Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review

I haven't written one of these since February, and have read 20 books since then, so we're going to do a greatest hits.  Including one of my top 5 favorite books ever.

Exit West // As previously noted, the Amazon Best Books of the Month is my literary north star (and you, mother).  Exit West received rave reviews and made it onto their Best of 2017 so far list, so it was a must for me.  I, unfortunately, thought it fell flat.  The basic plot is that the world falls apart (not too much of a stretch, tbh) and magic-ish doors start popping up, allowing people to travel to different locations by stepping through them.  I was expecting adventure and intrigue, and instead, spent a whole bunch of time marooned in a London mansion.  Beautifully written and an interesting concept, I didn't fall in love the way the rest of the world did.

Killers of the Flower Moon // Add this to the list of books interesting to people with forming inane and deep knowledge.  I LOVED this book, but wouldn't say it's a literary masterstroke.  If, however, you are interest in the FBI, or in Native American history (white people suck), I couldn't recommend it more highly.  Basically, the Osage were treated unbelievably cruelly by their white neighbors, which eventually escalated to a rash of murders, which was solved by the early FBI.  The history is incredibly detailed and interesting, but this is definitely not for the faint of heart or anyone expecting a John Grisham adventure.

The Hate U Give // Required reading, in my opinion.  Told from the perspective of a black teenage girl in New Jersey (I think, it's unclear) who witnesses police violence on her black friend, I was so impressed by the authors ability to connect with her teenage protagonist, make a strong stand on police violence, and tell a mesmerizing story at once.  The author does a beautiful job of helping the reader both understand white privilege and what it feels like to not benefit from it.  Far from a angry/preachy dialogue, I felt like her combination of stark criticism of our current social situation and humor (these families are just families who love each other) made an enormous impact.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine // Spoiler alert, Eleanor is not fine. She is, however, witty, delightfully odd and a deliciously flawed main character. I had a tough time in the very beginning, in that I didn't immediately connect with her. Eventually, though, she wore me down, and I devoured the rest of the book.  Light on plot, the character development is superb, and I was pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns, and by the ending.  I would definitely recommend it.

Beartown // The aforementioned new favorite book.  I started it on the bus ride back from a softball game and stayed up to an unprecedented 2 am to finish it. Guys, it's so good and so hard and so lovely.  It's not a feel good story, but I think Fredrik Backman tells a better story than almost anyone else. It's about a hockey-obsessed town moving through the end of a phenomenal season, told from the point of view of the players, their coaches and other people in their orbit.  There is a sexual assault story line, as a warning, but it that doesn't deter you, I couldn't recommend it more highly.

1 comment:

  1. Happy to be in your literary constellation. Still struggle with hockey.