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
I loved Emma Donoghue’s book, Room. It also turned into a great movie, Brie Larson even won best actress. Donoghue did such a great job writing as a young child in Room that when I heard she was writing a juvenile novel it seemed like a great idea. I was on board.
Unfortunately, I just finished it and I think she tried to cram too many things into one book. I don’t like when novels put in a secondary LGBT character or a diverse character as if they’re trying to cross off some list of what their book needs in order to sell. It felt to me like this is what Donoghue was trying to do. She had : four gay parents, a child who was a girl but wanted to be called a boy (yet she used the girl pronoun throughout the whole book), a child who had shaken baby syndrome (?), a grandfather with dementia.. and the list goes on. I also thought some of the language was confusing. She made up her own words for this particular family. For example, one kid hears someone say excellent and thinks they said egg salad. So for the rest of the book egg salad is used in replacement for excellent. Or they have a spare room upstairs, but they call it spare oom. Why? There are a lot of characters as well. Toooo much. Too many. I didn’t care for it as a whole but was at least interested enough to finish.
So, I read Big Little Lies back when it first came out. I liked it a lot. I was still on The Hussband’s Secret train and the climax really threw me. However, I didn’t feel any need to watch the HBO series that just came out based on the book. Trailer below. Should I watch it? Did any of you watch it? I’m actually not even sure I have HBO…
I received Rich People Problems via Netgalley on digital arc. I love these books so much I believe I danced around the room when my copy request was accepted. It is the third (I hope not final) book in the Crazy Rich Asians series which started with book one, Crazy Rich Asians. This book followed Nick and Rachel on their way to the altar. Rachel had no idea her boyfriend Nick was one of the richest men in Asia. When she goes to meet his family she realizes she is in for a whole new world and it is not a world that wants her involved. Book two, China Rich Girlfriend, was not my favorite. Nick and Rachel were no longer the main characters, and we heard a lot from Kitty Pong. Kitty is more of a main character in this third book as well, and although I hate her less, she’s still not my favorite. Nick and Rachel are rarely present, so if you love them be aware. Astrid has more of a play, like she did in book two. Because of the multiple POVs, which I always love in books, I can’t say there really is a main character unless you count Su Li. I don’t want to tell you much of what happens because the central plot is based around a spoiler.
I loved the conclusion and hope to see these wonderful characters again. It did wrap up nicely, but I felt that way about the others as well, so hopefully the stories will continue.
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book that’s been on your TBR list for way too long
I just finished The Woman on the Stairs, written by the author of The Reader. You know, that awesome movie with Kate Winslet? Where she won Best Actress? Yes, that one. Side note, I love how Brad did not stand up at first. Anyway, I read The Reader and remember loving it, but then I went to explain it to my husband and was very fuzzy on the details. So if you haven’t read that, go read it.
My love for The Reader is exclusively why I picked up this book. I would love to say it did not disappoint, but I can’t. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I did! It’s just that it did not have the kind of twist I remember The Reader having and loving. Schlink writes very matter-of-fact and without descriptive language. So there needs to be a twist. I would compare his writing to that of Kent Haruf. Haruf doesn’t typically have a twist either. I’m not sure if the writing feels this way because it’s a translation from German or it that’s just how it is. Overall I liked it, but I felt it needed more of a climax.
Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : a book in translation
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book by an author from a country you’ve never visited
“On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery… Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel – in its form and voice – completely unlike anything you have read before.”
This book took me awhile. Over a month. I finished it for a discussion with friends, otherwise I would’ve abandoned long ago. There were parts at the end that I highlighted and will enjoy discussing with them. But overall, it’s not for me and I wasn’t in love with it like they were.
I first checked it out on audiobook. It is written almost like a play with many many characters. The audio book boasts a cast of 166 narrators, which is something I had to experience for myself. I liked the way the audio presented the story much more than I liked reading the book.
I changed my rating from a 2 to a 3 solely based on the distinctive writing style, I’ve never seen it in anything else. Having read a bit about George Saunders this isn’t surprising. It’s his first novel. Ever. So he obviously had to start with a bang!
Interview with George Saunders in Kirkus
Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : a book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection (technically not a play but it is def written like one – so I’m counting it)
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book from a nonhuman perspective (ghost)
I don’t read science fiction or fantasy very much. I know there are people out there who will be upset that I even put those two genres together. Name of the Wind is shelved in the sci fi fantasy section at Barnes and Noble. I know, because that’s where I bought it and that’s where I first saw it when the second book came out and I was working at a B&N. This is specifically a fantasy. From my limited knowledge, there is nothing sci fi about it. I’ve loved the covers since I first saw them 5+ years ago but never picked them up because the genre is not my thing.
But then I did pick it up. And it was very good! I was surprised I stuck with it. I bought the mass market paperback and it’s a whopping 722 pages. Which isn’t saying much because I’ve also purchased the second one and it’s 1107 pages. Whether I’ll actually read the second one is another thing entirely. But I did read the first one. Let me talk about it before I get distracted again.
It’s a story within a story. Which I love. It’s kind of like having multiple POVs. Kvothe, the main character, is telling his life story in the present (technically the past but the present of the book anyway). We as the reader go back in time to follow that story while also being pulled to the present for occasional commentary. The premise of the story is that Kvothe, a trouper, is a newly made orphan whose only desire is to go to University. He eventually gets there after a crazy amount of trials and tribulations that sometimes go longer than they’re good for. At it’s heart the book is a hero story and a love story. There’s a climactic event at the conclusion of the book in both the past and the present. I didn’t love the present ending but I’m going to at least start book two. I’ll probably get pulled away, series are hard to complete for me these days. I’m also a bit worried because book three isn’t out yet, not even rumors.
Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge 2017 : a book that’s more than 600 pages
Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 : a book that is a story within a story
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 : read a fantasy novel