A Book Report for January and February
Something new here on buttons and blossoms: a monthly book report! A few years ago I used to share books that were inspiring to me in a blog post series. I also try to share my favorite books I've read for the year. I've been loving recommendations from other bloggers and on Twitter about what books they're loving and I thought, hey, I'd like to do that too! Plus it helps me get more non-Internet reading done and we can all use a little bit more of that in our lives.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. I asked for another Gillian Flynn novel for Christmas because I really liked Gone Girl and wanted to see what other twisty, dark stories she cooked up. Well, Flynn is one twisty, twisty writer. She is more creepy than Stephen King for sure. I think what makes Flynn's novels so intriguing are the psychological twists and turns her characters and the plot take. I mentioned to Nick that I couldn't picture exactly what the characters look like but I waited anxiously for how they would react to one another. Sharp Objects is the story of a writer for a small Chicago newspaper who returns to her rural hometown to cover the murders and disappearances of two pre-teen girls. Camille has her own secrets that she's been running from for years and must confront them and her strangely captivating half-sister when she returns to her mother's Victorian mansion. It was as gripping as Gone Girl but so much more strange. It's been a month and I'm still processing it all. If you like weird thrillers with dark undertones, read it. If you can't stomach strangeness and a super creepy story line, skip it.
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper. I read this book before I saw the movie but I love them both equally. The story follows Judd Foxman as he returns home to sit shivah for his deceased father...right after catching his wife in bed with his boss. While Judd is the main character, you'll find equally intriguing stories within the lives of his three siblings, mother, and childhood friends. This book made me laugh and cry. It's a true portrayal of what it's like to be a part of family, which so many authors struggle to capture. It's also a moving way to discuss loss: of a parent, of a marriage, of love, and of what you think you know and understand. Read the book then watch the movie; you won't be disappointed.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler. If you didn't know Amy Poehler wrote an amazing book, where have you been?! I always worry about reading over-hyped books (at one point I saw one stylized instagram of Yes Please a day). Will it be as good as everyone says? The answer is most definitely yes. Amy Poehler is one amazing woman. She is so real and relates her experiences growing and evolving in a real voice that speaks to women and men alike. This book is about her experiences and she doesn't lie about her struggles or her triumphs. I loved the behind-the-scenes take on the comedy scene and SNL, reminiscent of Tina Fey's Bossypants. I also loved that she didn't lie about how hard you have to work to make something of your life. It's also a book with perfect quotes on every page. "Watching great people do what you love is a good way to start learning how to do it to yourself."
All the Summer Girls by Meg Donohue. (not pictured, read on my Nook) I really wanted to like this book. It's the story of three best friends who had a falling out after a terrible accident one summer in Avalon, NJ. The "girls" are nearing their thirties and travel to the beach town when one's fiance leaves her a few months before the wedding. Soon their secrets from that summer start emerging. Unfortunately you knew that was coming. From the very first chapter, you know that there's this TERRIBLE SECRET looming over them which caused the rift. After awhile you start to doubt that they were ever really friends from the way they react to one another. The secret is revealed about halfway through and then slowly and painfully they reveal how they each played a part in the secret. But it's not surprising and there's really no interesting or satisfying resolution to it at all. All the Summer Girls wasn't chick lit but it wasn't a solid fiction read so it ended up falling short of interesting.