Monday, February 3, 2020

January 2020 Book Review

Before I get into my review, I wanted to share 2 quotes I found - one in a book {of course} and one on Instagram.

The first one is from The Book-ish Life of Nina Hill. Nina works in a bookstore and is talking about the different types of readers they see. 'Romance readers tended to be fun and have strong opinions.' Nailed it in one, right? Ha!

The other was on the IG account @theconsciouskid. I have no idea if this is true, but it makes total sense and makes me feel so HEARD. 'Hey everyone. Don't let people make you feel bad for mourning a fictional character. I studied neuroscience in undergrad and your brain can't tell the difference between feelings for fiction and feelings for reality. All it knows is that you're feeling really strongly.' I need to show this to everyone who laughed when I cried at a book or movie! And it totally describes why I was so moved at the end of 1917!

Now onto my first book review of 2020! I read 6 books this month and, a bit surprisingly, 2 of them were non-fiction {and the book I'm reading right now is too!} and 1 was a POC book. It was a pretty diverse month of reading.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo - I don't know where I heard about this book, but it sounded fascinating. It is a non-fiction account of 3 women who have something different/wrong happening with their sexuality - one is a girl who was seduced by a teacher, one is having an affair, and one has a husband who likes to watch her with other people. This book was so well-written and was so interesting, but at times hard, to read. It gave me a lot to think about, especially around how our childhood {and what happens to us during it} really shapes a lot of our norms as adults. Not an easy read but very worthwhile - I also think mothers of daughters would really benefit from it as well!

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay - Well, this book was JUST a delight! Madeline has inherited her aunt's bookshop after her aunt passes away. This story follows Madeline and the 2 employees who work at the shop. I loved how the women were very complex and different, but they were also very good people who I wanted to be friends with. From the very beginning this book just pulled me in, and I wish I was still reading about these ladies! Having read it at the beginning of the month, it was really closely timed to The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, and both of those books made me wish I worked in a bookstore!

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger - I read When Life Gives You Lululemons last year and had no idea it was about one of the characters in this book until Emily let me know. I've seen the movie, but it was years ago, so I decided to check this out. And it was a great read! I think everyone knows the synopsis, so I won't share that, but it was such a sinfully decadent look into the world of high fashion and it was a hilarious and engaging story. I've already reserved the sequel!

The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes - I've read almost everything JoJo Moyes has written, and while she isn't my favorite writer, she's pretty damn awesome. This story jumps timelines starting in the 1960s where Jennifer wakes up after a car accident with amnesia. She's trying to rebuild her life with her husband when she finds a letter from someone she determines to be her lover asking her to run away with him. In present day, journalist Ellie finds this letter in her newspaper archives and sets about finding out who this couple is and what became of them. GAH! The heartache I experienced reading this book was high! It started out a little slow but once it got going I was sucked in. There were so many twists with this plot that I didn't see coming - although I did figure out one major one! It was a great read AND I found out was just finished filming as a movie coming out in 2020!

Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl - After both Emily and Natasha talked about how delightful this book was, I had to give it a try. Ruth was the Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet magazine, which to be honest, I'd never heard of. I'd never heard of Ruth Reichl either, ha! But she tells part of her life story about becoming the Editor-in-Chief and running a magazine. She is a gifted storyteller, and I really enjoyed this one.

A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mizra - HOLY EMOTIONS PEOPLE. This book chewed me up and spit me out, and almost a week after finishing it, I still have all these emotions. It follows an Indian-American Muslim family through 3 different timelines, but I'm only going to tell you about 2 of them. It starts with older sister Hadia's wedding where Amar, the youngest sibling, returns after running away 3 years earlier. You then go back in time with stories from the 3 siblings POVs - and their mother Layla's - growing up with their extremely religious and somewhat overbearing father, Rafiq. With these siblings we experience what it is like as first generation Americans blending century old traditions of their homeland with living in modern times and how hard it can be, especially if you don't feel like you fit the mold your parents expect, like Amar. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 3 parts of the book, but not in a happy way, if that makes sense. The 4th part ripped me open and left me wounded in a way I haven't recovered from. It was devastatingly raw and powerful. The writing of this story is amazing, the family dynamics are mesmerizing, this is a book that will stay with me for years to come. If you read it, let's have a mini-discussion on the 4th part, ok?!?!

I also thought it could be fun to share the books I'm currently reading with the kids: 

Trent and I are reading a YA-adapted version of Just Mercy by Bryan Stephenson - this has been a really good conversation starter with Trent about racism, white privilege, justice, etc. It's still a little mature for him, so I've had to leave out a few sentences here and there, but I'm so glad we're reading this together. I have cried so many times, and he has looked distraught at some of the facts presented in the book. It has been a fabulous experience for us so far!

Drew and I just started The Babysitters Club series - a favorite of mine from childhood {she got the first 6 books for Christmas} and are on the 2nd book, Claudia and the Phantom Phone Call by Ann M. Martin - These books are just as delightful as they were when I was a kid! I am loving joining these girls again and sharing them with Drew, who is also loving the stories. I'm hoping she enjoys them for years to come!

I don't have this on my 2020 goals, but I decided to set a goal of 100 books for the year, and I'm trying to do a much better job of using Goodreads - I'm not sure this is right, but I think you can find me here, I'd love to be friends! I finished a book on February 1, so I'm currently at 7 books read for the goal, yippee!


Erika said...

Well, just had to add a few of these to my holds list!! I'm SO glad you enjoyed (not really the word, but as close as I can get, haha) A Place for Us. Can you believe it is the author's first book, and she's in her early 20s, which means HOW INCREDIBLY LUCKY ARE WE TO HAVE LIKE 50 YEARS OF HER BOOKS TO LOOK FORWARD TO!??!?!?!

Emily said...

First of all, so glad you finally read The Devil Wears Prada, and so glad you agreed it’s hilarious. The sequel is... meh. I wouldn’t actually recommend it but if you do read it, keep your expectations superrrr low (it didn’t live up to half of what “when life gives you lululemons”). I’ve heard about “three women” from virtually every source possible and everyone universally agrees it’s a good but super hard read; Ugh. It’s hard to ever feel in the mood for a hard read, y’know? Of course I’m adding “a place for us” because a book that powerful deserves to be read!