February Reads

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I've been in such a reading slump this month, which is a bummer in general but especially after reading so many good books last month.

I tried reading "Alias Grace" by Margaret Atwood but ended up opting for the Netflix show instead. Luckily, I managed to finish two books just this past weekend so I do have something to talk about in this post.

Book 5:
"Vanishing Acts" by Jodi Picoult
Plot: Delia Hopkins was raised by her widowed father Anthony Hopkins in New Hampshire. Years later, when she is 32, the police show up at her house to arrest him for kidnapping. She's sure it must be a mistake, but he doesn't deny it. In fact, he admits to it, revealing that the girl he kidnapped was Delia herself, only her name then was Bethany Matthews and his was Charles Matthews.

When she was four years old, he took her out for the day and never came back. He drove across the country, got them both new identities, told her that her mother died, and raised her as Delia Hopkins, lying to her for so many years that she not only believed it, but forgot the truth. Now arrested, Delia's fiance is the lawyer defending him in court.

Thoughts: Picoult is my favorite author, so I picked this up in hopes that she could pull me out of my reading slump. Unfortunately, I wasn't wowed by it like I usually am with her books. Though the premise is interesting, it felt like there were far less twists/surprises/punches to the gut that her books usually have.
We make messes of our lives, but every now and then, we manage to do something that's exactly right. The challenge is figuring out which is which."
Rating: 2.5/5

Book 6:
"Tiny Beautiful Things" by Cheryl Strayed
Plot: "Dear Sugar" was an online, anonymous advice column, since revealed to be written by Cheryl Strayed. Now, "Tiny Beautiful Things" is a collection of those entries wrapped up into a funny, comforting, honest book.

Thoughts: This is one of those books that I read gradually, a story or two at a time. It was on my nightstand for months as I slowly made my way through it. Knocking off one star because many of the responses would start with Strayed telling a story of her own rather than directly acknowledging the letter. I get that she's drawing from personal experience, but it sometimes felt self-absorbed. I also wish more of the letters were relatable. So many were about such a specific situation that I couldn't really pull too much from it.

Still, I do have a handful of chapters dog-eared to go back to in the future, to re-read and re-absorb the advice. This book is real, and honest. Since starting it, I've enjoyed listening to the podcast version too, called "Dear Sugars."
Transformation often demands that we separate our emotional responses from our rational minds ... I think it would help you to lean rather hard into the rational right now. Not to deny your grief, but rather to put into perspective what seems to be most true."
Rating: 4/5

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