Tuesday, August 11, 2015

july books

This month seemed slow for me, book-wise. probably because Audition took three whole weeks to listen to! You already know that I'm dedicated to all things electronic that come from my library (and my library shared my post yesterday, too - so cool!) but while Andrew and I were driving around over the weekend, I realized there was a library branch right off the road I drive down every day to get to and from work. You can see it from the light I sit at every morning, but I didn't know it was there. Amazing what you see when you look up from your smartphone, right? I feel so silly for never having noticed it.

That said - onto the books!

(A) Sarah's Key - I liked this book because it taught me about a very sad piece of history I didn't know about:  the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup that took place during WWII when French police officers arrested Jewish families, kept them in deplorable conditions, and then sent them to concentration camps after the Nazis occupied France. The book goes between the point of view of a ten year old girl whose family has been arrested in 1942 and an adult journalist in 2002 who is writing about the 60th anniversary of the roundup. I liked how the stories came together, though part of the modern day story was too tangential for me to really get into. I wanted more of the focus to be on the events of the past. The book got a little long toward the end, but I mostly enjoyed it in the way that one enjoys books that are incredibly sad (though the author said things smelled of lavender and that hair was shiny so often that it was distracting!).

Luckiest Girl Alive - This was all over "Best of Summer" lists so I was excited to read it. I hated it and only finished it because it's written in a way that forces you to keep reading to get the gist of the story. The narrator was shallow and unlikable, despite what happened to her that should have made her sympathetic. I wanted her true nature to be seen at the end and for her facade to be broken. I think people have compared it to Gone Girl, but no. Not at all. The main character went through a lot of serious stuff and the main way that she was affected by it was by being obsessed with being skinny and that just didn't appeal to me in so many ways. I also felt that the book was written in a way that was very 2015 - a lot of the fashion and make-up references seemed very current now, but I don't think the book will age well, and for some reason, that always bothers me.

(A) Audition: A Memoir (by Barbara Walters) - I'm a sucker for a celebrity memoir and I was hoping this would be read by Barbara, but sadly, it wasn't. It was long and took me over three weeks to listen to, so be warned. Walters has led a fascinating life. She broke barriers for women on TV without really trying (she just wanted a job, period) and really seems to know everyone. Parts of the book were slow, but she intertwined her career with her personal life until the end of the book, when she talked about interview subjects in categories like presidents and first ladies, her favorite interviews, and her least favorite interviews. The behind-the-scenes anecdotes were my favorite parts. I'm kind of bummed that she's semi-retired now and I likely have few chances, if any, to enjoy her specials again.

Love May Fail - I was in the middle of nonfiction books and wanted something I could really get lost in. I loved this book. If you saw (or read) Silver Linings Playbook and liked the damaged, quirky characters there, then you'll probably like this book. The plot was a little silly, but it was okay with me. I liked the characters and the way that the POV of the book shifted in order to best tell the story. I liked seeing Portia, the character who tied everything together, through the eyes of other people. Something about this book has stayed with me since I read it and I overall really, really enjoyed it and want to read more of Quick's novels for adults. If you're skimming this post and want one rec from me, this is it!

Five Days at Memorial - The premise of this book intrigued me. A reporter wrote it about the allegations that doctors and nurses basically euthanized patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The conditions were terrible and the miscommunication that added to the awful situation is nearly unbelievable. The first third of the book was an interesting read - it went over, to the best of the author's ability, what happened in the hospital in the days before the hurricane until it was mostly evacuated. After that, the author focused on the investigation, so a lot of the action already told was repeated through other people's recollections. It seemed very repetitive. I wikipedia'd to see what happened since I had the book for four weeks and just couldn't get through the rest. If you don't pick up the book, I would highly recommend reading more about the incident since I had never heard of it before. It's terrifying.

I'm not sure why I had so much seriousness going on this month, but sometimes it happens. I'm linking up with Steph and Jana in hopes of finding some lighter reads, though right now I'm in the middle of Aziz Ansari's Modern Love (not a celeb memoir; more of a sociological explanation of love in 2015) and Comeback, a story of a drug-addicted teenager told by both mother and daughter. I need something easy!

Life According to Steph

22 comments:

  1. Whoohoo for blog mentions on non-blog websites!! You are going to be the go to food and book girl in Houston soon.

    I'm sad to see two bad reviews of Luckiest Girl Alive, it's on my library wait list and I've been checking everyday to see what number I am in line now.

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  2. I'll have to check out Love May Fail. I loved Silver Linings!

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  3. You and SMD both have Luckiest Girl Alive a thumbs down... I feel like I just want to read it out of curiosity now! lol

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  4. for a while, i was reading books that had to do with drug addicted characters, either fiction or memoirs. have you read the heroin diaries by nikki sixx? man, he did some messed up shit. one of my fav books that had to do with addiction was million little pieces (james frey) and i don't care if oprah tore him a new one - that was one damn good book.

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  5. I read Sarah's Key a couple years ago, and I really liked it - it was intense, but really good. "Five Days at Memorial" sounds good. I'm currently reading Judy Blume's new book and it's really good.

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  6. Love May Fail, sound good! I liked Silver Linings Playbook, though I did not read the book, so I would probably really like the book. I get almost all my books from the library :) That's great there is one you found on your way to work. Five Days at Memorial sounds like a very heavy read!

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  7. I felt the same way about Luckiest Girl Alive. I'm surprised it was such a big deal this summer because so many people are on the same page as we are. I'll have to add some of these to my Goodreads list.

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  8. I'm so jazzed that your library shared the love on your post.

    Luckiest Girl will not age well at all.

    Did you mention Love May Fail to me before? It's already on my want to read list.

    I have sort of avoided Sarah's Key. I'm not sure why. Well, I am. I feel like it will be hard. I also have worries about the modern day narrator.

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  9. Congrats on the library sharing your post (which, by the way, I also enjoyed that post)! Sarah's Key is one of my favorite books, even though I too didn't like the modern day story nearly as much as the WWII-era story. I just added Love May Fail to my list.

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  10. Hmm...I loved the SLP movie, so I must read the book & give this one a try!

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  11. I'm so surprised Barbara Walters didn't narrate her own book!! Maybe now that I will be driving more often I can start doing audio books too.

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  12. That's so fun and awesome that the library shared your post!

    Love May Fail sounds good, I'll have to check that out!

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  13. oh my gosh yes! it really annoys me when books are clearly not going to age well. like when they say a year or something super trendy, i'm like.. why do you do that?!
    sarah's key has been on my list for a long time, i think i have to be in the right mood for it though.
    yay for your library sharing your post! that is so awesome.

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  14. Hmmm and now I am totally interested in researching all this after Katrina stuff. It sounds terrifying! I loved seeing the library post you did, that is so awesome! Congrats lady! Big timing over there!

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  15. I'm adding Love May Fail to my list since I love quirky characters. I'm going to read Silver Linings in Sept!

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  16. I didn't know about the roundup before I read Sarah's Key either. I felt so embarrassed, so I'm glad I wasn't alone. I tried but didn't finish Five Days at Memorial. I should definitely read up about it online.

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  17. I added Love May Fail. This is why I love this link-up. I've never heard of the book, but it sounds like one I'd really enjoy.

    I read Sarah's Key years ago. It was heart-breaking but so, so good.

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  18. Love Mail Fail is on my nightstand right now and is planned for sometime in the next 3 weeks and I just put another one of his books on my TBR. I'm waiting on Modern Romance and based on what my librarian told me last week, I'll be waiting quite a while. Awesome.

    Hooray on your library sharing your post!

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  19. Oooh Love May Fail sounds fantastic. I have a vacation coming up and I think I might pick this one up before I go!

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  20. Okay, so i'm happy that i'm not the only person that completely hated "Luckiest Girl Alive." It was awful, I couldn't connect with her at all, she was arrogant and snotty and I just overall hated this book. I felt like the unluckiest girl alive whenever I realized I was committed to finishing it, despite the fact it sucked!

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  21. Love May Fail sounds like an interesting read. I had Luckiest Girl Alive but it doesn't sounds worth it now.

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  22. I watched the movie for Sarah's Key and it was so sad! I need to read the book.

    I'll definitely check out Love May Fail :)

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