Posted in book review, books

Review of Books Read in 2015

I read about 30 books this year. It’s not many, but I’m generally a slow reader. I’ve seen articles that share tips on how to become a faster reader, but I’m not interested in just getting through books. I want to enjoy them along the way. Some of the books were read before I began this blog and they won’t be reviewed other than very briefly here.

Three books I did not finish and have no intention of ever picking up again in the future: Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle by Katie Coyle, and After Birth by Elisa Albert.

Other than those three books, this was a pretty good reading year for me. Early in the year I read a fantastic book that I highly recommend and could not shut up about when I finished it: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Seriously, if you have not read this book, buy it or get it from your library. It’s so good. This is the best book I read this year. The runner up is Dietland by Sarai Walker. This book was amazing. The story was literally life changing. It is so fiercely empowering. I wish I had been able to read this book when I was a teenager. Buy this book, too. You must.

As I said, this has been a good reading year for me and there are more books that I highly recommend: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Enchanted Inc. and the other books in that series by Shanna Swendson, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle and The Girls from See Saw Lane by Sandy Taylor.

Other books I read were good reads, but not great. I recommend them, but not as highly as the ones in the previous two paragraphs: Worn Stories by Emily Spivack, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, Ana of California by Andi Teran, The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley, The Children’s Crusade by Ann Packer, Yes Please by Amy Poehler and  Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal.

 

Posted in book review, books

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

This has been a very excellent reading year for me and what might be the last book I finish this year, My Name is Lucy Barton, is another great one. I was interested in reading it initially because I’ve read good things about the author and she’s won awards. So, I requested this book on NetGalley. I’m so glad I did. Right from the beginning, you can tell this is the work of a skilled writer. It’s a beautifully written story about deep childhood poverty and how it shapes/scars a person and about relationships, particularly between a mother and daughter. I highly recommend this book.
The book isn’t released until January 12th, 2016, but I wanted to share my review now. For one, it’s only a couple of weeks away. And you can always pre-order the book (or request it from the library early to get at the top of the wait list) with gift cards you may have gotten for Christmas or end of the year birthdays or any other recent special occasion.
Posted in book review, books

The Girls from See Saw Lane by Sandy Taylor

I just finished The Girls from See Saw Lane and I loved it. It takes place in Brighton, England in the 1960s. When I first read the description, I thought of the tv show Call the Midwife. That show and the promise of a story of female friendship made this a very attractive book. I wasn’t let down. The writing and story were good (and unlike many books I’ve read lately, it only got stronger as the book went on). I laughed, I cried. This book really makes you feel for the characters and those characters are well developed. It was a very enjoyable read, but don’t be like me and assume this is a light, fluffy, beach read. It’s got beautiful depth and I liked the book from start to finish. I highly recommend it and right now it’s $.99 as an ebook on Amazon (though I’m guessing just for December 2015).  There is a sequel coming out in the spring of 2016 and I’ll be reading that book for sure.

(Thanks go to NetGalley and Bookouture for the review copy, which in no way influenced this review.)

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Did Not Finish

I just posted a book review of a book that I didn’t finish. When I first started this blog, I was going to force myself to finish every book. I thought maybe the book would get better or I could better analyze what exactly it was in the novel that made me dislike it so much. But life is too short and there are too many (possibly good) books out there to be read to waste time on books that are just not good.

I thought of just posting books I finish to this blog. Maybe people don’t want to read about books that I didn’t even finish. Is a review truly relevant if the book wasn’t read to the end? But I don’t post to this blog for other people. I’m not a career blogger, I have no intention of ever becoming one, and I make no money from this blog. This is just a fun hobby for me that I open up to anyone interested in seeing my bookish thoughts. So, I will keep posting reviews of books that I do not finish. Maybe you appreciate negative DNF reviews as much as the positive reviews of books completed.

Posted in book review, books, Uncategorized

Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee

I really wanted to like this book. It had such an interesting premise, I liked learning about India, and the first part of the book was good. Unfortunately, just as the book should have gotten even better, it just stagnated. The book is divided into parts. Part 2 was boring. Nothing happened for many pages. I still continued anyway, hoping the third section would be better. It was more interesting, in that stuff happened, but it was really unbelievable and just weird things that happen. I stopped caring what happened to anyone in the book or how it would all end. Though the book does make me want to read more contemporary literature about changes that have happened in India and within Indian society.

Posted in book review, books

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler is a good book. It’s basically a humorous memoir. I enjoyed reading about her life. She doesn’t give scandalous tell-all details about her previous relationships, including her divorce, and I’m glad. She jumps around in the book, but I think that only helped it. I also enjoyed the jokes, but I tend to be more of a memoir person than a humor book one, so it being a good memoir stands out to me. I haven’t read many humor memoirs, but this book makes me want to change that and led to me adding Mindy Kaling’s memoirs to my to be read list. I recommend getting the paper copy of this book. It has glossy pages with many photos, which was a nice bonus.

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Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

I was wondering around the new fiction section of my local library when I came across Balm. I picked up the book and without hesitation put in my my basket to check out. It’s a book that takes place immediately following the Civil War and I was intrigued by the promise of supernatural elements in the story. And I was pleased to see that author was a woman of color because I’m trying to have a more diverse reading list. But this book was just a big disappointment. I couldn’t force myself to finish it, though I tried. The book started out well and I was interested in the main characters. By the half-way point, which is where I stopped reading, the characters became flat and I didn’t care what happened to them. The story that had started out interesting took turns that made it feel lifeless and the words used often seemed to just be filler rather than moving the story along.

Posted in book review, books, The Truth According to Us

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

This is a good book. I was grabbed right from the beginning. It reminded me both of the tv show Gilmore Girls and Fannie Flagg books. As the book progressed I got less of a Gilmore Girls vibe, but the Fannie Flagg one stuck. While I haven’t read a Fannie Flagg book in several years, I do enjoy her books. So, that’s a compliment. The only real downside to the book is that it was about 100 pages too long. I thought the book was still good and the story still strong, but it dragged a little in the second half. The Truth According to Us is by the same author who co-wrote The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society. I recommend both books and if Annie Barrows writes more adult fiction (she also writes a children’s series), then I’ll be sure to check it out.