Monday, May 25, 2015

Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin

This is The Devil Meets Prada meets Hollywood, minus the satisfying ending and learning of values by the main character. In Oh! You Pretty Things, Jess works as an assistant for a Hollywood celebrity.

The look into what a celebrity's life is like kept me reading. Otherwise, this was a so-so book that I read in a couple of days although I did ask myself several times why I was still reading it.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Wowzers! Usually I stay away from post-apocalyptic fare, but this one includes an epidemic and I love epidemics! Have you watched the movie Contagion??

A famous actor dies in the middle of King Lear, a flu pandemic sweeps over the world, and the survivors form small cities.

I couldn't put it down! I'm getting ready to leave on a trip, and I have a long To-Do list of what I need to pack and prepare. Finishing Station Eleven was at the top of the list because I don't travel with library books and I couldn't leave this at home without finishing it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett

I have read a few of Patchett's books and liked a couple (This is the Story of a Happy Marriage and What Now?) and had mixed feelings about others (The Patron Saint of Liars and Bel Canto), so I wasn't sure what I would think about Truth and Beauty. It is a memoir of Patchett's friendship with author Lucy Grealy. They met in college and lived together during their time at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Lucy is the author of Autobiography of a Face about her history with cancer. Patchett writes about their friendship and about Lucy's sometimes tortured life.

Sometimes painful, some sweetness, and a thoughtful memoir about what it means to be friends through good and bad and gray.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I usually don't recommend books to Boomer because he has his own books to read, but I occasionally ask him to read a book that I just devoured. I asked him to read Counting by 7s, and he started it last night.

I loved this book. It's about Willow who is an orphan twice over, and the very unlikely community of people who become her new family. Willow is a young genius with a ton of heart. The people in her life become more alive after knowing her.

Please check out this sweet, delightful, and touching book!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Time in Between by Maria Duenas, translated by Daniel Hahn

Here's another book that I could classify under "a book originally published in a different language" in the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2015 Reading Challenge. It's a hefty book at 600+ pages, but with an original storyline that I think would translate well into a movie.





Sira Quiroga is trained as a seamstress starting at a young age, and she's about to marry a government clerk. Then, she meets a dashing and deceitful man who charms her, and she also meets her long-lost father. Sira follows her new lover to Morocco where things fall apart and she's left to fend for herself. Eventually, she ends up working as a spy during World War II (what!).

There are some clever scenes and escapades. There are also some boring stretches. I got bogged down in the last 100 pages, and had to tell myself to read 10 pages/day until I finished. So...a neat story and all, but it goes on and on and on.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

There are two stories in this book. One centers around Beth who discovers, after 14 years of marriage, that her husband is having an affair. She goes back to writing, and starts writing a novel from the perspective of a boy with autism. The other story is about Olivia who is healing from a recent divorce. Her marriage unraveled after the death of her eight-year-old son with autism. Beth and Olivia both live on Nantucket and, as you can imagine, their stories intertwine.

I learned a lot about autism from this book. I learn a lot from Genova's books and her writing is easy to read. Unfortunately, Love Anthony is, by far, the weakest of her books. It comes across as contrived and a bit too tidy at the end.

Genova came out with a new book, Inside the O'Briens, on April 7th, and I am looking forward to reading it.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Eh. Let's keep this short. This is the companion book to Just One Day that I enjoyed. Just One Year is about Willem's year after he spends that one day with Allyson in Paris. Eh. I didn't like Willem much here and didn't really care! His story didn't add much to Just One Day so I wish I had just stopped with that one. I recommend Forman's If I Stay and Where She Went instead of this pair of books.