May Reads

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Book 21:
"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" by Maria Semple
Plot: Bernadette doesn't exactly fit in. Her home has weeds growing through the floorboards, she avoids the other school moms, and she is so agoraphobic that most of her errands are run by a virtual assistant in India. This becomes particularly problematic when the time comes for her to go with her family to Antarctica, a trip she promised her daughter, Bee. Instead, Bernadette suddenly goes missing. By compiling emails, letters, and other various documents, Bee sets out to find her mother.

Thoughts: Despite the premise of a mother going missing, this isn't set up to be a mystery or a thriller. It's more of a quirky story revolving around a unique character. I really enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book or so in particular, with the story being told through emails/letters/etc. The remainder switched to Bee's narration, which was harder to get through. Overall, it's a fun story.  And I'm definitely going to start calling people "gnats" now, when they're annoying but not so much where they're worth any energy.

This guy was proving resistant to my many charms, or else I am without charm, which is probably the case."

Rating: 3/5

Book 22:
"The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein
Plot: Enzo is the epitome of man's best friend. His owner, Denny, is an up-and-coming race car driver, and Enzo is his biggest fan. Despite being unable to verbally communicate, they understand each other, and through Denny, Enzo learns about family, hope, and human behavior. "The Art of Racing in the Rain" is ultimately a story about life, and all of its ups and downs, through the eyes of a dog.

Thoughts: Such a pure and touching book. It's heartwarming, heart-wrenching, funny, and frustrating all in one. It's a simple concept taken to such a profound level that leaves you thinking about your own purpose in life (and what your pets are actually thinking). If you're a dog lover, this is definitely for you.

Learn to listen! I beg of you. Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories."

Rating: 4/5

Book 23:
"When You Find Out the World is Against You"
by Kelly Oxford
Plot: This book is filled with exactly what it says on the cover: funny memories about awful moments. We've all had them – maybe Kelly more than most. From getting her hair permed at summer camp to stalking her husband on a gay date, Oxford has a lot of stories to tell, and she does so with honesty and wit.

Thoughts: I read Oxford's first book last September and enjoyed this one even more. While I do wish some of the stories had a little more context to set them up, it was a great collection of essays. They're silly stories (for the most part) with meaningful messages. Her final chapter on the creation and virality of her hashtag #NotOkay is probably one of the most important book chapters to ever exist. I'd recommend this book for that chapter alone.

I don't know when this will all stop. Or when women will truly be equals. Sometimes I feel so alone, and other times I open my mouth or reach out and find that everyone is feeling the same way that I'm feeling. And that the world wants to discuss those feelings, no matter how painful. The sharing is maybe the thing that helps us see that the world isn't really against us after all. Maybe."

Rating: 4/5

Book 24:
"The One We Fell in Love With" by Paige Toon
Plot: Phoebe, Eliza, and Rose are identical triplets with very different personalities. Phoebe, the adventure lover, trying to choose between settling down or pursuing her passion of mountain climbing. Rose, the practical rule follower, learning to let her hair down. Eliza, the aspiring musician who's still figuring herself out. Despite their differences, they have one thing in common: Angus, the one they fell in love with.

Thoughts: I first came across this book almost a year ago and even though I'm usually not too interested in romance books, I was really intrigued by the plot of this one and immediately preordered it. It turned out to be less of a tangled love triangle and more about the sisters and their own individual storylines, which I liked. A unique story and a good read.

Rating: 3.5/5

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