Not wanting to brag too much for myself, but I think I’m doing pretty good on this whole resolution to read more “real” books. Another month and four more books down. All I need to work on is getting my review posted closer to the month I’m discussing rather than the upcoming month. Enough bragging, let’s get down to business. To defeat the huns? Sorry, sorry I can’t help myself. I’ll get on with the reviews and less of my self indulgent corny jokes. (Does anyone else always automatically make the Mulan reference when they begin a statement with that phrase?)
A quick catch up on how it all works: I rate the books in the order I read them and instead of stars it’s a scale of 1-5 roses. Simple enough right?
We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson (2 Roses)
I admit I only picked up the novel because Sebastian Stan is starring in the upcoming movie rendition. Jackson is hailed as one of the original writers of modern day horror stories which is not a genre I am normally interested in. Knowing that, I probably wasn’t the right audience for We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I felt like the entire book was flat and bizarre. Which isn’t a winning combination. There was kind of a storyline, but nothing that compelled me to keep turning pages. Plus the characters were very one dimension and I couldn’t put my finger on what felt off about them (other than they were supposed to be off kilter, obviously.) I did read the book through to the end and mildly enjoyed it – but it had more problems than not. However, I’m a sucker and I will still being seeing the film opening weekend because that’s the type of person I am. Here’s to hoping I’ll like it better in the visual adaptation?
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex – Mary Roach (2 Roses)
The second choice for my kick-ass women book club was very fitting for the month of February. Let’s talk about sexy baby? I was excited going into Bonk as I had heard lots of good things about Roach’s researched-based books she had written previously. Unfortunately for me, I was B-O-R-E-D bored. For being a book on sex written by a woman, it sure focused on men 90% of the time which I found interesting and not in a good way. Maybe I went in with too high of expectations as I had previous education on this subject matter, or maybe this just wasn’t Roach’s best work.
It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) – Nora McInerny Purmort (4 Roses)
I adore Nora. Like, full on bordering on obsessed with everything she writes and basically want to be her bff level of adoration. She’s a pretty big deal around the Twin Cities and for good reason – all her writing is heartwrenchingly raw, vulnerable, and relatable (even when the subject matter is something you haven’t dreamed of experiencing in your worst nightmares.) Plus, her humor and sarcasm are top notch. In her memoir, Nora chronicles a little bit of everything but it focuses on the stretch of time where she miscarried her second child, suddenly lost her father, and buried the love of her life way too young. Packed full of wisdom, it had me walking away and taking a big hard look at my own life. The first chapter begins with Nora discussing a famous Mary Oliver quote, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I couldn’t get the concept out of my head even long after I put the book down. The title, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) is spot on, I laughed and cried and I can’t wait for her next book.
The Girls – Emma Cline (4 Roses)
If you’re looking for a nerd who loves learning about all aspects of the 60s – the good, the bad, and the weird that came out of that time period – you don’t need to look further than me. It isn’t a reach that I’d be drawn to a book inspired by the infamous Manson Family. The Girls centers on Evie, a young girl who gets wrapped up in Russell and Suzanne, who aren’t as good natured as they seem. I eagerly anticipated the climax, wanting to find out exactly what events led up to the murders. My biggest peeve was I couldn’t quite get into the grown-up Evie perspective that was interwoven throughout the book. Her adult storyline with Julian and Sasha felt forced. I understand why it was put in the book, but it doesn’t work in the way Cline intended. The main story may only span a few months, but at it’s core it’s wrapped up in something much bigger: a story of a young girl grappling with her sexuality, loneliness, and impending adulthood.
The month didn’t start too hot with my selected reads, but definitely turned around by the end. I took a few weeks off leading into March, but I picked back up again so I will see you all here for the literary round up volume 3 next month!
If you’ve read any of the above books, what were your thoughts?
What’s the best thing you’ve read recently?
P.S. – Monday is the start of spring around these parts and I can’t wait. You know I got a sunshine filled playlist on repeat.
Until next time,