Welcome to the Selection! Let me tell you about all the ridiculous enjoyment I received from reading these books. After reading A Little Life, the most depressing book ever written, I knew I needed something fluffy. You can’t get any more fluffy than this series. It is a marriage of the Bachelor and the Hunger Games.
The first 3 books are about America Singer, a girl in a future America called Illéa. The prince of the country is coming of age and in order to find a wife he participates in a selection process where 35 girls are sent to the castle for him to choose from (hello, Bachelor!). The citizens of Illéa are broken into castes and there’s some unrest (hello, Hunger Games!). While it’s hard to explain books 4 & 5 without giving any major plot points away let me say that they are the same concept but reversed, a princess is participating in the selection.
I liked these books a lot. They were quick and painless. I love the covers and all the talk about dresses. The fashion in them is awesome. While I completely forgot how angsty teen books can be I powered through and I’m glad I did.
2016 Reading Challenge: a romance set in the future
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
This book. THIS BOOK. When you read this book, you need a sponsor. Do not attempt to read this book alone without anyone to text or call when things get bad. Because they WILL get bad. Imagine how bad you think they can get and times that by 100. When I was halfway through the book and thought it couldn’t get any worse I read this sentence.
“Later, when things got bad, I would wonder what I could have said or done.”
Oh my God. When things got bad? WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN? THINGS ARE ALREADY BAD!
It is a horrible horrible book that you can’t stop reading. Having said that, the writing is wonderful. It is 800+ pages (paperback version) and you must read every.single.word on every.single.page. Yanagihara flips back and forth in time in the middle of what seems like nothing and if you aren’t paying attention you could miss something major. Someone dies, freaking dies, in the middle of a paragraph. No warning, nothing.
It is psychotic and compelling. I had literal hives and heart palpitations through about 500 pages. I would never suggest someone else read it unless I know them. Since I don’t know you, I can’t suggest you read it. But if you do, you won’t be able to put it down or forget it.
Disclaimer: there are triggers of every kind. Drugs, cutting, suicide, sexual abuse. If you have any problems reading about these things, do not read this book.
2016 Reading Challenge: a book that’s more than 600 pages
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
I had visitors here from Texas this weekend and we had a great time going in to the city and walking the Freedom Trail! It was very timely considering I just finished listening to John Adams by David McCullough. I had started listening to 1776 because I was misinformed. I thought 1776 was the book that John Adams the HBO series was based on. Turns out it was based on John Adams. Shocking, since they have the same name. *slaps head* This one is wonderful and won the Pulitzer in 2002.
Anyway, I loved walking around Boston seeing lots of the buildings and places that were talked about during the time John Adams lived. I also genuinely loved the audio narrator, Edward Herrmann (grandfather of Rory Gilmore, may he rest in peace). I will admit, I listened to the abridged version. I’m a bad person and wanted to sum it up in 9 DISCS instead of 26. Oy.
I am now going to listen to the biography of Abigail Adams by Woody Holton OR a biography of both of them such as First Family by Joseph J. Ellis or Abigail and John by Edith B. Gelles. Suggestions on which is best? It may just come down to getting whichever is available at my library..
2016 Reading Challenge: a New York Times bestseller
Now that you’ve seen the trailer of the movie, let’s talk about the book. When Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children first came out I looked at the pictures inside and thought, this is a scary book. I don’t do scary books. I am easily frightened and consider movies like Shutter Island and Seven to be terrifying, much to the chagrin of my spouse. Thankfully, this is not a scary book and once I saw the Tim Burton trailer I knew I would want to see the movie and should read the book beforehand. I read it in a week, which isn’t bad.
Jacob’s grandfather has died. He thinks it was a monster in the woods. Obviously his family then thinks he’s crazy. But all Jacob’s life his grandfather told him fantastical stories about monsters and peculiar children from his childhood so it could be true. He’s not sure. Until he deciphers his grandfather’s last words and takes a trip to a mysterious island.
I liked the mystery surrounding the place where these peculiar children live. It was explained well considering the craziness. If you don’t think it’s crazy, try to explain it to someone who hasn’t read it. I’m interested to see how they explain it in the movies since there won’t be words on a page to help form the idea. All in all a good book. I probably won’t continue the series until I see the movie and the next one is released. Too much to read.
2016 Reading Challenge: a book that’s becoming a movie this year
This book is all over the place: at bookstores, at libraries, on hold lists. It has a hold list of a whopping 380 people at my library. Insanity! I finished reading it in two nights, which is also insanity. It might sound like I was in love with it since it was such a quick read but I’m not. I only gave it 3 stars. This book is being marketed as a Gone Girl (<- my thoughts about Gillian Flynn) and Girl on the Train read-alike. I was not in love with those novels. I read them, yes, but I only read them so I would know what they were about and could suggest them to patrons. I often read books I don’t really care about so I can use them when I’m doing reader’s advisory. Sometimes they’re enthralling, like these 3 books about seriously disturbed women. But do I like them? No. I don’t find much interest in psychologically damaged women and how they manipulate people but it is definitely interesting and apparently people DO find interest in that because these 3 books are crazy bestsellers. I’m happy I read it, but I would only recommend it to people I know were in love with Gone Girl or Girl on the Train. If that’s YOU, go ahead and add yourself to the 380 other people who have it on hold at my library.
2016 Reading Challenge: a book published in 2016