Mini-Reviews Are the Best I Can Offer

My kids book to adult book ratio is still standing strong at about 100:1. I have tried to be more discerning with my adult books (I am much quicker to abandon a book that doesn’t catch my interest–like, most recently, Maggie Stiefvater’s All the Crooked Saints and Nancy Pearl’s George & Lizzie). Nevertheless, sadly, I haven’t read a great book since Goodbye, Vitamin (if you missed that review, you can read it here).

But I have read some decent ones. Unfortunately, I can’t be bothered to write full-fledged reviews of books that aren’t great, so mini-reviews are the best I can offer . . . but you’ll get the gist, I assure you. Here are the books I’ve read in the past month or so, presented in order from best to worst:

download-2.jpgLittle Fires Everywhere
Celeste Ng
352 pages
Published September 12, 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

What it’s about: The book opens with the Richardsons’ family home (in the progressive, but very Stepford Wives-y, community of Shaker Heights, Ohio) on fire. Three of the Richardson kids (there are four, all in high school, spaced one year apart) watch, perched on a car across the street. The fourth—and suspected culprit—Isabelle, is nowhere to be seen. “The firemen said there were little fires everywhere,” Lexie, the eldest, tells her brothers. “Multiple points of origin. Possible use of accelerant. Not an accident.” Oh, Izzy, what have you done? Continue reading

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Time to Play Catch-Up

My last post was at the end of August. Yipes. I can make a lot of excuses (my daughter turned one, and I threw a huge shindig; holidays and houseguests; lots of baby time, not as much me time), but the truth of the matter is this: I just haven’t felt like wasting my time writing reviews of mediocre books.

So, I’ve made an executive decision. I will not write reviews of mediocre books. I have a massive stack of to-be-reviewed books, and I have pared it down to four: two books that you should read and two books that you might think you should read but you absolutely should not read. The rest? They are going straight to Little Free Libraries around town without being reviewed. Done and done.

To celebrate the new year, I’m giving myself a clean desk. And I’m giving you these four reviews! Continue reading

Single White Female Fiction

I couldn’t have planned this better if I’d tried. Not only are the last two books I read historical fiction, but they are both of the Single White Female variety. Yes, I am referring to that creepy (and terrible) movie from the early-nineties in which a woman becomes obsessed with her female roommate:

These two books feature female friendships that go beyond the typical BFF-relationship and stray into the dangerous, you-really-need-to-see-a-therapist realm. Continue reading

Pride and Prejudice Meets The Bachelor

imgresEligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
Curtis Sittenfeld
Published April 19, 2016
512 pages (hardcover)

DISCLOSURE: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Random House Publishing Group, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What it’s about: In this modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, the Bennet family hails from Cincinnati. Drily witty dad and hoarder/online-shopper mom live in a crumbling (and spider-infested) old mansion that they can no longer afford (they’ve squandered a sizable inheritance). Jane and Liz have fled Cincinnati for NYC (where Jane is a yoga instructor and Liz works at a women’s magazine), while the three youngest Bennet sisters still live at home. Middle-sister Mary is reclusive and secretive (because, the family suspects, she is a lesbian) and working on her third master’s degree. Kitty and Lydia are beautiful, unemployed CrossFit enthusiasts who are obsessed with the Paleo diet. Continue reading

What’s the Opposite of a Pick-Me-Up?

I was trying to think of the opposite of a “pick-me-up.” The best I could do is “get-me-down.” Why on Earth would I need to know such a phrase, you ask? Because it’s all I’ve been reading. UGH.

I would estimate that I’m now reading approximately one-fourth of what I read pre-baby. Ideally, therefore, my reading would be confined to sweet-fluffy books or funny-fluffy books or super-interesting books or even helpful books of the parenting variety. Instead, I have managed to read three get-me-down books right in a row. For a sleep-deprived parent with limited reading time, this is not a reading strategy that I would recommend.

Don’t get me wrong: as a rule, I am not against get-me-down books. In fact, my very favorite book of all time is a definite downer (Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates). But that writing makes me swoon, so it makes the ridiculously depressing story somehow worth reading.

The three books I am reviewing this week were all billed as worthwhile get-me-down books. But it is safe to say that they are NOT Revolutionary Road-level get-me-down books.  Continue reading

This Week in Books: The Books You Read When You’re Sleep Deprived, Exhausted, and Nursing at 4:00 a.m.

Be forewarned: this week’s books will never be considered “classics.” They are not the kind of books that will make you super introspective. Nor are they the type of books that will make you think about things in a new and different light.

These books are the kinds of books you read when you’re in need of a book that is quick and easy and not too thinky. They are pure fluff (presented in order of least to most fluffy). One book is written by a comedian about dating. One is a short YA book full of lists and bullet points and other “creative” stylistic choices. And the last is a book that was made into a popular (and equally trashy) TV show. It also has the distinct honor of being a book that is included on a List Challenge entitled “Books You’ll Never Brag About Having Read.”

Needless to say, these are not books that I would suggest you recommend to your book club (if you’re looking for a great book club selection, check out my post from a few weeks ago that featured reviews of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing and The Truth According to Us, either of which would be a fabulous choice). But if you are looking for a book that is super light, won’t change your life, and is mindless fun, these books will fit the bill just fine. Happy fluff reading! Continue reading

This Week in Books: Late Night Porch Talks with the Dead, Depression-Era West Virginia, and an End-of-Life Alaskan Cruise

This week’s books, despite their very different styles, settings, and plots, share a common trait:

First, you’ve got Thomas, a well-respected neurosurgeon, who has taken to spending his nights having long conversations with his dead mother. Then there’s Jottie, who lives for the brief and precious moments she spends with her long-dead love, Vaughan. Finally, there’s Harriet Chance, who frequently hangs out with her recently deceased husband Bernard.

The books aren’t all about talking to dead people. But it is an odd coincidence that all three of the books I read this week share that common characteristic (especially considering how different they are from one another). Continue reading