Tuesday, August 8, 2017

One True Loves...Again

One True LovesOne True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This summer I've given myself permission to reread books that I've loved and read before. I know that making that choice means I forego another book, but I love this story so much that I'm so happy to have spent more time hanging out with Emma Blair. This is still a favorite of mine. Can't help it. Great last book of summer.

Happy reading--

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Exit West

Exit WestExit West by Mohsin Hamid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Exit West is a completely fascinating read - one that will linger in my mind and feel so relevant as I read sad stories about immigration and countries that seem far away falling apart in bloody civil wars. What Hamid does though is help those far away places and the people who call those places home feel as though they could be you. What a gift--

So why 3 stars (I'd probably do 3.5 if Goodreads allowed half stars) then? I wanted more. Hamid uses language sparingly and reminded me almost of Hemingway in his directness. All through the book, I craved the more lush descriptions of writers like Khaled Hosseini or Tim O'Brien when setting up the conflicts or the characters. And while I was totally willing to suspend reality and travel through the doors, the character development left me a little unfulfilled.

That is not to say that I wouldn't recommend this book. Its conflicts mirror today's society in frightening accuracy and challenge assumptions that all of us make. This book explores what it means to be human, and I always like to be reminded of that.

Happy reading-

ps. Unique reading choice because it was entirely informed by Anne Bogel's "What Should I Read Next" podcast and critics praise. Not my usual way to choose books....

Anne of Windy Poplars

Anne of Windy Poplars (Anne of Green Gables, #4)Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anyone who knows me knows that Anne is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters and the idea of creating a story built around letters is so fun...but this Anne book just was missing some of the wonder that the others hold for me. I think Gilbert should have gotten to include letters back as he is toiling away in medical school. It would have been fun too to have Marilla write Anne about the twins and goings-on at home. It was too one-sided and some of the side characters were borderline ridiculous.

I still love Anne, and I'm so glad to have finally found my way to this book, but overall not my favorite of the bunch.

Happy reading~

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Hypnotist's Love Story

The Hypnotist's Love StoryThe Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this up because I just love Liane Moriarty, and I can't seem to help myself. This book really has the strangest premise, but I will apparently fall into a Moriarty rabbit hole whenever the opportunity presents itself. "What Alice Forgot" and "Big Little Lies" are much more compelling, but I still appreciated the way that Moriarty gives so much depth to her characters. I can't tell you to rush out and read it, but I am not sorry that I did. It was a perfectly acceptable summer read.

As always, happy reading--

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What Alice Forgot...Again

What Alice ForgotWhat Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

July 19, 2017
I don't usually reread books so soon after reading them the first time, but I really loved this book and I just needed to fall into Moriarty's well told story again. I love these characters and both Alice and Libby's conflicts resonate with life right now. If you haven't picked one of her books yet, you really should. They are exactly what summer ordered.

Happy reading--

ps. I would definitely suggest the Audible audio version. The Australian reader is fantastic. I wish she narrated my own life.

Textbook Amy and Wandering Powell's

Textbook Amy Krouse RosenthalTextbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dear Amy--

After revisiting your Encyclopedia over the fourth, I decided that I wanted to make your Textbook Amy my "Powell's purchase". That simply means that when my husband and I were going to Powell's City of Books in Portland, I was going to let myself buy one book. Sounds ridiculously arbitrary, but I have a book buying "problem", and I liked the idea of going with a book in mind. As I'm sure you know, Powell's is delightfully huge, and we wandered the store for ages....

Here's the best part though: in the kids section, Seth and I were studying all sorts of books. There are so many talented illustrators that you can't help but want to touch each cover. We stopped though and laughed at a book called "Duck! Rabbit!" because of one of our favorite "How I Met Your Mother" episodes about the very same debate. And then the book was by you, and it seemed too seredipitous to leave behind.

So I left Powell's that day with two books. One about you and one about a creature that I tend to think looks like a duck. I read "Textbook Amy" on the plane ride home from that trip while Seth slept beside me. And I cried knowing that you had died and felt more poignantly your wonder and appreciation of the simple and the grand. You make me want to be more appreciate of people and the little things that make up our days.

Anyway - thought you'd appreciate the random anecdote. We miss you and appreciate all the pieces of your infectious spirit that you left behind. Can't wait to read your thoughts on heaven.

ps. A book store that takes up a city block really is a wonder. Counting down until we can go back. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First, I have to say that I feel so proud of myself for getting through this book. Am I allowed to say that? I never read straight historical non-fiction, and I never would have expected to enjoy this book as much as I did, despite the fact that I love history and Chernow is clearly a gifted historian. But this is a remarkable book that only makes me think more highly of Hamilton's vision and work ethic, not to mention my increased awe of Lin Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. To see how many lines and details of the musical were drawn from real letters and speeches was just awesome.

One of the big takeaways for me, besides being even more obsessed with the musical, is how astonishing it is that the American experiment was successful. With unbelieveable hamartias in each of the founding fathers, Hamilton included, and just so much ego, I am blown away by what it took for the United States to come into being. The complexities and nuances of how every bit of the constitution, the financial system, etc came to being seem miraculous. It was a stark reminder that no individual history - hero or villain - is just that one great or one horrendous moment that they are most remembered for. Just as I do not want to be judged for one day or one trait, the founding fathers and their often overlooked wives, were not perfect. Far from it from Chernow's descriptions, but they still did build this great nation that I am so proud to be a part of.

I was surprised to find myself tearing up in the conclusion of this epic book. I've known since that "Got Milk" commercial from the late 80s or early 90s, that Burr was going to kill Hamilton, but it felt so tragic and so unnecessary as I lived the final days and hours with the Hamiltons. More so, I felt weepy as the details of Eliza's fifty years as a widow unfolded. She was an amazing woman, and I'm glad for the chance to have gotten to "sit with her" as she told of her Hamilton.

Happy reading-- It's worth it!