I grabbed this book because it was short and would easily fit in my carry on. I did not take it with me, I read it on my couch in about 1.5 hours. I was sick and only had enough attention span for 137 pages. I was worried I would fall asleep if I read something that needed me to focus. After finishing, I saw someone describe this book as beautiful and frustratingly sparse. I agree. It was so quick and lacked so much but didn’t seem that way at the same time. Read it so you can pretend you know what I’m talking about. Typical prose in an end of the world Great Britain.
Modern Mrs. Darcy 2018 Reading Challenge : a book you can read in a day
BookRiot 2018 Read Harder Challenge : a one-sitting book
You guys, I have been deathly ill. No, I did not have the flu. I had a head cold that required the assistance of steroids. STEROIDS! How do those two things even relate?
Somehow, I finished a book during this. I love Anna Quindlen (previous book review here) and when I saw her new book on Netgalley I scooped it up. Alternate Side is all about a dead end street in New York City and the families that live there. Specifically Nora and Charlie and their fraternal twins, Rachel and Oliver. I guess I was so excited to read this that I didn’t look at the summary when I requested it because I was shocked at the turning point on the block. Something bad happens and the ripples from that event change Nora, her home, her family, her job and her marriage. Basically everything. Through all of this though Nora and Quindlen are writing a love letter to New York City. After the event, and even before, Charlie wants to leave the city. Nora refuses. It is her city. She can’t fathom leaving and being herself somewhere else. This is what I loved most. I loved the characters and the story but because I love NYC so much I basically loved all the praise towards it. So beautifully written.
Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge : a book with characters who are twins
Modern Mrs. Darcy 2018 Reading Challenge : a book by a favorite author
BookRiot 2018 Read Harder Challenge : a book with a cover you hate – I do hate this cover. The whole location of the book revolves around Nora living on a dead end street in New York City. A lot of the plot surrounds this. And yet the cover, what I assume to be a street diagram, does not display a dead end street anywhere. It could be a road map to anything. I do not like it. One bit.
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