Tuesday, February 10, 2015

my january books

It's that time again. Safe to say I'm killing my "read more books" goal for 2015. I'm also learning that it's hard for me to award any book five stars. Click any title for the goodreads page (are we friends yet?); I've just included a few short thoughts on each title.

Someday, Someday, Maybe - I read this book because it was written by Lauren Graham and I love Gilmore Girls and have heard that it might be made into a TV show. I thought it was cute. It kept my attention, but I think there are so many other things that could have been explored - the main character's relationship with her best friend/roommate, for example - that I was left wanting a little more than just being inside the main character's head all the time. The nods to the 90s were a fun addition and it was great for reading before bed.

Everything I Never Told You - This was my first audiobook experience. I found the narrator's voice really soothing and the third person narration very fitting for something I was going to listen to the whole way though. I found this book pretty heartbreaking but very well done. I liked getting in each character's head. It's hard to explain the story without over simplifying, but if you ever wanted a book about a family that shows why they treat each other the way they do and focuses on specific instances that can shape a person's life, then I recommend this.

The Vacationers - I guess I was on a family dynamic kick because I read this right after Everything I Never Told You and this family was dysfunctional in a completely different way. Nothing really happened and the characters kind of seemed like cliches. It kept my attention fine, but didn't leave me satisfied at the end.

Summer Sisters - I saw this was one of Steph's favorites and it was available as an ebook through the library, so I thought I would give it a shot. Judy Blume, y'all. If you grew up reading about Fudge and Margaret and all the other characters Blume created, then your adult self will probably love the nostalgia in this. There were a few parts that were a little too teen sexual awakening for my taste (remember, I don't care much for YA), and I didn't love that one of the main character's apparent magnetism was never fully understood by the reader (at least, not by me. She seemed like a selfish jerk). I liked the main character and the way the story was told, though.

The Interestings - I totally chose this book by its cover, then went to Goodreads and saw my friends gave it mixed reviews. Like Summer Sisters, its origin is during the summer in the 70s, so I don't recommend reading them both at the same time because I got some details mixed up. Basically what both books taught me is that you should marry your first summertime love before your BFF goes and marries him instead, leaving you wondering "what if" for the rest of your life. I found myself thinking about this book and its characters after I finished, so I think if you don't mind a somewhat meandering, character-driven novel, then you should give this one a try.

One More Thing - I wanted to like this book since it was written by BJ Novak (Ryan from The Office). Getting through the short stories that seemed like bizarre non-sequiturs felt torturous and I dreaded my self-imposed reading time. I quit after about 40 pages.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - This book was pretty cute, but the disjointed nature of the way the story is told combined with the fact that I read it a little at a time each night before bed caused me to forget a lot of details. I can't blame the book for that, though. A pretty cute story where a 15 year old girl pieces together the details of her eccentric mother's disappearance. It isn't as serious as it sounds, I promise.

I'm not sure if it's because of the medium or the stories themselves, but Everything I Never Told You and The Interestings stand out to me the most. I've been writing a few notes about each book as I finish, and if it weren't for that, I would have completely forgotten about The Vacationers had I not documented it here. I'm continuing to love audiobooks - thanks to Kristen for pushing me that direction - and if you've yet to try them, I highly recommend seeing if your library offers them. I listen while I walk the dog, commute, clean, and even while I go walking at lunch. Let me know if you give it a shot.

Linking up with Steph and Jana...
Life According to Steph

16 comments:

  1. I love Summer Sisters, I haven't read it in years but it still sits on my favorites shelf. I always applaud Judy Blume for addressing teen sexual awakening, it's there so we shouldn't ignore it.

    I'm on the library wait list for Everything I Never Told You, I always hope a book I wait on is good or it annoys me.

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  2. I think audio books but I can sometimes lose half the story when my mind drifts or I try to multitask too much. I think I'll check out the Lauren Graham book.

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  3. I agree with what you said about Someday Someday Maybe. I really wanted to like it because it was about an aspiring actress trying to make it in New York and I've been in the theater for a good portion of my life but I feel like it just missed the mark.

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  4. I can't wait to read the Celeste Ng book!

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  5. I love listening to audiobooks when I deep clean the house or take walks! It makes me feel EXTRA productive--like I'm killing two birds with one stone! Plus, it makes cleaning more enjoyable! I agree that sometimes the way books are set up make it difficult if you're only reading a little here and there (which is what I've only had time for lately). You absolutely killed it in the reading dept though! Way to go!

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  6. Audiobooks have changed my life. At my library, you can download MP3 versions of almost any audiobook now. I listen to them using an app on my phone. Now as I'm cleaning or driving to work, I can easily listen.

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  7. Yay! Summer Sisters.

    I have yet to listen to an audiobook. In my entire life. It's on my to do list.

    I hated The Vacationers and couldn't deal with The Interestings. I couldn't get through the other Wolitzer books I've tried in the past either, so I think it's just a thing between me and her.

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  8. Where'd You Go Bernadette was a lot of fun to read. I liked it. But yes, keeping track of the details wasn't easy sometimes. Someday, Someday, Maybe sounds like something I need to add to my list!!

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  9. I just added Everything I Never Told You to my list. I haven't listened to an audiobook in years. Maybe I should try that again. I don't have a commute but maybe it would be good to do while walking.

    I struggled through The Interestings. Maybe it was the wrong time for me to read it.

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  10. Blogger ate my first comment! Let's try this again.

    I LOVED Bernadette and Summer Sisters. The Interestings is on my to-read list although I'm starting to rethink that decision. I'm in the middle of Everything I Never Told You (along with All the Bright Places. I always read two books at once. Not sure why). I did not enjoy The Vacationers at all. Completely over-hyped.

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  11. I need to read Summer Sisters! I really liked The Interestings! I liked Bernadette too, but also had a hard time with the way the story was told. It was a good story though! And I live near Seattle so I really loved her spot on references.

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  12. The two books that stand out to you the most are the two books that I most look forward to reading. I rarely read two books at the same time. So, I totally understand that you'd get confused by similiar stories.

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  13. Summer Sisters was my FAVORITE book of my teens but I have not read it since. Interesting to hear your take on it, I'm sure I would feel similar now. I should revisit! Good for you for going through so many!

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  14. I have Where'd You Go, Bernadette on my list to read. You got a lot of books in! I haven't tried audio books yet. I finished CYGF and am half way through Serial right now. I will probably try an audio book once I am done with that!

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  15. I am so clueless I've seen Someday, Someday Maybe but had no idea it was the same Lauren Graham! Definitely adding it to my list. My first experience with audio books was good, but I've had some weird ones since then.

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  16. I'm currently reading The Interestings. I picked it up at BAM on clearance since it had a rainbowy type cover (I totally judge books by their covers). I REALLY struggled to get into it at first and now that I've powered through the first 50-75 pages, it's starting to pick up, but I'm still skeptical that I'm going to like it as Jules can sometimes seem schizophrenic and a snob and I just need the book to go SOMEWHERE besides Spirit-In-the-Woods and detailing how awkward everyone is.

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