Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Show Us Your Books–November edition

shut up and readHello, 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. 

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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.

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  1. Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand

    I’m on the library wait list for Bill Clegg’s book; from the look of the list, it could be a while before it’s my turn. Hate List is already on my “to read” list. I’m so glad you liked Galveston. The feel (bold, italics for “feel”) is probably what I enjoyed the most. I’ve never read Jennifer Weiner, and since, like you said, we share a *few* common interests, I’ve added the one you read because it sounds like a good leap into her books.
    Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand recently posted…I show you my books, you show me yoursMy Profile

  2. Kerry

    I am adding Hate List and Did you ever have a family, both sound so different but good. I love book day!!
    Kerry recently posted…October Books Iโ€™ve ReadMy Profile

  3. Kristin

    I love Jesse Eisenberg, but I’m not a huge fan of short stories. I don’t know why. Maybe I’ll try it.
    Also, Hate List sounds good but I generally try to stay away from school shooting books.
    Kristin recently posted…October BooksMy Profile

  4. Linda Sheridan

    I love short stories, so that Jesse Eisenberg book is for me.
    Everybody and their uncle are writing books these days!
    Have a happy day!
    Love, Steph’s Momma

  5. HEATHER My Little HEA

    Definitely adding Hate List. I have another school shooting one on my TBR so I’m wondering which one I’ll end up liking more.
    HEATHER My Little HEA recently posted…All About the Books – NovemberMy Profile

  6. Karen

    I am adding Do You Ever Have a Family and Hate List to my TBR list for sure. Now I’m also interested in Jesse Eisenberg’s book too. I’ve read a few books by actors that were actually really good so I would definitely give it a try. I read one Jennifer Weiner book (Good In Bed) but I never picked up another. I need to get back to her!
    Karen recently posted…Latest Reads // October โ€“ NovemberMy Profile

  7. Nancy @ NY Foodie Family

    I checked goodreads and I read Hate List back in 2011 and loved it! I saw Did You Ever Have a Family on the Goodreads awards nominations and am interested in reading it. Weiner has been hit or miss with me, though Who Do You Love has been on my tbr list.
    Nancy @ NY Foodie Family recently posted…All About the Books October 2015My Profile

  8. April

    I had no idea Jesse Eisenberg wrote a book! I’ll have to look into that one.

  9. Brittany Pines

    The review for the DNF made me LOL. I have those reactions sometimes too. Jennifer Weiner sounds like an author I would be interested in, they aren’t always popular but I’m a sucker for any familial/real-life drama.
    Brittany Pines recently posted…Show Us Your Books Link-UpMy Profile

  10. Steph

    I’m so glad you wrote that about Jennifer Weiner. I’m reading my first book of hers and I don’t love it, but I didn’t know if I should give her another chance and you’ve inspired me. Let me know which one your favorite is and I’ll give it a try ๐Ÿ™‚
    Steph recently posted…On the Bookshelf: Vol 4.My Profile

  11. carrie

    I’ve heard awesome things about did you ever have a family and hate list. never heard of Galveston, and wait… an actor who can write!? hallelujah! ๐Ÿ™‚
    carrie recently posted…What I Read: Non-FictionMy Profile

  12. kristen

    readcation!!!! love it, and yes! totally doing the same.
    lol only if every other book goes up in flames. hilarious. i searched for it just to make sure it wasn’t on my list!
    added the family one, jennifer weiner’s is on my list.
    kristen recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

  13. Kimmi

    Hate List is for sure going on my list!
    Kimmi recently posted…Show Us Your Books: October 2015 ReadsMy Profile

  14. Kelli

    I miss reading, but I’m on a reading ban until I finish writing. If I don’t ban reading I’ll just do that instead.

    I have Galveston on my to read list so I’m happy to know it’s good.
    Kelli recently posted…Coversations with Myself – NaNoWriMo EditionMy Profile

  15. Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage

    LOL if all the books go up in flames ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve added Who Do You Love, I’ve never read anything by her (at least I don’t think so), I have to give it a go.
    Mariah-Food, Booze, & Baggage recently posted…Show Us Your Books: OctoberMy Profile

  16. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    I love Jesse Eisenberg. I don’t love short stories. I don’t know why.

    I’m definitely adding Hate List to the list.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…Show Us Your Books – What I Read in OctoberMy Profile

  17. alyssa

    Thanks for the honest review about Body Like Mine. I had that on my TBR but was unsure, and definitely not in a hurry to read it. Now even less of a hurry. The Bill Clegg book is on my TBR too. Have you read A Portrait of the Addict as a Young Man? I was absolutely ENTHRALLED by that one. His style is fantastic and captivating. Can’t wait to check this one out.
    alyssa recently posted…Recent ReadsMy Profile

  18. Lauren

    Adding Hate List and Did You Ever Have a Family. Tempted to add Galveston since I live in Houston and I always love when books have real life details. I really liked Who Do You Love and it was my first Jennifer Weiner book, so perhaps I should add more?
    Lauren recently posted…october booksMy Profile

  19. Jessica @ Pleas(e) and Carrots

    I am adding Hate List and Did You Ever Have a Family to my list, but I will definitely have to pick the right time to read them since they sound so sad!

  20. Beth @ Being Beth

    Reading everyone’s books makes me realize I need to get back on my reading game. I’m so behind!
    Beth @ Being Beth recently posted…Being Beth Book Review: The MartianMy Profile

  21. Jess

    Jesse Eisenberg aka Lex Luthor wrote a book?? I am gonna check this out! I tend to stay away from books with tough topics, but I may have to take a look at the others.
    Jess recently posted…Show Us Your Books: Books, LatelyMy Profile

  22. Christina

    Oh man, I have Body Like Mine on my nightstand. I felt the exact same way about Jesse’s book! I didn’t care about some, loved others, and like his style. I also like his acting. ๐Ÿ™‚ I listened to about a third of Did You Ever Have a family, but could not get into it. I said I’d revisit it in book form later. Hate List is also on my nightstand!
    Christina recently posted…Remembering My HappyMy Profile

  23. Tanya

    I added Hate List to my TBR list. Thank you for recommendation. I am so excited I found this link up.

  24. Rachel ยฆยฆ A Nesting Nomad

    I definitely have a love/hate relationship with books that wreck you for days! So I think I’ll give Who Do You Love a go. Also, I can’t make up my mind what I think about Jesse Eisenberg as an actor, so it sounds like I need to see what his writing is like! Short stories suit me well at the moment. Short attention span…!

  25. Meghan

    I saw Who Do You Love in the book aisle at work a few weeks back and I completely forgot I wanted to read it until you posted about it so yay, it’s on my TBR list on Goodreads now ๐Ÿ™‚
    Meghan recently posted…Show Us Your Books.My Profile

  26. Maggie

    Your comments on You Can Have a Body Like mine tickled the shit out of me! I’ll definitely avoid it! I just stumbled across this linkup; thanks to y’all for hosting! Happy Tuesday! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Maggie recently posted…AdaptationsMy Profile

  27. Nadine

    Added Hate List and Galveston to my reading list! Both sound interesting and different from my norm.
    Nadine recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

  28. Amber

    I’ve added Hate List to my reading pile!

    I read that Jennifer Weiner book. I liked it but I didn’t think the characters would last. It seemed they fought too much. Maybe they finally were mature enough, but the cynic in me was like, “I give them a year. Tops.”
    Amber recently posted…Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!My Profile

  29. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    Hate List sounds so interesting but so sad at the same time. Everybody tends to focus on the victims during situations like school shootings, which they totally should, but I think that people forget about the shooters family and friends.
    I saw that Erin recommended Galveston and it sounded so good! Especially since it’s by the guy who did True Detective.

  30. Alison @ Puppies & Pretties

    A readcation sounds amazing! I just might need to sign myself up for one of those ๐Ÿ™‚
    Alison @ Puppies & Pretties recently posted…October ReadsMy Profile

  31. lisacng @ expandng.com

    I’ve already got Hate List on my list. Did You Ever Have A Family also seems like a tragic story that I must read.
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…Tweetviews โ€“ book reviews in 140 charactersMy Profile

  32. Kristi @ Femme Frugality

    I’ll have to add Hate List to my massive stack of to read books…every time I finish one I have already added three more.
    Kristi @ Femme Frugality recently posted…How to Make Your Own Place Cards for Free with Word and PicMonkeyโ€”Or Just Use My TemplateMy Profile

  33. Kristen

    Your readcation sounds so wonderful. I need to do something like that at some point! (I was actually kind of hoping to do that while in New Mexico, but we spent a lot more time out and about than I initially anticipated.)

    I added Did You Ever Have a Family and Hate List to my “To Read” list when you mentioned them in one of your earlier cover judging posts. I was intrigued at the time, and I’m glad to see that you loved both of them!

    Also, LOL to “read only if every other book ever written goes up in flames and the internet shuts down”! I couldn’t stop laughing over that.
    Kristen recently posted…From the Bookshelf: Recently Read – November 2015 EditionMy Profile


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