I had this book sitting on my shelf for a couple years, and while I enjoyed Fredrik Backman’s other books, I knew going in that this one was about rape, so I held off until my book club nominated it. It’s interesting that I always thought of this book as being about rape and everyone I’ve talked to said it’s about hockey.MORE +
I wasn’t a huge fan of Colson Whitehead’s last book, The Underground Railroad, but I was talking with a friend a few months ago and she had just finished reading The Nickel Boys. She said she didn’t like it, but she “appreciated” it, and I think that pretty well sums up I how I felt about The Underground Railroad – I didn’t enjoy reading it, but I recognized that it was very well written, and in the end, I’m glad I did read it. I was initially going to skip this one, but hearing my friend talk about it made me want to try it out, so I went ahead and requested the audiobook from my library. It took months, but it finally came in.
The good news is that this is a short book, so if you’re not sure you have the time to read or listen to it, be assured that it doesn’t take very long. It took me only a few days to get through the audiobook, and I can’t say why, but I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed The Underground Railroad, although the subject is just as dark.
Whitehead’s new book starts with a team of archaeologists uncovering a mass grave on the grounds of what used to be a boys’ correctional “school” in Florida, which was called “Nickel”, hence the title.
I’ve been meaning to read this book by Madeline Miller for more than a year now and I finally got my chance last month when I was waiting for my hold on The Nickel Boys to come in. It’s not super long, but it’s fascinating and the audiobook narrator does a fantastic job. I could listen to her narrate the phone book.
I had heard Miller on a podcast talking about this book, and the host of the podcast said it was the best book she read last year. I loved hearing Miller talk about how she wanted a female perspective on Circe and her life both with and without Odysseus. She knows how Circe got to the island, how she’s first described in The Odyssey, and she thought Circe deserved her own book. How true.
Miller also mentioned on the podcast that Circe only appears in 1/10 of The Odyssey, so she made sure Odysseus only showed up in 1/10 of her book. Now I’m going to start spoiling everything in this book, so consider yourself warned.
This doorstop by Donna Tartt has been taking up several cubic inches of space on my bookshelf for at least four (maybe five?) years now. When I heard the movie was coming out, it was an excuse to finally read that behemoth and get it off my shelves.
Too bad it took me so long to read that the movie is no longer playing at my local movie theater. Also, I’ve heard the movie is only OK, but not as good as the book, and since I didn’t really like the book, that’s not much of an incentive for me to go see the movie.
The book gets its title from a small, 17th-century Dutch painting about a goldfinch that is chained to its perch by a thin, gold chain. Apparently it’s a real painting and the history Tartt talks about in the book, how it was only one of a few of Fabritius’s works to survive the gunpowder explosion that killed him and destroyed most of his works, is true.
It’s unclear when the book takes place. It’s one of those that starts at the end, goes back to the beginning, and works its way through chronologically. At the chronological end of the story, it’s Christmas and the narrator, Theodore Decker, is trapped in a hotel room trying to get out of Amsterdam and back to the U.S., but he lost his passport and can’t get a new one because the U.S. embassy will be closed for Christmas on Friday, the 25th, then the weekend, so they won’t be open again until Monday, the 28th.
Both 2009 and 2015 had Christmas on a Friday. On Christmas day, Theo’s friend, Boris shows up and in the midst of his incessant chatter, he makes a comment about “that guy who landed the plane on the river a few years back,” referring to Sully making an emergency landing on the Hudson, but that happened in January of 2009. So Boris is either confused about time (entirely possible), or Tartt is. I suppose it’s possible for her to set the book a couple years after she published it in 2013, but 2009 makes the most sense. Except, then she has Theo say his mother died 14 years ago, which would put the beginning of the story in 1995, but just a year or two after that, Theo is listening to music on an iPod, which wasn’t invented until 2001. Maybe Tartt did set it in 2015. Or maybe she has no idea what she’s talking about. They both seem equally likely.
In any case, after Theo tells us his mother has been dead for 14 years, he goes back to tell us about the day she died, how they were on their way to talk to a school administrator because he had gotten suspended, but they had some time to kill, and since his mother was an art lover, they decided to stop by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and look at some paintings. They’re in the gift shop when his mom says she wants to go back for one last look at the painting. Shortly after she leaves, there’s an explosion, and the next thing Theo knows, he’s on his back, covered in dust and debris.MORE +
Sunny Hostin recommended this book by Marlen Suyapa Bodden as part of The View‘s Ladies get Lit segment and I thought it sounded interesting, so I requested the audiobook from my library. It took forever for my copy to come in, but I finally got a chance to listen to it a couple months ago.
The book is told from the perspective of two women: Sarah Campbell, a slave on a plantation in 1850s Alabama, and Theodora Allen, the wife of Cornelius Allen, who is Sarah’s owner and father.MORE +
I’ve heard really good things about The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but I just haven’t gotten there yet. Meanwhile, everyone was raving about the audiobook version of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s new novel, Daisy Jones and The Six, so I went ahead and requested it from my library.MORE +
I’ve been a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer from Day 1. My mom read in the TV Guide (remember when that was a thing people actually read?) about this new show that would be starting that would take the trope of the pretty blonde girl getting killed in the alley by a vampire and turn it on its head. We watched the pilot when it aired and we never missed an episode after that. Today I own the full set of both Buffy and the spinoff, Angel, and I rewatch them all the way through every few years.
I was most of the way through my most recent rewatch when this book came out, so I decided to finish the series again before reading this book by Kiersten White.MORE +
I had actually never heard of this book by Michelle McNamara until Book Riot alerted me to a similar book that was listed as a kind of continuation of McNamara’s book. Since I always like to start at the beginning of a series (even if it isn’t really a series), I requested this audiobook from my library.MORE +
It was actually Whoopi Goldberg who first turned me onto this book by Elizabeth Gilbert. Every summer The View does a feature called “Ladies Get Lit” (a name Whoopi hates), in which each co-host has a chance to talk about two or three books they’re reading and would like to recommend to the audience. One of the books Whoopi mentioned was City of Girls and she made it sound so good I immediately requested the audiobook from my library.
She was right. This book is so much fun!MORE +
The full title of this book by Patrick Radden Keefe is Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland.
I first heard of this book on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast when one of the hosts named it as the thing that was making her happy that week. I should clarify that their “What’s Making Us Happy” segment doesn’t necessarily have to be things that are literally making them happy. They could just be things they find super interesting and/or are obsessing over that particular week. I stress this because there is nothing happy about this book.MORE +