Archive | September, 2018

Novella-ella-ella

25 Sep

If you ever feel like you’re in a rut and can’t finish a book, my advice is to pick up a novella. I read BOTH of these this weekend and really felt like I was on top of my reading game. All told I would guess it’s under 200 pages, but TWO BOOKS!

I really liked them both – they are both a little dark and cruel and totally enthralling. Waiting for Eden just hit shelves today. It’s the story of Eden – injured in Iraq and burned beyond recognition, missing the lower half of his body, and his wife Mary, constantly by his side in the hospital. The narrator is a soldier who was a friend of Eden’s and died in the same attack that Eden survived. Narrating from the Great Beyond. It’s that weird sort of love story that is not really a love story but definitely is a love story I think that has grown on me more and more the further I get from it. 4 stars.

Strike Your Heart is a cruel little novella about a woman, Diane. From the moment she was born her beautiful mother is nothing but jealous of her. Ignored, unloved, Diane chooses to live with her grandparents. The story revolves around four polarizing women in Diane’s life – her mother “the goddess,” her best friend Elisabeth, a mentor and the mentor’s young daughter. Really good and fast but not very uplifting. 4 stars.

Thanks, Reese Witherspoon

9 Sep

Well, Reese Witherspoon beat me to it. I wish I had posted about Where the Crawdads Sing last week after I finished it – she just announced it’s her next book club pick and all I could think was “I loved it first!” Guys. I really loved this. Definitely the first book this year that, as I was reading, I knew would be on my end of year list. Definitely the first book this year that was immediately a 5 star read. It was so good! There are a few things that bother me – the title, for one. And the main character, Kya. She doesn’t bother me, in fact I think I love her more than many characters I’ve ever met/read. But her name! So weird. Even with those two annoying things, this was an amazing read. It’s the story of KYA (sigh, how do you even say that!) who has a terrible family living in a hut in the swamp. In the first chapter her mother leaves her (and her siblings) with their alcoholic father. One by one, all the siblings leave to find a better future. Kya (the youngest) finds herself alone with her father who all but ignores her. It’s her coming of age story wrapped in a murder mystery with so many lovely parts. I’m a sucker for a good “girl who learns to read and it changes her life” story and that’s pretty much what this is. 5 stars.

These other two that I finished in the past few week – they were ok. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel is the story of Hansel and Gretel through a WWII/Holocaust lens. Hansel and Gretel (not their real names) are left by their father and stepmother in the woods. They find shelter in the cottage of the “witch.” Not my favorite WWII story, but it was well-received by my book club. If you want to read some great WWII fiction, please instead find In the Land of Armadillos by Helen Maryles Shankman. It’s a masterpiece.

How to Love a Jamaican is a collection of short stories about contemporary Jamaicans. The stories were great! It was an easy-to-read collection. I have a few more collections that I’d like to read this year, so I’m not ready to call this one my fave. 4 stars.

Here’s an update on my TBR:

A River of Stars: Read half and didn’t finish. Nothing wrong with it just didn’t catch me.

The Family Tabor: Read the first few chapters and decided I wasn’t in the right mood for it.

Chariot on the Mountain: was annoyed by the writing style so stopped reading.

Virgil Wander: reading it right now and loving it! Maybe only 10% through it but it’s good.