Do you love the new SUYB logo? I do, and we have the supremely talented Tanya to thank for it (you’ll see the rest of her handiwork in a day or two).
For those who are new, that’s me and Steph circa 1997, classily drinking what appears to be Boone’s Farms. We went to college together and have basically been friends ever since. It’s actually pretty cool.
But you’re here for the books so let’s talk books instead walking down memory lane. I had a pretty decent reading month and by that I mean I read some fucking fantastic books that you too need to read. I’m actually quite impressed with me as I read TWO from my NetGalley queue and some new releases as well (and finished my Goodreads goal!). I plan to dig into the bowels of my TBR over the winter so let’s enjoy the new books while we can.
As always, don’t forget to visit Steph and some of the other bloggers joining us. And we’ll be doing two in December. One is our regularly scheduled SUYB on December 12 and our annual Show Us Your Favorite Books of the Year on December 26. Please don’t feel obligated to join us for both; we know it’s a lot.
So, in no particular order, here’s my books from the last month. All reviews, as always, are copied directly from Litsy but I don’t recommend following me over there because I use it just for record keeping and not at all for what they intended.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Simply put, this book is fucking amazing and I’m jealous of anyone reading it for the first time. Her writing is gorgeous in its simplicity and emotion. She handles sensitive issues in a non-preachy way and the plot unfolds like a mystery which it sort of is but also not and the storytelling is phenomenal and you legit can’t figure out where it’s going until it gets there. Easily one of the best books I’ve read this year and my shitty review doesn’t do it justice.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Reading this book in the middle of fresh grief wasn’t the smartest choice but the heartache mixed with optimism and a twist on carpe diem made it time well spent. It’s not easy, reading about dying teenagers, but it’s not supposed to be easy. There is so much tragedy and loss in the story that it hurts, physically, but there’s so much love, too. The sci-fi elements didn’t do it for me (they annoyed me, in fact) but you can suspend belief within the context of the bigger plot and message.
Caroline by Sarah Miller. This book is written in the same tedious manner as the Little House books with numerous pages devoted to the most mundane details but not nearly as engaging. The book felt split in 2, with the first half being one long, continuous story and the second half as Kansas vignettes. But reading the Ingalls’ story from Ma’s perspective made me understand why she was such an asshole, and the sympathy for her is real and not simply because of Pa’s selfishness and stupidity (although that is a big part of it).
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. It’s no secret around here that I have a major crush on John Green. So maybe take that with a grain of salt when reading my review but seriously, this book is spectacular. It’s probably one of the best, most accurate, honest, and carefully written books about mental health I’ve read. He touches on all aspects of it, from what it’s like living with OCD and anxiety to loving someone who deals with it. Aza didn’t need to be a teenager to make the story relevant but I’m happy for all the kids like her who have now have someone representing them in a book. Some of the typical YA parts irked me (but I’m 40 so really, that’s expected) and the plot is kind of a mess but I 100% recommend this book.
Artemis by Andy Weir. I love his writing. It’s smart, sarcastic, and quick. He knows how to construct a hell of an engaging plot and excellent characters and I enjoyed how this one was a thriller with a western feel but in space and the main character was a badass woman. But something fell flat. The breaking of the 4th wall was unnecessary, he tried too hard with the sarcasm at times, and dude, we get it. You’re smart with science. Stop shoving it down our throats. Still, it was a quick, entertaining read even if it did have elements of blah. It’s going to make a great movie (we all know it’s bound to happen). ARC from NetGalley.
The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse. Meh. This book was a fine way to pass the time on a plane in in a waiting room. The characters felt underdeveloped and parts of the plot felt rushed and tropey but I liked the premise of Nina learning to care for herself and her boys after the unexpected death of her husband (a plot point that needed way more attention). There’s actually a ton of really good financial lessons tucked into the book so that was a nice surprise. ARC from NetGalley.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. This book gave me the biggest book hangover I have ever had. I genuinely don’t even know how to review it. It was big, beautifully written, story of a gay Irishman born to a teen mom, adopted by people who didn’t really like him, and who struggled his whole life to accept himself and find happiness. It’s friendship and love and tragedy and family and gay rights told over 70 years. It made me so angry and sad at times but filled with hope and smiles at others. If you’re going to read it, be prepared for the commitment.
The Financial Diaries by Jonathan Murdoch and Rachel Schneider. To be honest, this is not a book I expect most people to enjoy. I received it after completing an event at FinCon called FinX, (sponsored by the Center for Financial Services Innovation) where I spent the afternoon conducting financial transactions as an unbanked person. It was incredibly eye opening, but also completely in line with what I find interesting. The book focuses on how people manage their money but rather than reading like actual diaries or an ethnography, it was absolutely 100% a sociological study with TONS of academic research highlighted. It’s a well done book but for me, it wasn’t what I was looking for right now. Had I read it in college or grad school, I probably would have loved it, though.
Currently reading Ghettoside by Jill Leovy with Lincoln in the Bardo and X up next.
Now it’s your turn! Show us your books! Nonbloggers, leave a comment with what you’ve read recently that you’d recommend (or one that’s a hard pass)