Yay for books! Here’s what I read in April 2018.
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
The Versions of Us is absolute perfection—add it to the top of my favorites list! I simultaneously wanted to gobble this story up and savor it slowly: I wanted to gobble it up so I could devour the story quickly (I truly couldn’t put it down), and yet I wanted to savor it slowly so it would never have to end. This is beautifully written, evocative, emotional, intelligent—really, it’s a masterpiece. Recommend, recommend, recommend!
P.S. Upon further reflection, I think one of the things I loved most about this book was that the characters had consequences for their actions. They made choices—some good, some bad—and all had some sort of resounding effect, which is just how real life is. This added a richness, another dimension, to the characters and their lives. It made all three plot lines so believable, relatable, and heart-wrenching.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
This book is just fantastic, and it’s certainly a title that I'll read & read again. I heard about this book through Anne Bogel's podcast, What Should I Read Next. I read Wild many years ago and while I liked some aspects of that book, on the whole I struggled with many parts in it. Anne interviewed someone on the podcast who felt the same way as I do, and she suggested her interviewee read Tiny Beautiful Things, citing the gorgeous writing and the insights into Cheryl Strayed's background as reasons for doing so. This intrigued me, so I added this book to my list—and I LOVED it. I kept sneaking moments to read it. There are certainly topics and verbiage choices that are crass/do not align with my belief systems, but if you are familiar with Cheryl Strayed's writing and personality, that comes as no surprise and, thus, did not bother me too much. I highlighted the heck out of this book—there were so many good insights and lots of wisdom—and I know I will be recommending Tiny Beautiful Things to fellow readers for years to come.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Pros: Really interesting story, well-written, quick read. Cons: I didn’t get sucked in, and I’m not totally sure what the hype is about with this book. I did like it, though, and I think it’s worth reading.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
A beautiful, captivating book that explores love, brokenness, and the many, many different ways that families can be planted, nurtured, and bloom. I loved this, especially the ending, and I have a whole new respect for the meaning and language of flowers. Highly recommend!
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
I went back and forth on how I should rate this book. On the one hand, it's so well-written and very captivating (the character development and plot lines were both excellent, making me not want to put the book down for the majority of my reading experience), which makes me want to give it all the stars. On the other, the subject matter is very dark, and it gets even more dismal/shocking as the book progresses—until the end, that is. No spoilers here, but I found the end to be very redeeming. I was almost ready to throw in the towel about 80% in due to the depressing nature of the content, but I felt pulled to finish the book and I'm glad I did. Even though there were difficult parts for me to read and process (I especially found the language in Simon's chapter regarding his personal life and relationships to be unnecessarily crass), overall I felt that this book was a literary victory that's worth a read. That being said, highly sensitive readers should be prepared for difficult content and a recurring theme of death.
Class Mom by Laurie Gelman
What a fun, fun book! This was exactly what I needed after reading back-to-back books with really serious content. I devoured this book (I read it in just over 24 hours)—I got sucked into it the way you might binge-watch a great Netflix show. So funny, easy, lighthearted, and entertaining. Highly recommend!
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell
Maggie O'Farrell's writing is beautiful, and I can't wait to read her fiction. While I think this book is a literary success, the topic (seventeen brushes with death) is obviously dark and, pending your current life situation, potentially difficult to read. I came away with an understanding of what O'Farrell wanted to accomplish from a literary perspective, but that doesn't mean it's not kind of depressing. I am giving this book three stars because of how beautifully written it is and how interesting O'Farrell's perspective is, but I don't think this is going on my favorites list—at least not right now.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
A beautiful book with excellent writing + a moving storyline & such good character development. An all-around win—highly recommend!
Image via This Little Street