Ah here we are again. Book discussion time!! I’m making my way through the book list quite beautifully and I think I’ll only have one more update before we make a totally NEW list! So, start thinking (and continue reading) about which books you’d want to make everybody (me) read. At the end of all of the reviews I’m going to post my 3 favorites so hopefully I’ll help you narrow some new reads down if you are still searching for something awesome. Now then… here we go! If you missed part 1, you can check it out here.
The Fifth book in my journey was Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Danielle Evans. This is a book of short stories from a writer who is alive, and old enough to be my friend but not old enough to be my mother. I had read one of her stories in one of the Best American Short Stories collections… It may have been 2010 or 2009, but I can’t remember now. What I do remember is that it was the only story I thought of, even to this day, from any of the Best American collections. She is an amazing writer and her stories are so real they could be happening to your neighbor, but so captivating they keep you turning the page.
My favorite story of the collection is called Snakes. But then as I was flipping through just now to find the name of it, I started remember all of the other stories and they all became my favorites too. So I guess my second favorite is Wherever You Go, There You Are and my third favorite is The King of a Vast Empire.
I have nothing bad to say about this book. Even if you don’t like short stories, you should run out and buy it and read it (maybe even savor it). You’ll be thinking about the characters and these stories for
I picked up The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho as the sixth read because I was ready for a little magic and a solid novel.
It was not what I expected.
It’s kind of written in an experimental way, it’s in chronological order but the entire book is made up of many different peoples’ accounts of the witch and how she interacted with them, or what they heard or felt about her. I found it initially slow and my mind occasionally wandered. But! It’s an incredibly calming read, incredibly thoughtful, and every time I picked it up I felt like I was going on a spiritual journey.
If you’re in the mood for some self-reflection, some pondering about the nature of the world and how we’re all inter-connected (with some magic and intrigue thrown in) you should check this out. You know what it kind of reminds me of? It’s a Benjamin Button story (minus the weird aging) or a Forrest Gump type of thing (without the Jen-ney), a character driven story to the max.
Seventh was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and Oh My God! This is the book I missed my train stop while reading. For reals. I love it so much because it is so fun and even though some of the romance stuff is over the top, the story is actually really smart. I love the historical fiction, I love the quirky characters, I love that the main character, Claire, is really smart and complicated and she hardly ever makes me roll my eyes. I LOVE THIS BOOK.
You guys, I love it so much that I had to start reading the eighth book early. I couldn’t read this book before work after my first week diving into it. It was too intense!! I would be at work, and for the first entire half of the day my brain would be in the Scottish highlands falling in love with a burly red-headed man and trying to escape the perils of the red coats. I am not even kidding. I have asked Kamel to adopt a Scottish accent several times. His response: “You really need to stop reading that book.” Yeah right… This is the most full on FUN I’ve had with a book in a really long time. I would say 70% of the books I read are page-turners, and about 20% of those are also incredibly smart and rave-worthy, but only about 5% of those are this fun.
But! I can’t decide if I want to head into the whole series of them. I’m having mixed feelings about getting book #2 and spending whole afternoons and evenings completely shackled to my book. It really really was preoccupying. I would get excited thinking about getting back to it! And then when I finished I mourned for two days that the story had ended and I couldn’t just go on living in this world FOREVER. Ok… I think you get the idea. So i’m not sure what to do. I know that the series kind of peters out when it comes to quality and I don’t want the story to become frustrating or unenjoyable. Please, give me some guidance on this one.
Like I mentioned above, number eight began as I was reading Outlander in order to keep myself functional. And what better book for sanity than… Watership Down by Richard Adams. A book about bunnies. All bunnies all the time.
The lovely Laura recommended this one. I remember because I thought, “Really? Bunnies?? Well… Laura said it was good… so I’m sure it’s amazing.” But I’m sort of still feeling like… really? Bunnies?
I generally have a hard time with stories about animals. I like animals, I do. I cried many times during Old Yeller. And I think dogs are awesome, and that cats are out to take over the world. And baby bunnies are kind of the bestest. But, I just have a really hard time caring about this story.
It’s a really fast read, there are a lot of things that happen in short bursts so it kept me relatively entertained with the pace, but every once in a while I would pop my head up and wonder… why am I giving a shit about the bunnies?
Laura, and anyone else who has read this, can you explain this to me? Even as I type this I feel like I’m probably a bad person for not caring MORE about this story. Am I just an ass hole? (The answer is: Yes, you bunny hating jerk.)
Alright! Who has read these books? What did you think? Should I read the next Outlander or will it just make me crazy and/or mad? Who is going to run out and buy Danielle Evans’ book of short stories? And who cares about bunnies? I’d like a show of hands please.