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
This is how it always is. It is amazing.
“This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl (side note : as far as I can remember he actually never says “I want to be a girl”).
Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.”
In the throes of this book, I texted everyone I know who has even a minor involvement with kids. Not just because of Poppy’s story, because everyone will not be a parent to a Poppy, but because of all the other characters as well. So we can all see how people should respond and act to people in general, not just trans people. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because I thought the trip to Thailand was a cop out. There are regular families who need a real outcome and picking up to fly across the globe where trans people are accepted is not one of them.
This would make an amazing book club book and encourages so much discussion. Side note, I did not like the audio book reader.
Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able
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 picked up The Heirs because I liked Susan Reiger’s previous book, The Divorce Papers. I loved the style of that book. It was written in divorce paperwork and emails along with notes and memorandums. It helped the book go by quickly and enjoyably because you’re not suffering through pages of explanation on something that’s not important. The Heirs is not like this. I liked this book better than her first one, which is uncommon for me. Usually I love an author’s first book and think the second one is lesser. This one though, amazing. Although it’s different than her first, I liked the style of The Heirs because I like multiple POVs and sometimes the POVs she chooses are characters you didn’t even think you were important. That person? Why are we in his head? And then a shoe drops. Oh.my.GOD. Perfect book with just the right amount of confusion. Loved! For those of you who think it might be a chick lit book, here are reviews from Kirkus and NPR. They do not star chick lit books. I promise. Great book club book. Quick summary below also.
“Six months after Rupert Falkes dies, leaving a grieving widow and five adult sons, an unknown woman sues his estate, claiming she had two sons by him. The Falkes brothers are pitched into turmoil, at once missing their father and feeling betrayed by him.”
Starred review from Kirkus
Review from NPR
It’s a first. I finished a book from Netgalley before its release date! Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan comes out tomorrow, May 9. I could do with a new J. Courtney Sullivan book every two years and so far I’ve gotten my wish. I read another of her books, Maine, in August of 2015 and before that her book Engagements in July of 2013. Quick summary…
“Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America… Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan—a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children… Estranged from her sister and cut off from the world, Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. Until, after decades of silence, a sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago. A graceful, supremely moving novel from one of our most beloved writers, Saints for All Occasions explores the fascinating, funny, and sometimes achingly sad ways a secret at the heart of one family both breaks them and binds them together.”
Saints has multiple points of view and character narratives like her other two that I’ve read and I enjoy this immensely. Multiple POVs for the win y’all. However, Saints also has a past story and a present story which I don’t think the others did. She put the past in seamlessly with the present and it helped accelerate the story and explain the characters more. I loved that it took place in Boston, specifically South Boston and Dorchester, which I’m very familiar with. She talked about Sully’s on Castle Island and Morrissey Boulevard. It makes my heart pitter patter when places I’m familiar with are mentioned in books. I loved the characters. I also love that Sullivan’s books aren’t typically tied up with a bow at the end but still feel satisfying.
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book set in two different time periods
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 : a book that is set within 100 miles of your location
I’ve been resisting this book since I put the galley on my Kindle in August of 2016 (thanks Netgalley!). Books with this amount of hype are never my go-to read. I let it play out while everyone talks about it so I can see if it’s really something I want to invest in. Most times it’s not and I hear everything I need to know through conversation with others. I resisted when Oprah made it her book club choice but could not resist again when it won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
So I read it. I heard it was gruesome, and parts of it were. But then a friend asked me if it was worse than A Little Life and I chuckled to myself. Y’all, nothing will ever be worse than A Little Life. Nothing.
The Underground Railroad follows Cora, a slave in Georgia on the Randall plantation, as she makes her way off the plantation and navigates her life after leaving. She escapes. She does. But what does she escape? Not slavery, that’s for sure. The book alludes to this depressing quality multiple times. She moves from one set of chains to another despite her relocation to the North. I enjoyed this new perspective on the slave narrative. Another friend was saying that most slave books end after they’ve escaped and that’s it. Everything is great once you’re off the plantation and in the North, right? Definitely not true, and I appreciate that this novel continues that story for us to see. I also appreciated that the mystic / surreal quality of the railroad was not overdone (in the book the underground railroad is a literal railroad underground). I was thinking to myself after finishing it that if you didn’t finish school or paid zero attention in history you might actually think this is how the underground railroad worked. It’s a book that should definitely be read but not necessarily one I would tell you to buy / borrow immediately.
Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with a red spine