I went through my messages. These are the books I had in November and December. You can probably guess on whether or not I read them since I couldn’t remember what any of them were. I’m not a very good participant. Too many books, too little time! #librarianproblems
Shrill by Lindy West. I had no idea who Lindy West was before I got this book but I do now. From her own website she is described as, “an American writer, feminist, fat acceptance movement activist, and film criticism editor.” She works at The Stranger with Dan Savage. It would seem that I’ve never written about my love for Mr. Savage on this blog but I do. I love him. So that made me interested. I read the chapter she wrote about him and some others but did not read the whole thing.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This book. I swear it haunts me. Annie Barrows writes the Ivy & Bean books. I love those books. They are adorable. But I don’t want an adorable adult novel. I can’t in good conscience read this book without cringing. Maybe someday someone will convince me. But it wasn’t this time.
I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson. I started this and quit. I have no other excuse.
I’m going to have to go back and look at what Nov-Dec was. Whoops. Let me tell you about the ones I currently have at my house before I forget them too. Specifics on the inner workings of the traveling book club are here.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. You may know him as the author of the Kite Runner, which became a movie. I have not read it or seen the movie. My best friend has been raving about this book for years. I never wanted to read it. It’s not my thing. But now that she’s part of the book club and this is the one she chose I felt obligated. I just finished and will review it soon. Spoiler: I will not be raving about it for years.
Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. Also a movie. Not only that, I feel like it might be the first real blockbuster that featured Jennifer Lawrence. This sounds like a True Grit kind of book and I can’t say whether or not I’ll pick it up. It did win the Audie Award in 2011 so I may try it on audiobook.
Love Does by Bob Goff. A lot of the women in this group had already read this book. Apparently I missed the boat because I’d never heard of it. I think this will be a pick and choose chapters kind of book. But I will open it.
I received Victoria through Netgalley. If you don’t belong to that website you should go there now and sign up. I requested it because I read and really liked The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin. Her books covers are absolutely gorgeous, no? I saw the real book at B&N the other day and there’s a little blurb under the author’s name that says “Author of the New York Times bestseller The American Heiress and creator / writer of the Masterpiece presentation on PBS.” I thought they were referring to The American Heiress being a Masterpiece presentation but after a bit of Googling it would seem that Victoria is actually the one being put on PBS so I’m glad I finished and enjoyed it! It’s unfortunate that the timeslot is on Sundays when football is also on. I will probably have to watch it after the fact.
So, the book. Victoria is made queen almost immediately. Perhaps on page 30. The rest of the book is about her trying to make her way through all the pomp and circumstance that being a queen requires. This is a time when only men are in the court, in places of power and definitely only men have ruled the country. She is an anomaly. She enlists the help of the, at the time, Prime Minister Lord Melbourne. What follows is how her years as queen play out. There’s also a lot of her blossoming love with Albert. Most everything I knew about Victoria going into this was about her and Albert’s love. I heard a fact once that after he died she laid out a new set of his clothes every night before she went to bed. As if he would wake up the next day and put them on and everything would be fine. She also wore black for the entirety of her life after his death. Amazing.
For the last few years, I can’t remember how many, NPR has done this virtual concierge of their best book suggestions for the year. I like it, but I’m a list person so some part of me misses the basic list. See for yourself and you can how you feel. Please note, there are way more in this concierge thing than on a regular best of 2016 list because of the algorithm they have to choose different topics. 309 books!
I looked at them all. Because, why not? I have read, 11 of them. To completion! I have tried to read, or almost finished as I like to call it in Goodreads, 13 of them. That’s 8% – rounding up. Haha. Let’s include one more layer. There are 24 of them I have checked out and brought to my house but never opened, or only read the first few pages. That puts me up to 15% so I feel a bit better. Anything above 10% and I’m golden. Who can really compete with NPR?
So until I get this job thing under control my posts will be rather sporadic. I have been reading though so let me tell you about that. I have this awesome book club I’m participating in. Three book clubs actually. I’m part of a group on Facebook called Sorta Literary (<– feel free to join yourself!). They had the idea for a traveling book group. Let me tell you the particulars. You get 6 people together. Each person picks a book. Each person is partnered with another person in the group. Not the same person. For example: Person 1 mails to Person 2. Person 2 mails to Person 3. Person 3 mails to Person 4 and so on and so forth… until every person gets a new book. Wait two months. Read your book for those two months! The book is also accompanied by a notebook that everyone can write their thoughts in. Then on September 1, you mail again. To the same person as before. Read and repeat every two months. So every two months you’re getting a new book. It’s a circle of book mail! Since there are 6 people it will take a year to get everyone’s book and you will have 6 new amazing books to read that you may not have chosen on your own or even realized were out there. Great idea right?? I thought it was so great I presented it to all of my own Facebook friends and got enough interest to start TWO MORE traveling book groups. So basically, I’ll be reading these books for the next two months. I’m knee deep into Modern Lovers and will move on to The Girls afterwards. Both of these books are super new and I feel privileged not to have to wait for them on my library’s hold list. I have absolutely no desire to read Cleopatra, although I gave it to my best friend for Christmas one year because she believes she was an Egyptian princess in another life. Don’t we all.
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub, who is the author of The Vacationers (<- my review) which I loved!
The Girls by Emma Cline, she picked a good time to publish this since one of the women in the Manson family scandal recently applied, and was accepted, for parole
Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
Let me tell you about this adorable book, Maddie on Things. The dog’s name is Maddie. And she stands on things. That’s it. It’s a book of photographs of this adorable dog that stands on the most ridiculous things. I heard about it on a blog I read, Iowa Girl Eats. Which is an amazing food blog btw. Her son, who is 3(?) looks at the pictures and cracks up. It would be the best book for kids. Such a great conversation starter.Questions you could ask include…
What is Maddie standing on? Could you do that? (probably not the best question for dangerous photos, because there are some)
Is that silly? Why do you think she did that?
Is she hungry?
Is she a farmer? What kind of animals live on a farm?
IT IS THE CUTEST! Check it out asap. My favorite photo is below. I may or may not have previously stuck my dog in the fridge just like this..
2016 Reading Challenge: a book about a road trip
I really liked this book. I had no idea who this woman was. I don’t watch Top Chef and I’m not in on the model world. I randomly heard her talking (I think on The View of all things) about how she was married to Salman Rushdie and I was like, SALMAN RUSHDIE? THE SALMAN RUSHDIE? How can that be? Who the heck are YOU? So I put the book on hold. And surprise, it’s actually very well written. I was hooked immediately, mainly because she starts talking about her marriage to Salman on page one (good strategy Padma).
I also enjoyed, which seems like a weird word to describe it, her talk about endometriosis. My mom has endometriosis and not a lot of women know they do or talk about it so I was fascinated to read about her story and how it effected her life. (She also talks about it on The View here).
It was a great read, I salute you.
2016 Reading Challenge: an autobiography