Went to the British Library yesterday and took the Treasures Tour. So amazing.
Daunt was one of the places I might have been most excited about going to in London so I had to head there my first day here. Such as lovely as anticipated and I am now starting to worry about fitting my new books in my luggage.
As many have already said, this #Tob24 longlister is way too long. It is still a pick because when it was at its best I was riveted by this story of a widow researching the life of her famously secretive artist wife to set the record straight after a posthumous biography is published without her consent. Set in an alternative history, the more she learns the more she realizes she doesn‘t know about her wife or their marriage.
A drizzly morning made for perfect bookstore browsing. Very jealous that Bath has so many fabulous bookstores. Limited myself to only buying one but it was really hard. Off to London tomorrow.
There was absolutely no way I was coming to Bath without visiting Persephone. I managed to leave after purchasing only one book but several more were added to my wishlist.
Took off to England on Thanksgiving. My to-do list is largely dominated by bookstores. First up- Mr. B‘s Emporium in Bath, a wonder of a store filled with plenty of spots to pause and dip into a book and passionate staff. This is the kind of bookstore I would love to be a regular at. If the trip continues this way I will have to buy more luggage.
As someone who doesn‘t often like short stories it seems weird to say that I think I would have liked this more as a short story. I liked the beginning and what I thought the author was trying to with a gay mountain lion protagonist but as the admittedly short book progressed I became less and less enchanted. #tob24.
I think trying to cram shorter #tob24 books in before leaving on vacation was a mistake because I am not liking any of them and am starting to feel like a contrarian. Honestly I knew from the start I should have bailed on this one. I found it painful rather than funny but the audiobook was short and I was afraid things would improve and I would miss out.
One of my coworkers has been relentless about my reading this book ASAP and while I didn‘t love it quite as much as he did I did really like it. An orphan hiding his past is adopted in order to be used to investigate an elite academy-interesting world building and lots of twists and suspense make up for some pacing issues. I‘m concerned about the direction the sequel will take but I will definitely be reading it.
I have been contemplating the challenges I want to participate in next year. Like many Littens I have so many neglected books on my own shelves that I always intend to get to and never quite do. So I decided to create my own challenge, 24 unread books pulled off my shelves that I intend to finish before the end of 2024. If anyone is interested in joining in, let me know. #24in2024
Set in early 1900s Iowa, the return of Ruth to the small town she left years with another woman‘s husband, has unexpected consequences as everyone is forced to confront their feelings about her and her actions. This book surprised me so many times and although times have changes I found this more thought provoking than expected because of how sympathetically the characters are treated.
One of the shortest titles in the #tob24 long list, this is a collection of pieces set in Veracruz that aren‘t quite journalism and also aren‘t fiction. Vivid and bleak but propulsive, it is easy to tear through the entire collection in one sitting. However as per usual, considering my difficulties with most short stories, I struggled with the brevity of each piece. I am not the reader for this one.
The beginning of this book had we wondering what everyone was finding so special about it . The end had me in tears. I so get it now. This emotional family saga was definitely the right book at the right time but it was also pretty darn special.
After a long week I just couldn‘t do it and I honestly didn‘t even try very hard. Two more books to go on the Booker short list but I won‘t read them in time and I am ok with that since I reading the list was a total impulse.
A girl runs from her Colonial town and has to fight to survive the winter wilderness. We suffer alongside her as she battles hunger, cold, and exhaustion and learn where is is from and why she is running as she contemplates her own past. Vivid and dark this was a book I experienced more than read.
I chose to go back to Ishiguro‘s debut for this month‘s #authoramonth. This book left me with more questions than answers about the narrator‘s life as we are given glimpses of her past in Japan and her present day life in England but piecing together her story through what she‘s hates and doesn‘t make this quick read all the more substantial.
I absolutely picked this up because of its cover. Grace has a lot to be angry to about as she ditches her car in traffic on a quest to bring a birthday cake to the daughter that is currently not speaking to her. We are given glimpses of those reasons in flashbacks as she wanders London having misadventures. I think I would have liked this book more if it had a little less going on. By the time she picks up a golf club I felt my interest waning.
Two people get married to flee the Spanish Civil War and migrate to Chile. They are not in love. He was the the brother of the deceased father of her child. However they agree to journey together for a chance to survive neither knowing what the future holds. This was a slow paced book that taught me about Spanish and Chilean history while I fretted about fictional characters. A soft pick but well worth a read.
In a near future where animals are going extinct at a rapid rate a woman is determined to follow terms on their last migration. After reading so many conflicting reviews I wondered where I would fall. Thankfully I really liked it. I cared less about Franny‘s backstory and was more interested in her journey at sea on she set sail with a crew that doesn‘t especially trust her or want her on board. The writing was so transportive.
I have loved Artemisia Gentileschi since learning about her in a Women in Art class in college so I had to read this. I worried that since I already knew quite a bit about her life I wouldn‘t enjoy a fictional account but I was still interested in Fremantle‘s version and very much moved by Gentileschi‘s strength and perseverance. I wanted it to cover in more of her life as there was so much to come but understood why it focused on what it did.
I absolutely adored this book. Yes, it is about a newly married couple who learns that the husband is mutating into a great white shark, and yes, in the book mutations are just a thing that can happen. But as I read I realized the mutations could easily represent the isolation and grief cause by any disease or illness. It was a beautifully strange book filled with love and grief and will undoubtedly be one of my top reads of the year. #booked2023
After reading all of the so-so reviews my expectations were low but I ended up loving this book. Beautifully written and heart wrenching this story was based on in true events which makes it even more difficult to worry about the characters after the story ended. I haven‘t read Tinkers but think I should correct that.
Three time periods in a man‘s life, three secrets kept, three glimpses into the artist as a man, lover, and father. This book was so good. My second book by Everett and I cannot wait to read more.
A boarding school, murdered girls, and a ghost-perfect October read. This was about as creepy a ghost story as my scaredy cat heart can handle but the story of Mary Hand really worked for me and I kept wondering what every character who encountered her saw. It ended up my my favorite part of the book and convinced me to try another book by the author. I enjoyed the mystery as well although the ending felt a little too neat. #authoramonth
I work alongside people who are struggling with addiction and have witnessed many moments when people have shared their pasts, some in personal conversations with fear in their eyes that they would see judgement in mine and some publicly when they were in a place to give hope to others. Hardin‘s memoir about her journey with addiction, jail, and shame really touched me. Thank you @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks for sending it my way.
This book covers a 2017 a racist Instagram account started by a student at an Albany, CA, high school with many posts directed at classmates and how its discovery was handled by the school system, parents, followers of the account, and those victimized by it. Slater is careful to represent all sides of the issue and researched every aspect thoroughly, to point of too much of a good thing to be honest. It was still a really interesting read.
It is such a disappointment when you finally get your hands on a much anticipated read that everyone around you seems to love and discover that it just isn‘t for you. Part of me always feels like I must have read it wrong somehow. There is beautiful writing here and all the ingredients for a book I would usually love but I came close to not finishing it.
A surprise pregnancy certainly changes Eve‘s life but it also affects those around her like her best friends and the one night stand turned father-to-be. Everything is messy and complicated because that is how life works but nothing ever verges into the overly dramatic and there is so much warmth in this book mixed in with a dash of humor. The romance is incredibly sweet but comes with moments of major swoon. I really loved this book. Out 2/13/24
This is was an easy decision this month. I had to go with the book that felt like being reunited with old friends laughter and tears included. #readingbracket2023
I really wasn‘t planning on reading the Booker shortlist but I was curious and ended up checking to see what was available at my library and one thing led to another. Honestly not sure how how this book about a grieving family made the short list. There was nothing that stood out to me in the story or the writing other than the fact I have never to my recollection read a book where a character plays squash.
I just love these characters so much (and the mysteries are fun too).
I found parts of the plot of this conclusion to Binti‘s story unsatisfying but I still really appreciated the character‘s journey, how she changed so much with all she experienced and how she, and everyone around her, struggled with those changes. #authoramonth
Sometimes I just need historical fiction about someone who finds incredible courage and strength they never knew they had when faced with horrific circumstances. Who cares if it seems plausible or how well developed all of the characters are? Was this the best WWII novel I have ever read? Nope. Did I become very emotionally invested and read this book in practically one sitting? Yep. And I would do it again.
When 41 year old widow, Joanna‘s daughter brings her new husband to live with her,she has feelings she never expected. Steven is 35 and closer in age to her than his 21 year old wife and time soon shows they have even more in common. Joanna is expected to go gracefully into old age and be content with her quiet life but she isn‘t old and might not be all that content. More contemplative than scandalous, I thought this was a gem.
Late to the party on this one and I did really enjoy it. What surprised me was that it seemed to me like a standard romance and with all of the hype it was given I was expecting some sort of new take on the genre. It was still a good romance with a relatable heroin and an interesting backstage view of working at a sketch comedy show like SNL. It made me laugh, it made me emotional so a pick for me.
For me this suffered from middle book in the trilogy syndrome. It wasn‘t helped by the fact I started it on audio and had to switch to print when I realized I was losing focus. I loved Binti returning home after all of these experiences that have changed her so much. I wanted more of her with her family. However there is no way, after an ending like that on, that I could possibly pass on the next book.Light pick #authoramonth
Binti is the first of her people to be accepted to university. Because the Himba never leave home it is assumed that she won‘t go but Binti has big dreams. Leaving her family behind to journey through space should be the part of her voyage that takes the most courage but there are more tests in store for her. This was so short but the world building was great and I liked Binti a lot. Already have the sequel ready to go on audio. #authoramonth
I loved the start of this book. Although aspects were brutal (read the trigger warnings) I appreciated the world building and the ambitious scope of topics Okorafor tackles. However as the quest portion started things became more typical and the characters grew more annoying. Glad I finally read it, and I want to read more by the author, but this wasn‘t the five star read I anticipated.
#authoramonth #booked2023 #afrofuturismbook
I read Nimona and then watched the Netflix adaptation the next day. Both are great fun and while the movie made some changes it didn‘t stray from the heart of the story.
I struggle with short stories so for #booked2023 I turned to an author who writes stories that feel substantial and never leave me feeling unsatisfied. The themes and characters may feel familiar to a fan of Russo but nothing about these four stories felt stale to me. Instead it was like listening to a old and trusted friend.
This has been in my TBR for ages. It was a powerful portrait of strength and courage and also a reminder of how much I have taken for granted in my life.
From queen to prize of war given to Achilles, the man who helped slaughter her family Briseis gives voice to a perspective of the Trojan war not told before. The concubines well versed in the brutality of war as they cater to the warriors, nursing their wounds and warming their beds, caring only about survival and not glory or victory. Another book that took me too long to get to because I really liked it.
Billy is a happy go lucky guy. He loves his son, his job and living in Baltimore. When his son arranges for him to meet the drummer who was his celebrity crush even he doesn‘t think she would ever be interested. Margot has been a recluse since the public combustion of her marriage and her band. The last thing she expects is to feel a connection to a cardigan wearing music teacher. Sweet and funny, like Billy this book just made me happy.
I have a few unread books by Rushdie on my shelves and for #authoramonth I dutifully pulled one off and bailed after 100 pages. Before trying a second I checked this essay collection out from the library to ensure I would finish something. Covering literature and art but also featuring pieces on his friendship with Carrie Fisher and Covid I enjoyed this deeper glimpse into the undeniably brilliant mind of an author whose books aren‘t all for me.