Recent Reads #6

12/09/2020


Am... I... actually... caught... up... with.... Recent... Reads? It's a Christmas miracle! I've been fighting off a reading slump for the past month or so, did lockdown mess with your reading habits? Help me feel not so alone! These are all the books I've recently read.

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The Bookshop 

by Penelope Fitzgerald

It's 1952 and Florence Green is risking everything to achieve her dream of opening a bookshop. But unlucky for her, the town she chooses are always against her endeavor. Can she beat the odds and succeed?

I only become familiar with this book because of the movie adaption that seemed promising. Like all bibliophiles I declared before my cats "I will read the book first!". This is a quiet book that has a very British feel to it. I feel like if you enjoyed 84, Charing Cross Road or The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society you will find some comfort in The Bookshop. It can be a rather frustrating read because of the townsfolk who see no purpose in books, but the protagonist's heart really carries the story. I gave it a 3 star rating as I wouldn't necessarily reread this as it was a slow burn, but I'm glad I picked it up and look forward to watching the movie. It was a perfectly fine read.



It Ends With Us

by Colleen Hoover

Lily hasn't always had the best luck when it comes to love. Her teenage love Atlas left suddenly and her heart has never truly healed. However, when she meets Ryle, a handsome neurosurgeon, she starts to think that maybe love is possible for her after-all. 

I read Heart Bones earlier this year and it was my first ever Colleen Hoover book. I didn't hate it, but I also didn't particularly love it. However It Ends With Us felt like a true Colleen Hoover experience. I laughed, cried, and got my heart broken a million times. What essentially sells itself as a romance featuring a love triangle ends up being a heartfelt story of female survival. The authors note alone broke me. I kept this synopsis vague as I truly did not know what to expect when I started this contemporary and I'm so glad I didn't as it gave me such a well-rounded experience. If this has been on your radar at all or you want to start Hoover's books but don't know where to begin, I recommend this.



The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle 

by Haruki Murakami

A man is on the search for his family's missing cat. Through that he meets a teenage girl who's discovering life, a prostitute who has a psychic sister, the psychic sister herself, and a war veteran who is ready to tell his life story. All the stories start to connect when the man's wife goes missing too.

Before this, I'd only ever read The Strange Library by the author and I hated it, but it was part graphic novel and really short. So.. I figured, it was a case of a weird book that didn't mesh well with me. I know I should've read IQ84 before The Wind-Up Bird Chr5oncile as so many people have told me to, but this one was available on Libby as an audiobook and I'm a sucker for reading TOME's in that format. I regret this so much. Okay, kind of not. If I had physically read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle I would've 110% DNF'd at the 100 page mark. I still wish I had, but I'm also relieved that I will never have any desire again to pick up this book. Firstly, I enjoyed the writing. It was far more accessible than I thought. I don't know why I had this idea that it would be abstruse than it was, but it was very daunting to start. However, the plot was all over the place. Much like a Stephen King novel, this was way too long and, honestly, went in way too many directions. I loathed the main character (if I never read a description of a nipple again, I'll be happy), he was basic, idiotic, and rather icky. The wife was no better. So many times I wanted to scream "what the hell are you doing?". The decisions rarely made sense, the war veterans stories were very boring (I say that as someone who usually adores historical fiction), and all the women seemed to only have sexual appeal going for them. No.. I wouldn't recommend. Now I'm absolutely terrified of picking up IQ84. Welp.



Exciting Times

by Naoise Dolan

Avo is a young woman who has recently moved to Japan in the hopes of starting anew. She doesn't know what she wants. Getting in a relationship with an older man who talks down to her but pays her way seems like a semi good idea..? But then she meets Edith, a woman who feels like her everything. How do you know what path to take in life when each one is vastly different?

This book is basically a queer version of Normal People, which is awesome. I enjoyed the writing, it had very dry wit written throughout and the characters were all well developed. I adored Edith, and though I wanted to throttle Avo multiple times, I always understood her. However, I already know that I'm going to forget that I ever read this. I feel awful for it, but it's true. It was the epitome of a 3 star book that you would recommend, but wouldn't reread.



Finding Audrey

by Sophie Kinsella 

Audrey is a fourteen-year-old who suffers from anxiety. She goes to therapy, is smothered in love by her mother, and wears glasses 24/7 to shield herself from the outside world. When her brother's friend Linus keeps showing up at her house, she begins to question whether she could recover.

Yup, this is a 'girl meets boy, girl is cured' story. But I knew that going in, so it shan't lose points for it's predictably. Audrey was a very well written main YA protagonist. She was nice, had a personality of her own, and didn't entirely revolve her life around the new boy. Her family was wacky AF, I know so many people hated this book because of Audrey's mother but personally I enjoyed their dynamic. Yes, it was unrealistic but any book like this will be. I mean, she changes her entire 'anxious traits' for a boy she's known for roughly a few weeks. It was silly but cute. This was my first Sophie Kinsella, have you read other novels by her? Recommend me some! 


Bossypants

by Tina Fey

I shan't do a synopsis for this as you likely already know that this is a memoir of the teacher from Mean Girls. This has been on my TBR for years, literally. It always seems to pop up on 'books every girl needs to read' lists, and Tina Fey is awesome, so why wouldn't I want to read this? It was fun. I liked the writing. I switched between the physical book and audiobook various times, but to be perfectly honest, neither caught my attention. Let's be frank, this wasn't what I was expecting. I don't know what I wanted, but this wasn't it. It often felt choppy, like she'd go from talking about her experiences on SNL to then go on and say 'it's okay to be skinny/fat!". It didn't seem to have a main purpose. Yes, it's a memoir (I guess?) but besides for her childhood, we never got a good look into her personal life. It was more of an overview. I would've enjoyed it way more if she had tapped into her labor, wedding, work experiences that didn't revolve around being a woman in stand-up, writing Mean Girls, being an older woman in Hollywood, etc. It always felt like Fey was showing her life from a distance which kind of is the opposite of a memoir. Meh. I hate to say this as I know so many love this book, buuuuutttt... it felt like a money grab. Sorry not sorry. 


Vinegar Girl 

by Anne Tyler

Kate is stuck in the same dead-end routine. Since her mother's passing, she's taken over all household duties and cares for her father and younger sister. When her father asks her to marry his lab assistant, chaos ensues. 

This is a Taming of the Shrew retelling, which I didn't know. Fun facts! However, it was just okay. The writing was seamless and I'm definitely interested in reading more by the author, the story itself however was a bit of a dud. It was, dare I say, a bit boring..? It also ended abruptly which threw me off. Meh. Glad I read it, but may unhaul. The cover is gorgeous though.

Keep safe!

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