Okay, well, it's been 6 months since my last book review, so that's realllllll embarrassing. I have read books in between then and now, though not nearly as many as I would have liked. Over Christmas, I read about 3 books and bought 8 more, but have barely touched them since. Part of it was that I started Swing Time and never got into it, but also felt like I couldn't give up on it (so much love for it!) so I basically just ignored books altogether... And then last night I read all of Commonwealth in one sitting, so lets hope there's some traction.
Commonwealth // Ann Patchett is a forever favorite, and Commonwealth is no different. The characters and detail are so engrossing, it's a book that can make you forget where you are. Again, I read it cover to cover in one night, not on purpose, but because I got stuck in the one more chapter/one more chapter/one more chapter cycle. Following the lives of two families that come together in an unexpected way, it's a beautiful book for just about everyone - just real enough, without being a huge downer, plus some exceptionally funny moments.
The Sun is Also a Star // Young adult fiction is one of my favorite ways to get back into reading if I've taken an unexpected hiatus, and this novel was the perfect thing over Christmas. A story told over a single day, it's definitely YA romance, but also a lovely story with interesting characters. I found the premise (deportation imminent, girl and boy wander around NYC together) a bit trite, but loved the variety of view points, especially the secretary of the immigration attorney. It never got sappy, but this is absolutely a John Green style book.
The Underground Railroad // I had a bit of an existential crisis after reading this book, which presents the Underground Railroad as a literal railroad under the ground. I might have spent some time googling, just to make quite sure that was a metaphorical railroad, not an actual one. Apart from that tiny breakdown, this book is extraordinary. It's not exactly enjoyable - any book that tells a story about slavery with this level of detail and rawness isn't going to be, but the writing is transportive and the characters are presented in such a way that they seemed three dimensional. I was floored by this, just like literally everyone else.
Lily and the Octopus // Do not read this book is ASPCA commercials are too much for you. Lily and the Octopus is a beautiful examination of the relationships we have with our pets, and I absolutely tried to force my dog to cuddle me for a while after I finished it. One of my favorite aspects of this novel is Lily's voice - literally and figuratively. She is smart and delightful, and her relationship with her human is lovely. The story moves quickly, and the ending was about as good as it gets.
A Torch Against the Night // The second in the Ember in the Ashes series, I loved this book just as much as it's predecessor, which I read like a crazy person, wandering through an airport. Part fantasy, part adventure, part romance, this is not an adult book, but that's cool. What it is interesting, many layered, frequently unexpected and exceptionally well-written. The plot moves very quickly, but balances a number of story lines very well. A perfect option for Game of Thrones fans sick of George R R Martin's shit.