Archive | June, 2018

That Pre-Vacation Reading Binge

18 Jun

We are heading to the lake for a week and I’ve been stockpiling a lot of good stuff to take with me in case I get time to read. I’ve made a pretty good dent in the stack already and it has all been so good.

I’d call a lot of this “fluff reading” but my favorite two are definitely NOT fluffy. There There just came out this last week and is already on the NYT bestseller’s list and being hyped up everywhere. The book is amazing and the author is young and hip and handsome so that helps. There There is a contemporary novel about the Native American culture as it exists today. It’s definitely a tough book, not a lot of cheer. There are twelve different narrators and through each one we see a different slice of the same terrible pie – all stories leading up to a convergence at the Big Oakland Powwow. 12 may have been a few too many narrators for me, I had trouble keeping all of the connections straight, but in the end I found that the exact connections didn’t really matter all that much and served to imply an eternally and infinitely connected community. 4.5 stars

A Place for Us has also been getting a lot of good buzz because it is the first title to be published under Sarah Jessica Parker’s new imprint. And it’s really good. We follow a family of Indian-American Muslims living in California as they gather for the eldest daughter’s wedding. The only son, Amar, is there after having been gone for many years. Everyone is a little tense about his arrival, his whereabouts, what he will tell the guests. And then we go back and get the whole story, Amar and his sisters, their parents, where the family fell apart. It is really beautifully written, the last section (narrated by the father) was very powerful and the perfect way to conclude the family’s story. I will say, though, that I’ve had a string of stories about Muslim families (The Three Daughters of EveHome Fire, and this one) and I found Home Fire to be a bit more powerful. I think if more time had passed between the reading of those two titles, this one would have definitely been a 5 instead of a 4.5.

This is How it Always Is was one of my book club books last month and somehow I forgot to put it up here. It was a fast, engrossing read about a family of five boys – but the youngest one, Claude, starts saying at a pretty early age that he is really a girl. Timely look at issues facing transgender children and their families, great for discussion, not sure I would have picked this up if it wasn’t for book club. 3.5 stars

I finished The Book of Essie tonight in a reading frenzy. If I had to describe it I’d say it’s a mashup of the Duggars (from 19 and Counting), Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptists and Law & Order: SVU. We follow Essie, the 17yr old daughter from a famous reality TV family known for their VERY conservative agenda, who in chapter one tells her mother (off camera, of course) that she’s pregnant. She eavesdrops on the meeting her mother has with the show’s producer and learns that she is to be married – and FAST. The second narrator is Rourke, the lucky 17yr old boy picked to be her husband. The third narrator is a journalist named Libby Bell who has a complicated past that endears her to Essie. I pretty much knew from the beginning where this was going, the writing is pretty straightforward and really there is a lot of room for YA crossover (on the older side of YA). But gosh I really had to see how it played out. 3.5 stars

High Season you’ve probably seen touted all over the place as The Book of the Summer. And it’s just what you’d expect it to be (which is not a bad thing at all). Set in a small town that is not the Hamptons but is nearby, a little less high society and a little more laid back. One summer a wealthy NYC celeb rents out a house on the island and stirs everything up. There is way more to this, but if you want a beach read this definitely fits the bill. 4 stars

Everyone and their mother and grandmother has probably read The Red Tent and I am VERY late to the party but it was excellent and amazing and everything else. It has (honestly) inspired me to go back and learn some of the bible stories in the interest of Literature. So many crazy things! The root of all stories maybe even. 5 stars