A book about writing a book with an undeniable plot. How very meta. The premise of the book is intriguing, and the idea of “stealing” a story from another person who is unable to complete it is ethically murky and understandably tempting. We get to hear the story of Jake coming across this amazing plot, taking it as his own when the owner dies an untimely death and potentially getting found out. We also get to read excerpts from the book he writes, being able to judge for ourselves whether it deserves the approbation it receives. The pacing of the book was clever, as we discover the plot of the book at the same time we learn about the potential person behind the threatening messages. I also enjoyed reading about Athens, GA and UGA, as that is where I spent 10 years of my childhood. The ending was a little predictable but still packed a punch.
Clemence, a young actress, with a single workaholic mother, sees how unhappy her mentally deteriorating grandmother is in her nursing home. She kidnaps her and decides to take her back to her parent’s home, which she hopes is the key to restoring her mental faculties. Along the way, they encounter many obstacles, and Clemence reminisces about her childhood and her close relationship with her grandparents. This graphic novel is poignant and touches on many difficult topics, such as caring for the elderly, finding your purpose and identity in life, and the sacredness of family relationships.
This is a story about a small town, allegiances, loyalties and betrayals, family versus team, and the lengths people will go to protect themselves and the people they love. This book is gritty and intense, bracingly raw but also profound. Backman is extremely skilled at portraying the young adult experience. The set up took longer than I expected, but the heart of the story is intense and exposes the prevalent problem of victim blaming and shaming.
Anna has had a complicated past. She lost her mother at a young age, went through the foster system, and has many obstacles in her young life. When she suffers a personal loss, she is drawn back to her hometown, where she gets involved with local cases of missing girls. The book has a lot of great plot points, but the book was mostly technical and seemed to lack heart. The book drags in the middle, when the investigation does not seem to be finding any promising leads. And it seemed like every single character had so much trauma and baggage to get through that it was difficult for me as a reader to understand and empathize.
It is evident that Adichie is a storyteller. The effortless way in which her characters and stories come together is subtle but impactful and an impressive work of fiction. Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love, and they have their whole lives ahead of them. They know they want to get out of Nigeria for bigger opportunities abroad, but there are many obstacles in the way. Life happens and the two are separated, but they never completely forget about their first love. This is a contemporary story of immigration, race relations in different parts of the world, and the many ways to love another.
This book really drew me in from the get-go. The beginning chapters contained just enough background information along with important plot points and propelled the story forward with tremendous momentum. I really enjoyed the short chapters and how they were uniquely named. The book takes us on a journey from Hannah’s perspective, slowly figuring out what Owen was hiding from her, while simultaneously flashing back to the history of their relationship. At first glance, this seems to be a story about Owen and his secrets, but it’s really about Hannah and Bailey – their tenuous relationship and how this experience binds them inextricably. There is no big twist but a slow unfurling of Owen’s past and the explanation for his actions. This book was extremely well-written, riveting, and emotionally rendering, in the best way.
Based on the title of this book, I came into the book expecting a parenting guide on how to enjoy the experience of parenthood in a more well-rounded way. However, this book is more of an exposition on the effect of parenthood, particularly on women, in the modern era. It addresses the impossible task of juggling work, childcare, and household duties, the strain on marriage, navigating adolescence, and much more. The author references numerous surveys, studies, and works of literature in order to compile the most pressing issues facing parents today, interspersed with personal interviews that she conducts. The book is dense with information but provided in a very accessible and interesting way. It has really put into perspective how parenting today compares with the past – how it’s both better and more challenging in many ways. This book was extremely enlightening and quite different from the other parenting books I have read.
This is the second book in which Lin-Liu embarks on an adventure and documents her journey to learn about something food-related. Her writing style is straightforward and easy to read. Food history is fascinating to me, particularly in China, and this book is chock full of it. I loved reading about the food culture in various parts of China, especially in the lesser-known Western regions. Central Asia is a part of the world that not many Westerners know about. Lin-Liu includes history lessons about the various regions she visits and their specific role on the Silk Road trading route. She commonly compares the food she encounters with ones she is familiar with and it can seem like she is disparaging these lesser-known cuisines. Nevertheless, she attempts to keep an open mind and objective stance when reporting on her experiences in her travels.