Category Archives: 2017

A Man Called Ove

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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

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Filed under fiction, book review, audiobooks, movies, book club, summer reading, 3+, Reading Challenge, 2017

This Is How It Always Is

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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

 

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Filed under 2017, adult, book club, book review, fiction, Reading Challenge, summer reading

A House Among the Trees

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I’ve never read a Julia Glass book. I know she’s very popular and her characters from Three Junes (a National Book Award winner in 2002) continue in some of her other books. A House Among the Trees does not contain any of those characters. It’s a stand alone.

When the revered children’s author Mort Lear dies accidentally at the Connecticut home he shares with Tomasina Daulair, his trusted assistant, she is stunned to be left the house and all its contents, as well as being named his literary executor. Though not quite his daughter or his wife, Tommy was nearly everything to the increasingly reclusive Lear, whom she knew for over forty years since meeting him as a child in a city playground where Lear was making sketches for Colorquake, a book that would become an instant classic.

I don’t know why I picked this up or for that matter why I kept going. I can’t say it was good or bad, it was just a book. Nothing super shocking. Just a slow rolling book with multiple POVs. Easily skipped.

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : an audiobook

 

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Filed under 2017, adult, audiobooks, book review, fiction, Reading Challenge, summer reading, Uncategorized

Homegoing

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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

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Filed under 2017, adult, audiobooks, book club, book review, fiction, Reading Challenge, short stories, summer reading, traveling book club

My Life in France

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I enjoyed this book so much. Julia Child is a gem. I think she over estimates the amount of knowledge a normal at home cook has, but this book made me want to buy her cookbook. I loved the way she talked about food, her travels & her training at culinary school. She has a such a way with language. Because of this I also found it most interesting that most of the book was relayed through her grand nephew? Or something like that. Julia would tell him stories and then he would write them down via her notes / memory. Even more fascinating! It made me want to go watch Julia & Julia.

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 : read a travel memoir

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book about food

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Filed under 2017, adult, book review, non-fiction, Reading Challenge, summer reading

Real Friends by Shannon Hale

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I’m not super “in” when it comes to graphic novels. I do try, but there’s so many that are 50 book series’ that I get bogged down and only like the ones that are standalone. I recently read the first Lumberjanes and it was hilarious. Not super surprising since the author also wrote Nimona and I liked that as well (although my review says otherwise..)

Anyway, Real Friends was quick and stands by itself. It’s a memoir of Shannon Hale’s experience in fourth and fifth grade and what it was like to try and make friends. Real friends. Not those catty girls who don’t really want to play with you but let you sit with them at lunch or are only nice to you because their mom is friends with your mom. I cringed reading some of the things that were said or done to poor Shannon but in hindsight those things were probably also done to me. Growing up is hard y’all.

I liked that at the end Shannon made a decision that a book that was trying to send a positive message might not have made. Shannon told a girl she couldn’t be in her group of friends because she was mean and made her feel bad about herself. In any other book Shannon would go home and have a heart to heart with her mom about how you have to be nice to everyone and she should let the mean girl in her group. But Shannon didn’t talk to her mom and she didn’t go back and change her mind. Everything was not fine with that girl and they did not become life long friends. And I liked that. Because not everyone will be your friend and you don’t have to be friends with everyone, especially if they’re mean to you. That is a positive message too.

Now that I said the thing I like I’m quick going to say the thing I didn’t like. Here it is. Shannon Hale throws Jesus in there at the WEIRDEST times. It makes no sense. Yes, she mentions going to church. But all of a sudden Jesus is sitting with her in a bush as her only friend. It was unnecessary and awkward.

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book with pictures

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Filed under 2017, book review, children, graphic novel, non-fiction, Reading Challenge

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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Filed under 2017, adult, book club, book review, ebooks, fiction, Reading Challenge