Hello, fellow booknerds. We meet again. FOR THE GREATEST DAY OF THE MONTH!!! I cannot wait to see what you guys have read and to add to my TBR even though I have 8 books on my nightstand, 6 books on hold, and about a dozen unread books on my iPad. This is perhaps why I am taking a readcation over Thanksgiving. No blogging, no social media except maybe Instagram, no work. Just books, family, the occasional workout because food, and more books.
It really needs to get here already.
But since it’s still 2 weeks away, let’s review what I read last month, which was perhaps my slowest reading month of the year. I finished 5 and had one DNF.
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg. This was just nominated for a Goodreads award and with good reason. This is a sad, beautifully written book. It told the story of a woman who lost her entire family in a terrible, tragic accident (that actually could have been prevented but we don’t know that until the big confession), and the narrative is done through a number of characters who, in another book, would have been peripheral characters but in this book, come together to tell the whole story. It does drag in some places but overall, it was such a phenomenal story and I gave it 5 stars because of the creativity in storytelling. I don’t recommend this book for everyone. But I loved it.
Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner. There is a reason she is on my list of authors I’ll never quit. I simply love her books. They are not earth changing, they are not inspiring, they will not make you think differently about life. But she writes (mostly) realistic stories with (mostly) realistic characters and those stories give you all the feels without being overbearing or wrecking you for days. Which is nice. This one in particular chronicles the relationship between Rachel and Andy, starting from their first meeting at 7 or 8 and ends with them as adults, and it’s not always as storybook as you’d think. That’s the part I loved. Also, the characters are my age and since the story is told with an age progression, I could relate on a whole different level. I’m describing that poorly. Essentially, I liked that I understood a lot of the pop culture references and experiences.
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman. Fuck this pretentious, boring book with awful characters written by someone who clearly has buckets of talent but chose to showcase it in a way that alienates readers who actually want to be slightly entertained by books. The main character, A, is miserable, her boyfriend, C, is a huge dick, and her roommate, B, is even more miserable than A and they’re all pathetic and maybe it was social commentary that I’m not smart enough to understand and that’s why it didn’t click for me but blech. I hated this book. I could write dozens of sentences as to why and they’d probably all be more interesting than everything about this book. This was my DNF, by the way
Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Continuing my support for banned books, I decided to read this one. Another school shooting book but this time, it followed the girl whose boyfriend was the shooter and how he seemingly picked victims both at random and targeted based on their collective “hate list”. We see how the shooting affects not only Valerie mental health, family life, and school life, but we see the overall impact to the school and survivors. The ending was a little to rushed and parts were tied in a neat little bow, but for the most part, the author did not shy away from the ugliness of the aftermath (particularly in the way Valerie’s family treats her). It’s a hard topic to read but I highly recommend this book.
Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the guy behind True Detective. I first heard of this book from Erin, and since she and I have similar taste in, well, everything, I put this one on my list. I’m glad I did. I read this book in about 3 hours. It’s definitely right up my gritty, dark, violent, emotional, crime story alley. The book–which is relatively short–follows the Roy, who’s essentially mafia muscle and recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, who escapes a hit on him and in the process, becomes the unwilling partner/guardian of Rocky and her “sister”. The story follows them in their travels through Louisiana and Texas and eventual stay at a motel in, you guessed it, Galveston. What happens isn’t pretty, which I liked. The ending is not at all what I expected, even if it became pretty predictable after a point.
Bream Gives Me Hiccups & Other Stories by Jesse Eisenberg. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s Jesse Eisenberg, the actor. Who, for what it’s worth, I love as an actor. He’s one of those actors who will get me to watch a movie simply because he’s in it. So that’s partly why I wanted to read this book. Also because a book of short stories is on my self-imposed, never shared reading challenge. What’s nice about a book of short stories is, if you don’t like one, you can skip it and it doesn’t at all affect your reading experience. That’s what happened in this book. There were some stories I LOVED (like the one with the college freshman and the opening one with the kid giving his life story hidden in restaurant reviews) and some that were just meh. I will say, though, regardless of my opinion of the story, he’s a great writer. I’d read another collection if he writes one.
Definitely add to your TBR: Hate List, Galveston
Read only if every other book ever written goes up in flames and the internet shuts down: You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine
Now it’s your turn! Link up below with your posts or, nonbloggers or bloggers who didn’t write a post, let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading. Next linkup will be on December 8.