Category Archives: fiction

Read your Shelves May 2017

I belong to this wonderful Facebook group called, The Book Club. It used to be called something else that I can’t even remember now because it wasn’t very catchy. It has been recently closed to new members so I won’t post the link but it’s a great group. I feel like we’re all very similar and could be friends in real life because inevitably books that they post about are either books I’m also reading, just heard about, or want to read. Since we talk about books almost exclusively, there’s often a repeated refrain. It goes like this, “Oh, I have that book. Never read it.” Many of us in that Facebook group have this problem. There’s a word for this. Tsundoku. No really. Read that article.

“The desire to buy more books than you can physically read in one human lifetime is actually so universal, there’s a specific word for it: tsundoku. Defined as the stockpiling of books that will never be consumed, the term is a Japanese portmanteau of sorts, combining the words “tsunde” (meaning “to stack things”), “oku” (meaning “to leave for a while”) and “doku” (meaning “to read”).”

I have so much tsundoku I don’t even know what to do with myself. Also, is it a verb? A noun? Anyway.. for the month of May people from this group are participating in Read Your Shelves to encourage us to all read books we already own that we ignore. So, for the month of May everyone stops buying books. Stops checking out library books. Only reads books on their shelves. Or at least to the extent that they can handle this directive. I returned all of my library books. Sort of. I still have a few. But I suspended all my holds. Except a few.. ok so I’m 3/4 of the way doing this. But I’m doing good! I’m reading so many things and although I have only finished one I wanted to share what I’m reading with you so I can continue in my excitement and soldier on with #RYSMay2017

Saints for All Ocassions by J. Courtney Sullivan is the one I just finished. It’s a Kindle book that I’ve had on there for a month or so and was only going to eventually read after months of hearing people tell me how good it was. I ask you, what is the point of getting early copies of books if I don’t read them before their release date?

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie. I have never read Rushdie. I think I secretly hate him because I read his ex-wife’s book, Love, Loss & What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi and she portrays him as a horrible person. But that horrible person won the Booker Prize sooo.. what can you do. Side note : I thought he won a Pulitzer until I checked just now. Anyway, this new book of his comes out in September 2017. It’s weird and I may not finish. Truth.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I have had this book for at least a decade. The previous two books are on my Kindle and as I read along with that wonderful tablet I find it that it’s easier to read in bed on my Kindle than it is to read actual books. This makes me sad. Before I got my Kindle I would’ve said real books were far superior. But nothing can compare to a tiny item that does not need it’s pages turned or the fact that I can read in the dark when my tired hubby wants to sleep and I do not. Therefore, I’m stalling a little on this one because I find it harder to read in bed, which is sometimes where I do my best reading. I’m liking it so much though so I will definitely finish despite this barrier.

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. I had this book before #RYSMay2017 started. It is a library book. But I couldn’t bear to return it because I need to read it. I’ve been avoiding it because I don’t feel like I need a cry just now and I’ve that’s exactly what it does. I adore Sheryl Sandberg. She is so inspiring. I read Lean In 3 years ago and adored it so much. I bought a copy recently because I realized I didn’t own it and it is worth owning. I will be picking up Option B soon soon soon.

 

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Saints for All Occassions

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

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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 bestseller in a genre you don’t normally read and a book based on mythology

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American Gods on Starz

I am almost almost almost done with the book.

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Amina’s Voice

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Amina’s Voice has been reviewed on almost all of the blogs I read. Therefore, I had to read it. I’m glad I did. I liked this book a lot. It was very quick and realistic.

Amina is in middle school and feeling left out when her friend decides she wants to change her name. Her friend has a traditional Chinese name but now that she’s becoming an American citizen she wants to be more “American”. Amina starts to feel self conscious about her name and their friendship when a popular girl is brought in to their two-some. There is a portion at the end of the book surrounded by damage to Amina’s family mosque. I would’ve found this too current events centered had the author not built up the characters so well that it was weaved into the story without banging you over the head. I liked this book and will hand it out in the future.

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with a title that’s a character’s name

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Top 10 Challenged Books 2016

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Underground Railroad

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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

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