Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Half of a Yellow Sun ~ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When I was in middle school, my best friend was a girl named Vanessa, whose parents were from Nigeria.  All I know about their decision to emigrate was that one day they'd woken up to hear on the radio that they had a new president (SCARY) and decided to get out of there.  One summer, Vanessa went to Nigeria for a few weeks.  I was pretty impressed and her mom told me that one day they'd take me to Nigeria too.  Unfortunately, in high school Vanessa and I made new friends and that never happened, but a vague interest in Nigeria has continued in me.  Therefore, when I recently heard of Chimamanda Adichie and her general awesomeness, I was more than a little intrigued and eager to get my hands on her work.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage ~ Alice Munro

I first picked up Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage in 2010, shortly after reading The Beggar Maid, a collection of interconnected stories about a daughter and her stepmother by Munro, which I really loved.  I read about half of this collection and then just...stopped.  I have another collection by Munro, but I figured I should finish this one before moving on to another, and decided to star over at the beginning, because I remembered almost nothing of what I'd already read.  And it was good, but to be honest, I understand why I stopped reading it last time.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Patron Saint of Liars ~ Ann Patchett

I finished The Patron Saint of Liars nearly two months ago, so this review will be rather short and less in-depth than usual.  I read this book because it's Ann's Patchett's first novel and I loved Bel Canto so much that I decided that I wanted to read her entire backlist and should start at the beginning.  While Patron Saint does not quite have the lyrical magnificence of Bel Canto, it's a lovely novel and hints at just how wonderful Patchett's writing will become.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Something Rotten ~ Jasper Fforde

My reviews of the first three books in the Thursday Next series:
The Eyre Affair
Lost in a Good Book
The Well of Lost Plots


I love reading literature, a term that is difficult to define, but which I am using here to mean serious fiction - fiction that is heavy and makes you think and isn't easy.  Happiness is elusive or complicated, endings uncomfortably resemble reality, and it can be a bit depressing.  Yes, I love this, because it makes me feel real, complex emotions and often to think about life in a new way.  But every so often I need a break.  Enter Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde's literary heroine (literally).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Remains of the Day ~ Kazuo Ishiguro

I was super-excited to read Remains of the Day because Never Let Me Go was so subtle and amazing and heart-wrenching.  And Remains of the Day is similar in some ways - the story kind of sneaks up on you despite the apparently pointless ramblings and reminiscences of the narrator and in the end, you are surprised by its depth and power.  I didn't love this one as much and I loved Never Let Me Go, but in the end, I am just as astonished.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

OMG GUYS

So apparently there's this book:

Let's Pretend This Never Happened ~ Jenny Lawson

I got Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson AKA the Bloggess's memoir when it first came out in 2012 - my husband had preordered it for me the previous Christmas so it was delivered upon release and I was SO EXCITED for it because, in case you don't know, the Bloggess is hilarious.    And - I was disappointed.  I only got a little ways in, but there was just too much "haha look how hilarious I am" going on for my taste.  People pointing out their own hilarity (as opposed, say, to the hilarity of a situation) is not my thing.  So I stopped reading it and shelved it and that was that.  Until two weeks ago, when I RSVPed for a book club Meetup here in Austin and that was the chosen book. I figured that since I already had it and I still like the Bloggess and really want to meet some people down here, I should give it another shot.  And I have to admit, I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Visit from the Goon Squad ~ Jennifer Egan

I'm going to preface this review by saying that I never had much interest in this book.  The summary on the back of the book, with claims of "music pulsing on every page," just had me kind of meh about it.  That might have been cool when I was in high school, but it's no longer a draw for me.  However, SO MANY people recommended this book, from fellow bloggers to my friend's dad to the Pulitzer Prize committee that it was definitely on my radar.  I found a copy super-cheap at a library book sale, so I gave it a shot.  And after all that ruckus I have to say, I am still very meh about this book.  At least I'm true to myself?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook ~ Matthew Quick

I saw The Silver Linings Playbook in theaters without any idea that it was based on a book.  It seemed fun and quirky and starred Jennifer Lawrence, which is always a plus.  Alas, I was disappointed.  The first half was promising but the second half just fell flat.  It seemed to have forgotten what the first half was about and the ending was totally unbelievable.  The turning point was the fight at the football game - from then on, the movie was just a mess and I still don't understand how it won all of those awards.  Needless to say, when I found out that the movie was based on a book, I was a bit wary.  Sure, film adaptations are notoriously underwhelming, but usually I go book to movie, not the reverse.  At best, I feared the book would be tainted by the movie; at worst, I feared that the movie was accurate.  Happily, I was wrong on both counts.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Dance with Dragons ~ George R.R. Martin

For my other reviews of the books in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, see the following links:
Game of Thrones
I'm not sure how it happened but over the last few months, my husband and I have become the biggest Game of Thrones nerds.  I started reading the series about a year ago, by which point he'd already read through the whole thing, but something about seeing the new episodes as they aired this year and my having to wait to read the last two books due to grad school and just the general Game of Thrones mania that surrounds us at every turn sparked a huge, dorky obsession in both of us.  If you're not sure what this means, we are currently making plans to frame and hang some of the maps from the collection that GRRM released.  Yeah.  It's that bad awesome.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Intimidating Books

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
It's been a while since I've participated in Top Ten Tuesday, partially because I can't come up with lists for the topics and partially because I forget about it.  Usually it's the latter.  But today I remembered AND I have a list for this week's topic: books that I find the most intimidating.  Because let's be honest - some books are crazy intimidating and, as a result, we never actually read them.  Or maybe that's just me.  Although, a lot of the books that I find intimidating are on my Classics Challenge list, so hopefully I'll change that eventually.  Without further ado, my list!