February Reads

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Book 6:
"The Dinner" by Herman Koch
Two couples, one dinner. Two children, one crime. When Paul and Claire meet Serge and Babette for dinner, they don't know where the conversation will go. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son, and together, the boys have committed a heinous act, caught on camera. Despite a police manhunt, the boys have been identified only by their parents. Over the duration of one five-course meal, the conversation goes from polite to strategic, and the couples must decide how far they would go to protect the ones they love.

Upon finishing this book, my initial reaction was that even though it started off really mysterious and intriguing, the big reveal was a bit of a letdown. But a week later, I was reading a summary of the book and thought that the reveal was actually pretty good. In fact, the whole plot is pretty intense. Maybe it was just the way it was written that diminished its impact for me. Who knows. Still, I like the way it was written and would recommend it. It's an interesting first person POV that jumped back and forth between present and past events in a way that felt natural.

Movie coming in May.

Rating: 3/5

Book 7:
"The Circle" by Dave Eggers
Imagine a company more vast than Google. Your email, social media, banking information, photos – any and all data that defines you – in one place. You have one singular online identity, thanks to The Circle, the most powerful Internet company. That's where Mae works. Glass walls, employee dorms, and daily parties and activities. It's the opportunity of a lifetime. But as Mae becomes more immersed in the company, and her life becomes more public, we are left wondering, how much is too much? How far is too far?

I'm sad to say that this book was disappointing. The whole idea of technology taking over really isn't too unrealistic in today's world, so I was looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, it fell flat. The invasiveness of it all, the obsession with having everything online, the way Circlers would whine about not getting enough validation through whatever social media outlet... it was creepy, which again, isn't too unrealistic, except for the fact that it seemed like we weren't supposed to find it creepy. Apparently we were supposed to be on Mae's side, despite her being a boring and easily dislikable character.

Even so, I'll probably still see the movie when it comes out. I'm hoping it takes the story from a different angle and turns out better.

Movie coming in April.

Rating: 2/5

Book 8:
"Before I Fall" by Lauren Oliver
What would you do if after you died, you woke up again, on the morning of that same day? That's what high school senior Samantha Kingston has to figure out. After a day of classes, Cupid Day roses, and a party with her best friends that night, she dies in a car accident on the way home. Then she wakes up the next morning, reliving her final day. After a week of living and dying, Sam realizes the power that one life can have and that even the smallest change can have a big impact.

I decided to pick this one up once I found out it was turned into a movie, and I really liked it. If you're weary about Young Adult novels like I tend to be (no offense to YA lovers – they're usually just too stereotypically cheesy for me!), you don't have to worry about this one. Though it's centered around high schoolers, it was very realistic. Overall, I felt it was a good story with a good moral.
My point is: maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around in it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know."

Movie coming in March.

Rating: 4/5

Book 9:
"Talking As Fast As I Canby Lauren Graham
Lauren Graham's second book, first non-fiction, "Talking As Fast As I Can" is a collection of real-life stories, about growing up, becoming an actress, and starring as Lorelai Gilmore, a role that became so meaningful to her that speaking her name in the revival nine years later brought her to tears.

My favorite parts of this book were the behind-the-scenes fun facts on "Gilmore Girls" and "Parenthood." I love when we're given that little peek behind the curtain. Aside from that, I actually felt like it could have gone a little deeper into Graham's life. I don't know what I expected, but I finished and felt a little unfulfilled. (Then again, maybe she didn't want to get too deep. Can't blame her for that one.) Still, it's a nice read with some valuable takeaways. Those of you who are big Lauren Graham fans and are more familiar with her might enjoy the book even more than I did.

Rating: 3/5

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