Tag Archives: Books

Book Review: This Is Where I Leave You + Eleanor & Park

September 10, 2014

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Have you ever read a book, loved it, and then had a friend hate it? Or worse, have you ever read a book, loved it, and then read a scathing review that makes you reconsider your basic human intelligence and emotional depth?

It’s like a punch to the stomach. It’s also good to get a little perspective.

The other day I finished a book, loved it, and immediately texted a friend who said, “Are you kidding? That book was a piece of trash! Do you hate women?” Okay, she didn’t actually say that. In fact, all of her critiques were fair, valid, and most importantly–hilarious. It made me rethink the book and my response to it, which is always a good thing.

Like any book hoarder, people are always asking me, “What should I read? What novel mightn’t I order? What can you specifically recommend to me according to my personal reading history and unique taste?”

It is hard to recommended books to people. Everyone has different standards they use to measure a book’s worth, different ways they receive a story. Here are two books I read last week and really enjoyed. Both are simultaneously loved and hated, torn apart and highly praised on Goodreads and Amazon. Of course they have their faults (formulaic plots and flawed characters), but I was entertained, charmed, and most importantly–kept awake by both stories.

At this point in my life, if the book keeps me awake–I consider it a good one.

Have you read these books? Tell me your thoughts (I can take it). Have you ever read a book everyone else despised?

Happy reading.

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1. This Is Where I Leave You

this is where I leave you

If You’re Looking For: Comedy, dysfunction, dark humor, inappropriate giggling

If You Like: Running With Scissors, Death At A Funeral

My Review: This is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. There were times I thought, “Well, he obviously wanted this to be a movie…” and “Stop objectifying women, you Hollywood clown!” But I also laughed enough to make me text a half dozen friends and say, “You really need to read this.” Bottom line: The main character (Judd) is a misogynistic juvenile, but the punchlines are worth the read.

Their Review: “The novel is artful and brilliant, filled with colorful narratives and witty dialogue. … [Tropper] can find the funny in any situation.” -Associated Press

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2. Eleanor & Park
Eleanor and Park

If You’re Looking For: Coming-of-age love stories, to feel feelings

If You Like: Age Of Miracles, The Fault In Our StarsWe Were Liars

My Review: This book shot me straight through my sappy, sentimental, young adult fiction heart. I couldn’t get enough of Eleanor’s dry perseverance and Park’s quirky, heartfelt love. Heavy with sadness and light with love, the writing is clean and well presented despite some dark themes. Bottom line: Dynamic characters with a well driven plot makes this teen romance fit for adults too.

Their Review: “I’ve often said that nobody should write for teens who doesn’t remember what it was like to be one. Rainbow Rowell remembers, and has captured it beautifully in this book.” -Some lady on Goodreads

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Favorite Books

Book Review: Paper Towns + Sharp Edges + You Before Me

August 6, 2014

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I’ve read three books since the last book review, which may sound ambitious but is more a reflection of my commitment to avoiding real work.

Last time I read two great ones following five amazing ones. A lemon was inevitable, and I only say that to remind us that it is okay to not fall in love with every book we read and share that in a tactful way. Today I give you three books that maybe you loved, will love, hated, or only liked in a very medium way.

August is the Sunday of Summer and I’m going to slow it down with as many books as I can. Happy Reading.

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1) Paper Towns

Paper Towns John Green

Rating: 2/5

If You Like: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, Divergent, Twilight, Young Adult Fiction

My Review: The first quarter of the book was wonderful. After that, I never wanted to hear the name “Margo Roth Spielgelman” again. This book suffers from its own storyline, like a cheap rom com that leaves you feeling slightly irritated. All in all it was predictable, formulaic, and young, with random bursts of funny dialogue. In one word: unremarkable.

Their Review:A teen-pleasing read…intelligent thinking…many hilarious exchanges…[readers] will enjoy the edgy journey and off-road thinking.” –Booklist

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2) Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects

Rating: 3.5/5

If You Like: Vernon God Little, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Nearer Than The Sky

My Review: This is a horror story. It’s creepy, disturbing, and terribly unnerving. There were many times I had to stop reading just to give myself a break from the emotional and physical toil the book dumps on you. An easy five stars for the writing, but the content is so unhealthy, or as many readers call it “nasty,” that I could not truly recommend it in full confidence to most people.

Their Review: “A first novel that reads like the accomplished work of a long-time pro, the book draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction…Flynn’s book goes deeper than your average thriller. It has all the narrative drive of a serious pop novel and much of the psychological complexity of a mainstream character study. All in all, a terrific debut.” -Alan Cheuse, The Chicago Tribune

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3) Me Before You

me before you

Rating: 4/5

If You Like: The Fault In Our Stars, The Rosie Project, crying.

My Review: Funny, sweet, easy to read. The plot is relatively simple but not without some complicated and ethical questions. I wanted to give it five stars for making me feel all the feelings, but the writing is a bit sloppy at times. Still, a well paced love story despite itself. It is hard to keep your heart from breaking.

Their Review: “A hilarious, heartbreaking, riveting novel . . . I will stake my reputation on this book.” -Anne Lamott

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All five-star rated books here.