It would seem I have a problem with popular books. I avoid them. I avoided Homegoing and Underground Railroad and many others I’m sure. Why do I do that? Anyway, I kept avoiding this one not because it was popular but because everyone said it was sad. I don’t do sad for the point of sad. If a book is just there to make you cry it is not for me. If it has sad parts that’s a different thing.
I got A Man Called Ove on audio because it was there and I needed something. It was read by an actor, George Newbern. I know him as the fiancé/husband in Father of the Bride (the best movie ever) but apparently he reads audiobooks now. Anyway, Ove is hilarious. I mean seriously funny. He’s a cantankerous old man who’s wife died and now he’s lost. He gets new neighbors who insert themselves into his life and he doesn’t know what to do with them. Were there sad parts? Yes. But I wouldn’t say it is an all around sad book. It has more funny parts than sad. It was a happy summer read. I’m going to watch the movie tonight.
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with a cat on the cover
I’ve never read a Julia Glass book. I know she’s very popular and her characters from Three Junes (a National Book Award winner in 2002) continue in some of her other books. A House Among the Trees does not contain any of those characters. It’s a stand alone.
“When the revered children’s author Mort Lear dies accidentally at the Connecticut home he shares with Tomasina Daulair, his trusted assistant, she is stunned to be left the house and all its contents, as well as being named his literary executor. Though not quite his daughter or his wife, Tommy was nearly everything to the increasingly reclusive Lear, whom she knew for over forty years since meeting him as a child in a city playground where Lear was making sketches for Colorquake, a book that would become an instant classic.”
I don’t know why I picked this up or for that matter why I kept going. I can’t say it was good or bad, it was just a book. Nothing super shocking. Just a slow rolling book with multiple POVs. Easily skipped.
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : an audiobook
This was an amazing book. I avoided it for a long time because of all the hype. But the hype is deserving and it should have won the Pulitzer. In my humble opinion. I also love that Yaa Gyasi went to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Iowa pride. It was also one of the books that was mailed around in my traveling book club for the months of Sept-Oct.
Each chapter follows a different character, all of them stemming from two women – half sisters. In this way it’s almost like a connective short story collection. I loved all the characters and their lives. So much so that more books could be written about the timeline of the characters lives that we don’t see. And I would read those books. No question.
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you
Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : a book nominated for an award in 2017
I was in a reading desert you guys. I hadn’t finished a book in months. I think I’m coming out of it. I just finished In the Woods by Tana French. I’ve seen this book roam around my peripheral at the library for years (released in 2007) and always wanted to pick it up but never did. Probably because, I am not a mystery reader. Especially cozy mysteries. This is not a cozy mystery but just as a side note, what on Earth is the point of reading a book if you immediately know who did it? Woof. I sometimes enjoy a good thriller where you have no idea what the hell is going on. Like Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn or The Good Girl by Mary Kubica, or all those other books that came out and had girl in the title. This book also fills the bill.
This book centers around two murders. One happened 20 years ago and involves the main character, Rob Ryan. The other happened in the same town and revolves around a 12 year old girl. They are compelling and I wasn’t quite sure who did it until more than half way through and even then I didn’t know why. Warning : Do not read this if you like endings that are tied up with a pretty bow. I enjoyed it enough, but I’m not sure I’ll continue the series. However, one thing I like about the series is that each subsequent book follows a different main character. Which doesn’t really make it a typical series. All books could technically stand alone. Interesting.
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book from a genre you don’t normally read
Oh my friends. I swear they pick books just to hear my reaction. Neil Gaiman is not in my wheelhouse and neither is mythology. I know nothing about mythology, be it Norse or Greek. But my friends chose American Gods and so American Gods I read. The chapters in this book titled Coming to America are all about Gods from mythology (I think) who come to America and the implication is that you know who Gaiman is talking about. I do not. So I think some of that went over my head. I wasn’t in love with the story and I’m not super into mythical things. However, it was original and interesting and I finished. Shadow is a great character and so is Wednesday. I loved them both.
“It is the story of Shadow—released from prison just days after his wife and best friend are killed in an accident—who gets recruited to be bodyguard, driver, and errand boy for the enigmatic trickster, Mr. Wednesday. So begins Shadow’s dark and strange road trip, one that introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. For, beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and Shadow is standing squarely in its path.”
I will definitely be watching the show – – or at least as many episodes as I’m interested in – – to see how it shakes out. If you’re interested in reading it, it’s a great audiobook with a full cast of character voices. Highly recommended on that front.
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book based on mythology
I am almost almost almost done with the book.
“On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery… Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel – in its form and voice – completely unlike anything you have read before.”
This book took me awhile. Over a month. I finished it for a discussion with friends, otherwise I would’ve abandoned long ago. There were parts at the end that I highlighted and will enjoy discussing with them. But overall, it’s not for me and I wasn’t in love with it like they were.
I first checked it out on audiobook. It is written almost like a play with many many characters. The audio book boasts a cast of 166 narrators, which is something I had to experience for myself. I liked the way the audio presented the story much more than I liked reading the book.
I changed my rating from a 2 to a 3 solely based on the distinctive writing style, I’ve never seen it in anything else. Having read a bit about George Saunders this isn’t surprising. It’s his first novel. Ever. So he obviously had to start with a bang!
Interview with George Saunders in Kirkus
Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : a book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection (technically not a play but it is def written like one – so I’m counting it)
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book from a nonhuman perspective (ghost)