Well this Show Us Your Books sneaked up on us pretty damn quick, didn’t it? Or maybe it’s just me because I’m still on my blogging break (mostly). I wanted to come back sooner but I’m struggling with some things and want to sort that all out before I start writing consistently again. We’ll hash all that out in a post later on because today is all about the books.
This past month was full of intensely intense books. I’ve never been one to read with the seasons (i.e., light and fluffy in the summer, heavy in the winter) and this month definitely proves it. I read some seriously batshit crazy books with some seriously batshit crazy characters. I also read a book about a plane crash while actually on a plane so that shows you just how good my decision making skills are.
Note: for the most part, these reviews are the ones I’ve written on Litsy (you can follow me there if you want, @saysjana, but only if you have an iPhone. It’s not available for Androids yet). I’ve learned that I’m terrible at most of the social media but this one is a bit different and it helps me track my reading and reviews for this here linkup. It also helps me keep my reviews a bit shorter because, as we all know, I’m longwinded. #sorrynotsorry
True Crime Addict: How I Lost Myself in the Mysterious Disappearance of Maura Murray by James Renner. I fucking loved this book. Read it in one sitting. I think it helped that I wasn’t familiar with the case so all the information was new to me. I adored his writing style and how he interwove his life with his obsession in solving Maura’s disappearance. To me, this is how you do a memoir.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’ve said before that TJR is an author I’ll never quit mostly because her books are predictably good and reliable. She’s just the right mix of solid writing, chick lit, and likable characters set in what feels like realistic situations. Her books consistently entertain me and this one was no different. I got this from NetGalley AND it was a book I read for Erin and Dani’s challenge.
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. You know how I said I read a book about a plane crash while physically on a plane? s: It’s this one. The plane crash is not at all a spoiler, I promise. I loved the writing and the storytelling and the way he told the story of the passengers on the plane but the plot had so much going on and too many characters that it got annoying and lost me at times. However, it’s still worth the read. Just not on a plane. That’ll freak you out. Also a NetGalley book and a book for Erin and Dani’s challenge.
Breadline USA: The Hidden Scandal of Hunger in America and How To Fix It by Sasha Abramsky. The best thing I can say about this book is that it was decent. I like a good social policy book but this was not it. I found him pretentious and obnoxious and out of touch and, roughly 7 years after the book’s publication, it seems woefully out of date. This seems like a topic he seized on because at the height of the recession it was trendy but it lacked passion and a genuine concern for the problem he’s discussing.
Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman. Steph and I will be discussing this on an upcoming episode of The Armchair Librarians so you’ll get a more in-depth review then. But for now we’ll say that this is one of those books that when it’s good, it’s kick ass awesome and intense and fucked up and you can’t put it down but when it’s not, it’s boring and tedious and whiny. The ending is MESSED UP so proceed with caution.
Shelter by Jung Yun. This is a well-written examination of the repercussions of a violent event that hits (no pun intended) a Korean-American family (this last part is important because the book examines a lot of cultural family dynamics). It deals with all the things: debt, marriage struggles, domestic violence…so many issues are addressed here. This is not an easy, light read. It is hard. But it is so, so good. I also got this one from NetGalley (I know! Three in one month!)
Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma. A gorgeously, if sometime overly, written story of grief and friendship and hope and sadness and loss and love filled with characters I cared nothing about. Except Jacob and Irene. I cared about them. They made the book worth reading. This one reminded me a little bit of A Little Life if that helps describe it.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. I don’t know how to fairly review this wonderfully insanely fucked up book. It’s bizarre and twisted and packs so much into it’s 200ish pages but honestly, I have no idea what the hell I just read. I finished it and reread the last 15 pages 4 more times and then the beginning twice more and I think I got it but wow. The decent into madness is harrowing to read and it’s gruesome and if someone has read it, please get in touch with me because I really need to discuss this book.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. I was so excited to read this book and then…I read it. At best, it’s annoying. At worst, it’s obnoxious. Snobby and elitist about food and wine, which I care zero about, and I feel like it’s the epitome of everything people love, hate, idealize, and romanticize about New York and New Yorkers. Like it’s one big New Yorky stereotype. And the characters are all assholes. I also could not stand the perpetual vagueness and unanswered questions about Simone and Jake’s relationship. It felt purposeful and it bugged the shit out of me. But she writes well.
TL;DR: Add I’m Thinking of Ending Things, True Crime Addict, and One True Loves. Maybe Before the Fall. Steph and I are discussing Girls on Fire in an upcoming podcast episode.
That’s it for me. Now it’s your turn. Link up with what you’ve read. Make sure you visit some other readers and most definitely me and Steph, your lovely hosts. Nonbloggers, leave a comment with what you’ve been reading lately.
Next linkup is August 8.