had to give it a try.
This book is a straight up delight. A book I can recommend to almost anyone, which is a really valuable thing for me, as someone whose tastes tend to skew super dark. It's jaunty and fun, but always wise and intelligent. It's diverse and feminist. It enjoys taking convention and turning it on its head. It plays by its own set of rules.
Set in an alternate universe of 1800's Britain where magic is real and Fairyland is just across a hedge, this book reminded me most of Suzanne Collins' JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL, a book I adore, and J. K. Rowling's HARRY POTTER books kind of smushed together. Collins' ability to rethink historical settings, Rowling's ingenuity and tone, but it's also completely its own book and I for one am thrilled there will be more....more
Every now and then when I'm reading a novel I think, "I want to hold on to this. This is a special experience." I had that thought while reading VERSIEvery now and then when I'm reading a novel I think, "I want to hold on to this. This is a special experience." I had that thought while reading VERSION CONTROL. I wanted it to last longer, I wanted to read it for a month.
It's not just that I love the way little bits of science-fiction and magical realism suddenly show up in this story, it's also how it manages to be so clearly intelligent and so emotionally wise. If I was on a first date with this book, I'd immediately be trying to figure out if it was into me because I would be desperate for this book to be my partner.
Oh, the joys of this book. There are the things I related to: the world of online dating, a lab full of scientists, the strange back and forth of a marriage in decline. There was also much I didn't: groups of girlfriends on the town, the lethargy of millennial 20-somethings, life after the loss of a child. But every single second of it felt so true and so fully realized that I would have to remind myself that the author was not a scientist, not a millennial woman, and not living in the very-near-future where this book is set. It's very strange to get a book that so fully understands so many aspects of the human condition, that is full of lines you want to read aloud to the person sitting next to you, and is also so bitingly satirical and so right-on with its sci-fi aspects.
I would definitely pair this book with Lauren Groff's FATES AND FURIES, very different characters and stories but definitely structural similarities and emotionally resonant in similar ways.
I did find the Coda (and some of the second part) not quite as strong as the first half of the book, though much of it was due to the fact that both sections required extensive exposition which pulled me out of the book's rhythm a bit.
Almost every year I read a book in the fall that's due for a January release that I know will end up on my best books list (2015: Welcome to Braggsville, 2014: The Weirdness) and that does in fact end up there. This is the one for 2016. ...more
While this was my least favorite of the four novels, it was still a satisfying ending to the quartet. It was inevitably going to be a little more chalWhile this was my least favorite of the four novels, it was still a satisfying ending to the quartet. It was inevitably going to be a little more challenging because Ferrante covers as many years of Elena and Lila's lives in this one book as she did in the first three combined. Part of it is also the rhythm and shape of life, as the trajectory becomes set, the surprises and shocks are muffled with time.
But Ferrante has given us an amazing book and an amazing feat with these four novels. This friendship, which is never simple or easy and which at times seems inevitably done or inevitably healed is never pinned down to be just one thing.
Reading these books has me both jealous and terrified of their lower-class Italian life, the insults and praises, the honesty and straightforwardness. I think most people find there must be autobiography here because there are so many characters whose lives go in so many directions that it's hard to imagine them not being real people from a real neighborhood.
Elena's life is virtually nothing like mine, but I feel like we are the same person when I read these books. And I was utterly caught up in Elena's ambivalence towards motherhood. Apparently I yearn to hear this from other women because it is so rarely spoken, it was deeply fulfilling here. Even though Ferrante takes no pains to make Elena likeable or nice.
There's something about watching a woman make mistakes, the way Ferrante commits fully to Elena's mindset through each stage of her life. As a reader you want to tell her, "No, no, this thing with Nino will end badly," but you also know how it feels to be her, to love Nino, to take it all.
I listened to the audiobooks of all four novels and enjoyed the reader a lot, even though I initially was unsure she was the right fit. I can now recognize her voice of Lila immediately. Her straightforward tone fits the narration well. But I really must have hard copies of all four books and give them a place of honor on my shelves....more
I didn't listen to this novel under optimal conditions. I listened to the audiobook (which is absolutely perfectly narrated by B. D. Wong in what mayI didn't listen to this novel under optimal conditions. I listened to the audiobook (which is absolutely perfectly narrated by B. D. Wong in what may be one of my favorite reader/novel pairings ever) but I kept stopping to take breaks. (I started it right before Scribd's audiobook model changed, and I had to finish a bunch of other audiobooks I wouldn't have access to again.) So it took me a month or so to read this book and I often listened while I was in the airport and traveling and very tired, so it wasn't optimal by any means.
But none of that could change how incredibly affecting this book was, how innovative its style was, how much I cared about Fan and what was happening to her.
This was a beautiful, surreal, melancholy, literary, genre-bending and really innovative novel that I just couldn't get enough of. I hope to come back to it under better conditions to enjoy it more thoroughly....more
It took me almost 9 months to read this book. Which has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with me. But I was happy to come back to it aIt took me almost 9 months to read this book. Which has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with me. But I was happy to come back to it and finish it and move on to the last book. It's actually a pretty huge compliment, since I rarely return to a book I haven't immediately finished....more
To me, this was a clear case of story not matching style. Zancan's prose is lyrical, long, and meditative. But theChosen from Book of the Month club.
To me, this was a clear case of story not matching style. Zancan's prose is lyrical, long, and meditative. But the story of Maggie, Lindsey, and Nina isn't like that at all. Sure, a few small town girls deserve to have their story told, but there's such a disconnect between their story and the way they talk and act. It just feels like the wrong person is telling it.
At times, Zancan makes you breathless with her narrative, which is pretty amazing. And the looks back at the teenage antics of the three girls is absolutely the best part of the book. But the story continues to bounce around that lost time, the night the girls meet a movie star in a bar, and all sorts of other times in their lives. This is a structure that can work really well, but that left me struggling to get through the book a lot of the time.
Ultimately, I just didn't connect with the night the girls meet Sam Decker in a bar. It certainly has its moments, but it comes back over and over, to a drunken conversation that sometimes seems far too philosophical for these characters. It is supposed to be the pivotal turning point for the narrator, but I feel like too much is made of it. It's very hard to make fictional movie stars interesting.
It was hard to not love this book, because the character of Nina is so intense and amazing and I wanted the book to fit her better than it did. ...more