may tbr


march 2016 tbr

Pictured here are my March TBR novels. The only one I finished in March was Ellen Foster. I spent all of April on The English Patient, and I just finished it this morning. I also finished two audiobooks in the past week. So it’s not like I’m completely slacking on my goals. I just had to splurge and buy some I could listen to at work.

So what I really need to finish in May is Season of Migration to the North. I will also throw in Summer People by Brian Groh because I’m sort of itching for a summer book to get me through the rest of this spring. It’s been cloudy and rainy for the past few weeks. I just hope I can get through Season of  Migration because it seems like it might be pretty heavy. I’m not sure though.

I’m eight books behind schedule according to Goodreads. My goal is to read 50 books this year!



book review: maybe in another life

Maybe in Another LifeMaybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay Taylor Jenkins Reid, I hear you. Did you have to drive it in so adamantly? Here I am, a lost and confused millennial with student loans to pay and life decisions to make, and you waltz in and tell me that it’s all going to be alright. How dare you?

This book was crafted perfectly for someone like me. The side by side comparison of two parallel lives both freaked me out and inspired me. I think that every decision I make alters my life forever and that worries me because I get stuck trying to make the right decision. Then I end up 29, like Hannah Martin, hopping from place to place thinking I have made all the wrong decisions.

I don’t have all the answers from reading this novel, but that is kind of the point. No one knows whether their choices are the right choices. The idea is to make a choice and stick to it and surround yourself with people that love you.

It seems so damn easy! Hannah’s story shows us that it isn’t.

The thing about these two universes is that the characters learn similar lessons but in different ways. I found the character development fascinating. Both Hannah and Gabbi discovered things about themselves and their lives through different means and at different paces. It was wild.

I listened to the audible version of this book. I have to say the narrator did quite well but I thought her male characters came across as weak. I had to reimagine their voices to give them more personality.

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march 2016 tbr

Here was my February To Be Read List
  1. run with the hunted: a charles bukowski reader by charles bukowski. edited by john martin
  2. room by emma donoghue
  3. mirror mirror by gregory maguire
  4. BONUS: fall for anything by courtney summers
I did it. I read finished four books in March, one more than I planned. I’ve very happy with myself. Of the four, I plan on keeping Mirror Mirror. It’s a hardcover book and I like how it looks on my shelves. Room and Fall for Anything I gave to my sister to read. Now, onto March!
My March To Be Read List.
  1. season of migration to the north by tayeb salih
  2. ellen foster by kaye gibbons
  3. the english patient by michael ondaatje
The first book is one that was on a reading list for my theory class senior year. She changed the syllabus so we didn’t have to read it, and I never got around to it. The other two are thrift store finds. I picked these three off of my shelf based on the color of the covers and the length of the book. I wanted to try two shorter novels and a longer one. Hopefully, I will get to add another by the end of the month.

book review: fall for anything

Fall for AnythingFall for Anything by Courtney Summers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up Fall for Anything because of the cover art. I hadn’t planned on reading a YA, but that’s okay. I’m glad I did. I forgot about how nice it is to read a story about a teenager overcoming a change in her life. Added bonus, a mystery to solve. Here it is: Eddie Reeves’ photographer father has killed himself, and Eddie must know why.

This story is about dealing with the loss of a parent, and I think Courteney Summers did a great job making that grief real. I have a hard time imagining the emotional toll death can take, but Eddie’s behavior, confusion, and emotions were very honest. Part of me was thinking, “would a seventeen year old really do this?” Of course she would because her Dad committed suicide. She needed the answer to the question, “Why?”

I loved the mystery of this story. There were a few points where I was a little scared. Suicide, empty buildings, cheap motels: that’s some creepy shit. I blew through the 230 pages because I too needed to know the answers.

Some caveats. I have to say, I have a problem with love triangles. They tend to be tiresome. This one wasn’t too bad, but still not my favorite plot point. I also kind of solved the mystery well before it happened – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I got to follow Eddie while she figured it out.

In reality, the story isn’t about the dead, it’s about the living. It’s about how the living consider death and life. Like Eddie says, “…even I can see worth in stupid little moments like these. These people aren’t even my family, but I can see their value and if I can see it in something this small, when I feel this bad, then —
Then why didn’t he?”

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book review: room

RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again, Goodreads reviewers gave me anxiety about opening a book. I need to stop reading the reviews before I read it myself.

I read this book very quickly. It’s so easy to read. Yes, the narrator of this novel is a five-year-old boy. Yes, it’s a good thing. I liked it. I thought it was hugely important to the story being told. I would not have wanted it any other way. I liked that I was afraid when Jack was afraid, but I also knew more than Jack at times which is a relatively unique position to be in as a reader. Emma Donoghue was able to convey all the emotions and frustrations of Ma and Jack’s situation through her narrator.

I found the most interesting moments to be the ones where I knew why Ma and Jack were misunderstanding each other, whether that was Ma’s psychological deterioration being missed by her 5-year-old or Jack’s motives being misunderstood by his mother or grandmother. Experiencing them work with each other to solve problems both in and out of Room made this book a worthwhile read. I love when characters are able to recognize their reality, address their faults, and move forward.

Utimately, this book is life affirming. Ma and Jack put their lives on the line in order to live better ones. They live a mini-revolution, and there is post-war trauma to deal with when it’s over. Actually, it’s never really over for them. Every day is a test and testament to what they learned about life while being kept from living.

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book review: mirror mirror

Mirror MirrorMirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gregory McGuire with another children’s fairy tale executed with such class. I’m so jealous. I wish I could write with the suave he manages. This interpretation of Snow White as set in Renaissance Italy, weaves magic, history, religion, and family into one (not unlike his other novels). I love when history twists with fantasy, and this novel did nothing but make me love it more. Though short and almost vague, this novel provides a quick fairy tale fix as well as a history lesson on the lecherous Borgias.

Some reviews I read say they were disappointed with the amount of time the characters received, but McGuire did a lot in such little time. Each character played a role in the story (as in most fairy tales), and each was given their fair share of the narrative. By progressing the timeline (skipping several years at a time), the characters were given the chance to react to changes in their lives. I think those little changes gave me more of an understanding of who they were and where they were coming from.

The best part of this story, for me, was the circularity. There’s something so satisfying about the intertwining characters and the story arc as a whole. I may be back on the Gregory McGuire bandwagon.

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book review: run with the hunted

Run With the Hunted: A Charles Bukowski ReaderRun With the Hunted: A Charles Bukowski Reader by Charles Bukowski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I take showers
answer the phone
boil eggs
study motion and waste
and feel as good
as the next while
walking in the sun.
p. 250, ‘claws of paradise’

I’m new to Bukowski, but I like contemporary American poetry. A lot of the reviews already written on Bukowski have analysed him better than I can. He’s sad. He’s incredibly real to point of being frightening. How can a life with feelings like that be tolerable?

This anthology brings a wide variety of his work together. The collection is also arranged so that there is a chronological progression through the life of his work. Even though there are different narrative voices, Bukowski so clearly comes through all of them.

While I appreciate the talent of his words, this collection was hard for me to get through. It may have been the womanizing, the raping, or the drinking, but I couldn’t handle Bukowski all at one. I loved the poetry sections, and even though I occasionally wanted to read more of a particular story, I don’t think I will.

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