Tuesday, August 9, 2016

summer books

I totally skipped the last Show Us Your Books so I have some definite catching up to do. Here's what I've been reading:

The Nest: I've seen this book on a million lists and found it completely forgettable. The characters are alright, but not a lot happens and I didn't care about any of them. It was too many characters spread too thin without much to keep them together. I don't get why it's such a big thing. Steph and Jana nailed it when they discussed it on The Armchair Librarians so listen to that and know that I completely agree.

(A) LaRose: Another book where nothing happened. The premise was fascinating. The book takes place in 1999 - so, not in ancient times - and a Native American man accidentally kills a young boy, so to atone for his mistake, he offers his son, who is the same age. The story follows the son, LaRose, and both families. While the central conflict affects everyone, I just couldn't wrap my head around this as a plausible solution and there wasn't an obvious course of action going on that let me forget it. The prose in parts is very beautiful, but I couldn't wait for this to be over.

(I blame these for putting me in a book slump. It took a while for me to want to pick up something new!)

Side Effects May Vary: This book was better, but still didn't help my slump. It's by the same author as Dumplin' but just isn't as good. The main character was mean for no real reason and for me, the teen angst in this one was too much for adult me to want to get into. If teenagers could learn to communicate more, would YA even be a genre?

(A) Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything: This book was perfect for me since I have been in such a TV watching mood. The author basically interviewed anyone she could find who knew anything about the history behind and the making of Seinfeld and put their anecdotes and opinions in this book. If you're a Seinfeld fan, you'll definitely enjoy this and learn something. For example, Larry David wanted the show to be cemented in real life as much as possible. Since the show was so fast-paced, most of the writers used their best material in one season of work so nearly every season, the entire writing staff was turned over. Stuff like that. It's really dense and you definitely want a background in the show to appreciate it, but I found myself constantly sharing what I learned with Andrew. It was a fun read.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman: You guys, this book. I loved it. I learned about Lindy West through This American Life (she's the woman who confronted her internet troll and the one who wants to be called fat, both of which are detailed in the book) so I was excited to read her story. She's an unapologetic feminist and a writer. She talks about how her body image has affected how she is and how she receives love, what it's like to have such a public job when you aren't society's definition of beautiful, and tells stories about how she has stood up for herself and other women (most notably, by calling out stand-up comedians for making jokes about rape). I want to be her friend and learn from her. The book is more essays than memoir, but it's very cohesive and tells a lot about her experiences. I liked it so much I want to buy it - my highest level of praise.

Listen To Me: I read books because I want a good story. I like things to happen. I don't like to notice tone shifts and draw a ton of conclusions when I'm reading a novel. At face value, this book was boring (again, nothing happened. I have awful taste this month). After reading reviews on Goodreads, though, I see that people far more intellectual than I got a lot more from this book than I did. Does that change my personal opinion? No. But at least I kind of get it now.

Black-Eyed Susans: Several months ago, I told Steph I needed a book to completely suck me in and she suggested this one. It was a good pick. I liked the way it was told, alternating present day with flashbacks. I liked the Texas setting, too. It was one I didn't want to put down to go to sleep at night. I didn't like the too-obvious red herring, though, and that the mystery was revealed at the very end with very little wrap-up as to how the characters dealt with the aftermath, but overall, I definitely recommend it.

I'm currently listening to a Taylor Jenkins Reid book and about to start reading a new book (probably Modern Lovers by Emma Straub). But, between the Olympics and starting to watch Veronica Mars (so good!), it's hard to find time for anything else...

Life According to Steph


  1. i really liked Black Eyed Susans as well and it's too bad about Nest; I've read so many great reviews about it.

  2. If you're talking about Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard, I had very mixed feelings about it. Maybe I'm not smart enough to get the whole journey in the journey thing but I felt extremely misled about the climactic moment and Mark was an ass. It made reading his chapters hard.

    I have some of these on my list already. I feel like I'd like Shrill.

  3. I think Shrill sounds perfect for me as does Seinfeldia but I have already blown my nonfiction pass on RBG. LOL. Maybe in the future.

    F The Nest. That started a little slump for me too.

    Totally agree on Side Effects May Vary. Hateful a-holes in that book.

  4. Black Eyed Susans was recommended to me by Kathy and while I haven't gotten to it yet, I certainly plan to read it and I am glad you enjoyed it as well. I listened to Steph and Jana talk about the Next and decided to skip out on that. I want to read Dumplin. Am I the last person on the planet who hasn't?

  5. i had the nest on my list until the podcast episode talking about it and then i promptly removed it haha. i loved dumplin but i keep hemming and hawing over whether i want to read side effects may vary or not. shrill sounds awesome!

  6. I loooove Veronica Mars. Have you read the two books? They take place after the movie so if you haven't watched the series/seen the movie yet, don't read them, but they are great!!!

  7. Lindy West is amazing. I can't believe I didn't already have this on my TBR! I loved that episode of TAL too, and used to read her all the time on Jezebel back when it was good. I think Seinfeldia is going to be the perfect follow-up to my month-long Seinfeld Hulu binge, hah!

  8. The Olympics are going to suck up all of my time, I just know it! I remember reading Steph and Erin's reviews of Black Eyed Susans, and knew that I wanted to read it, probably just because of the Texas setting. Glad to know that you enjoyed it too! There's been so many negative reviews of The Nest lately! Now I don't know if I want to read it!

  9. I got The Nest right away from the library when it first come out and it never left my table. I just wasn't feeling it and took it back without reading it. It doesn't sound like I missed much either. Shrill sounds fabulous and adding it to my TBR. Black Eyed Susans is already on there.

  10. i felt the same way about the Nest. I have had LaRose on my list for a while but will skip it since I've heard your same opinion a couple of times. I really want to read Shrill!

  11. I've been wanting to read Black Eyed Susans-it sounds super good!

  12. After all the "meh" feelings about The Nest, I finally just went to goodreads and took it off my "to read" list. There are too many books out there that I really want to read.
    I agree with all you said about Black Eyed Susans.

  13. I've heard that The Nest isn't as great as it's made out to be, I'm going to skip it.


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