Perfect vacation or beach read, well-paced, about a Hollywood star confronting the truths of her life as she dictates it to a biographer. It asks quesPerfect vacation or beach read, well-paced, about a Hollywood star confronting the truths of her life as she dictates it to a biographer. It asks questions about marriage and friendship and what you sacrifice for goals or love. The rest of it is better discovered by the reader.
Thanks to the publisher for approving my request through NetGalley....more
Finally checking Zambia off my around the world novel, this slim novel was published in 2000 but is set in the 1990s, when Zambia had an economic crisFinally checking Zambia off my around the world novel, this slim novel was published in 2000 but is set in the 1990s, when Zambia had an economic crisis going on, and this "new disease" that is causing chaos.
"The nineties. The years of the rule of money. The years of havelessness, bad rains and the new disease. The harsh years of madness and evil!"
The central story is about Nasula, who has been widowed and left in poverty by her in-laws. Her daughter Sula is her only hope, but she can't afford to send her to school. She goes on a journey to try to get the money.
"Marriage and men are not salvation but the ruin of any woman who can't stand on her own two feet."
I liked the mother quite a bit; she never gives up. This is a pretty optimistic story but set in a realistic setting. ...more
The first Wayward Children book (Every Heart a Doorway) introduced readers to a rehab/school for children returning from fantasy worlds. I was lookingThe first Wayward Children book (Every Heart a Doorway) introduced readers to a rehab/school for children returning from fantasy worlds. I was looking forward to book 2 to get deeper into their stories. This book does not return there but instead tells the story of what happened to Jack and Jill prior to their time at the home. There are a few other surprises in there coming from western folklore, once you get past the first 1/4 which is mostly the author being preachy about bad parenting. There's something I don't like in McGuire's writing about how she is too present. I can't escape into the world because it's like she's there poking me, making sure I laugh at her jokes and saying, "I see what you did there." It's possible the style is simply not for me. It might be for you.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me access through NetGalley....more
I don't read a lot of romance but I needed something with a happy ending! This is part of a series but I didn't read book 1 and was fine. A bit of a fI don't read a lot of romance but I needed something with a happy ending! This is part of a series but I didn't read book 1 and was fine. A bit of a flipped script where the lady is the awkward one who is good at math and the Duke is the one good with people (and always asks for consent.) There is a cipher to be solved, and it is given almost as much page time as the romance.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me access through NetGalley....more
I was interested in this book because it is described as "classic lgbt" and features a bisexual protagonist in the 90s art world of NYC. I made it halI was interested in this book because it is described as "classic lgbt" and features a bisexual protagonist in the 90s art world of NYC. I made it halfway, but felt pretty bored. The protagonist (a male working at a bookstore) was controlling and judgmental of the woman he is interested in. While there are interesting moments describing the art and culture of 1990s New York, they are too infrequent to keep my interest as the central story isn't doing it.
Thanks to the publisher who provided access to the title through NetGalley, as it appears to be heading toward republishing....more
This is a first novel and it shows somewhat - one weird pacing decision and a few startling flashbacks (too infrequent to make much sense,) too much iThis is a first novel and it shows somewhat - one weird pacing decision and a few startling flashbacks (too infrequent to make much sense,) too much infodumping with science at times, and it could have been shorter and told the same story - but overall I enjoyed this story about Polies working at "Pole." It starts out focused on Cooper, an artist who has been given a grant, working a the South Pole in hopes it will inspire her art after the death of her brother. Sometimes the focus shifts to another character and the tone changes to how that character thinks, and I enjoyed those parts, although I felt they could have been more methodically spread throughout the book. There is some commentary here on art vs. science, climate change, but more than anything I liked getting to know the types of characters you would find in such an isolated, difficult place.
Thanks to the publisher for providing early access through NetGalley....more
I'm the kind of person who grasps for books to speak to what I'm going through, and memoir can be really good for that. This came across in one of theI'm the kind of person who grasps for books to speak to what I'm going through, and memoir can be really good for that. This came across in one of the emails I get of daily book deals, and I jumped at the chance, because that very day I was planning the books I'd take along when I flew home to be with my family after my father entered hospice care. You might think I'm morbid, but despite the problematic elements of this narrative, I found it somewhat comforting to read the author's account of similar atrocities - becoming the caretaker for a parent even if you aren't 100% responsible, facing the fact that many of the people in your life will withdraw while you are going through it because it is too much for them to handle, trying to have humor in the face of death because, well, can it hurt? I mean maybe it can but will it make you feel better?
Dan Marshall and I don't have the same experience exactly. His mom has battled cancer almost his entire life, and suffered a relapse around the time his father was diagnosed with ALS, a disease that claimed his father's life rather quickly, and required Dan to move back home to help with the care for a year. My parents suffered cancer back to back - my Mom fought off three kinds simultaneously (and successfully, for now, knock on wood) 2014-15, and my Dad was diagnosed with a form of cancer that was always going to be terminal at the start of 2016. What joins us together is the reality of the emotional and physical trauma of dealing with serious illness for such long periods. Yes it effects the people with the disease, but the burden is carried by all the members of the family in different ways.
The tone of the writing won't be for everyone. I'm not sure it's even for me, but there were particular circumstances at play. Here's an example:
"I could just get wrist-deep in this dying-parents shit. Feel everything. Do everything. Roll around in the mud. Really experience the horrible reality of death firsthand. That would make me a wiser and better person, right? That would help me grow up, right? That would give me life experience that would put everything else in perspective, right?"
I'm not sure if you can tell from this passage but unfortunately the author is not overly likeable or mature. But something happens when someone is dying - it absorbs 150% of your energy and attention, while you're in the same room but also when you're away. At the same time there is no escape - the only way out is through. Several readers are critical of how the other children in the family are neglected, and it is troublesome, but one could argue that with a mother perpetually ill, they were already overlooked, something only magnified when the father is also out of the picture. The mother floats through the memoir in a painkiller and yogurt fog.
I put this book on hold for a few days, and in that time my father passed away. I returned a few days after that to read the end, and it's a bizarre ending where suddenly he tries to be poetic and describes a dreamlike death sequence. For a person who was willing to be upfront with the dying part, he seems less comfortable with the actual death. Like his brain could only speak of it in metaphor. Bizarre (and ineffectual.)
So the author is unlikeable. He's a rich white asshole, self-declared. None of these things give you privilege over death, nor do they prepare you any better for it. And no matter that death happens all the time, it always feels like your own unique and lonely experience. I think he captures this between the lines, in his painful jokes that aren't funny, in his desperate constant use of profanity. I think the fact this is present at all may be my own imposition and empathy, and a complete accident otherwise.
Ah hell this is really a 2-star read. But I'm giving it an extra for being there when I needed someone who got it. I'm not sure I recommend it. Your mileage may vary....more
I am a huge fan of books on books. I even have a shelf for them in Goodreads! This was a great one, completely without the pretentiousness that can soI am a huge fan of books on books. I even have a shelf for them in Goodreads! This was a great one, completely without the pretentiousness that can sometimes be a problem from well-intentioned readers, but that is little surprise - Annie Spence is a librarian! The first two thirds of the book are letters to her favorites (or break-up letters to books she can't see anymore), in different formats and approaches so the reader doesn't get bored. The last third, my favorite, are annotated book recommendation lists with fun themes. I added a bunch of books to my to-read list, and you will too. It's Book Lust TNG, with a more casual tone.
Thanks to the publisher for providing an early copy through Edelweiss. The expected publication date is 26 September 2017.
After Earth has been destroyed, humanity is trying to survive in genetically modified forms in the nearby univers"Silent skinsongs. That's all we are."
After Earth has been destroyed, humanity is trying to survive in genetically modified forms in the nearby universe. The future species is occupied with trying to find ways to reproduce - the ability has been lost and they are dwindling. Their stories intertwine with the girl who caused the revolution and destruction in the first place, and may be enough of a force to start another. Joan of Arc? Somewhat.
There are some scenes of violence to women that I felt were unnecessary, jarring enough to almost make the book a 3-star read. Those scenes were not only gratuitous-feeling, which is bad enough, but simply did not match the tone of the rest of the novel, so they really stood out to me.
Sidenote: At one point, a character reads a poem, and it is so beautiful - I would love to read a book of Yuknavitch's poetry!
Thanks to the publisher for providing early access through Edelweiss....more
A sourdough starter opens the door to a mysterious underground world in near future San Francisco. Like most Sloan stories, this requires a healthy amA sourdough starter opens the door to a mysterious underground world in near future San Francisco. Like most Sloan stories, this requires a healthy amount of suspending disbelief, but worth it. This was a very fun read, in fact I feel I should use the word "delightful." I want a spicy sandwich!
Carb nerds.. malevolent bread... I feel like giggling again.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy through Edelweiss....more
This is a bit different from what I'd come to expect from Maile Meloy - it's a thriller about a cruise ship excursion gone bad. The thriller aspect isThis is a bit different from what I'd come to expect from Maile Meloy - it's a thriller about a cruise ship excursion gone bad. The thriller aspect is decent and the rich white people (who are obnoxious overall) don't escape completely, but I struggled to feel the book was entirely realistic. First of all, the cruise line unceremoniously dumps their luggage on the pier when they fail to return from a cruiseline-official excursion. Considering that this is an official excursion AND they are some of the wealthiest people on board, I'm sorry but this just wouldn't ever happen. Not without at the very least leaving someone from the cruiseline to look after them. There is also a series of scenes where the children and other various characters all come together on a train, and it felt a bit forced. And the criminals are inconsistent. I also ended up feeling like the people in danger were somewhat to blame for their predicament (the fathers abandon the families to go golfing and the mothers are either romping in the jungle with the tour guide or falling asleep on duty; the children have no common sense and make the situation worse), so I wasn't as much on their side as I felt I should be.
Still, if I were going on a cruise, this would be a great read. Or if I'd chosen the beach over a cruise, even better. :)
Thanks to the publisher for providing access through NetGalley....more
Surviving scandal is not an easy thing, especially when you are the young female intern and it's a political scandal. Aviva Grossman transforms her liSurviving scandal is not an easy thing, especially when you are the young female intern and it's a political scandal. Aviva Grossman transforms her life after these events, and that is what the novel is about. This is definitely a "novel for women" but I enjoyed it, the perfect thing to read in an airport and on a long plane ride to Portland. It would be a good beach read but doesn't come out until August, so save some summer reading for it!
Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy through NetGalley....more
Cece Bell uses the graphic novel format to tell her own story of hearing loss and the imagination of a child going through it. I thought it was fantasCece Bell uses the graphic novel format to tell her own story of hearing loss and the imagination of a child going through it. I thought it was fantastic, presenting real issues like how friendships change, the balancing of the best technology with the most comfortable technology, resistance to learning ASL, etc. Some of my favorite moments were just in the artistic representations, particularly a few pages on the trampoline. And who wouldn't love the character of El Deafo, the superhero who fearlessly confronts the world!
I felt myself responding very positively but started to wonder how the deaf community had responded. That's when I discovered this was a memoir (up until then I thought it was just a story), and found this article about how it empowers kids. Ah, so good to know.
I zoomed through this on the day my students were exploring the juvenile section of the library and reliving their childhoods. ...more