I’ve let my list of reviews to write accumulate until it has reached an insane level. At this moment, I have a list of 33 books waiting to be reviewed. Crazy, right? Most people would just say “Well, I won’t write reviews of all of them.” However, I can’t do that. I just can’t. So I’m going to do myself a favor and write insanely short reviews. After all, I’m not going to stop reading, and the list is just going to get longer and longer and longer.
Earth: The Book by Jon Stewart and Company Where I Got It: Bought it from Amazon Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor My Rating: 4.5 stars
A guide to life on Earth for the aliens that will eventually rule the planet after we destroy ourselves, this book is laugh out loud funny. If you like Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, this is a must-read. I’ve heard people say they listened to it on audio, which I can’t quite imagine as the book is jam-packed with photos that accounted for at least 33.3% of my laughs. Irreverent, smart, and hilarious.
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly Where I Got It: Paperback Swap Genre: Historical Fiction, YA My Rating: 4 stars
A beautifully written YA book that deals tangentially with the murder that was the subject of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, A Northern Light is a wonderful example of what a YA novel can and should be. Not only is it wonderful introduction to historical fiction, but it also offers a smart heroine who transcends the cookie-cutter heroines of so many YA books. Get this in the hands of your young adult and elevate their reading.
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates Where I Got It: Bought it from Amazon Genre: Fiction, Literary My Rating: 3.5 stars
The story of an unhappy marriage circa the early 1960s, Revolutionary Road was my introduction to Richard Yates. Although this book didn’t quite do it for me for reasons I’m still unclear about (it felt dated? I needed more details?), I still want to explore more of Yates’s writing. If nothing else, it made me want to watch the movie version starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (although Leo doesn’t fit my image of Frank Wheeler in the slightest).
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri Where I Got It: Paperback Swap Genre: Fiction, Literary My Rating: 4.5 stars
After falling in love with Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story collections (Unaccustomed Earth and The Interpreter of Maladies), I was curious to see what her first novel was like. Turns out, it feels like an extended version of her short stories. Chronicling the Ganguli family’s immigration to America from India and their assimilation into their adopted country, the novel takes many of the themes from Lahiri’s short stories and bundles it into a long-form narrative. As always, the writing is spare, poetic and wondrous. I don’t think Lahiri could write badly if she tried.
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas Where I Got It: Bought it from Amazon Genre: Fiction, Contemporary My Rating: 4.5 stars
Written by Australian author Christos Tsiolkas using multiple narrators (each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character), The Slap is about what happens when a man slaps a child who is not his own at a suburban barbecue. The fallout from the slap is far-ranging and surprising, and along the way we get different versions and interpretations of what happened and what it meant. Fascinating and compulsively readable, I found the book hard to put down. A bit of a warning: The book deals with lots of gritty issues (abortion, adultery, drugs, profanity and such) so it might not work for some readers. It would make for a great book club discussion though!
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