Thursday, October 1, 2015

Books I Read in September

Considering I'm back in school, September was a delightfully good month reading-wise for me. Yay for audio books during the commute! I read a few really good ones (and a couple of just okay ones) this month. Let's get started.

Book Cover Collage

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - I ended up choosing this book due to a lack of planning on my part. I found myself getting in the car with no audio book to listen to during my commute, so quickly logged on to my library app and downloaded the first available title that looked decent. I'd at least heard of Liane Moriarty before. This book was fine. I guessed the big plot twist early, didn't care for any of the major characters, felt like people made a lot of dumb decisions (but I guess that is life), and don't feel the need to read anything else by Moriarty, but still not too regrettable of a pick. It did get me thinking about how different marriages respond to crises, so that's something.

The White Hotel by D.M. Thomas - I always hesitate to include books that were homework assignments in these lists, but I read the whole thing (which does not happen with all of the novels I'm assigned to read), so I want that noted and counted. This book. Well. What to say. In the purely intellectual context of my Modern Lit Theory class, I appreciated this book for what it had to offer on narrative structure and linguistic play. But I do NOT necessarily recommend this for pleasure reading. The erotic chapters are disturbing in a Freud-at-his-Freudiest kind of way, the Holocaust chapters are a punch in the gut, the rest is just a bit weird. Very post-modern and deconstructionist and all that kind of thing.

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn - Once again, I started listening to this book because it was available for immediate download when I got in my car one day (goal: stay on top of things and get my audio book downloads in order ahead of time). However, this one actually was on my to-read list, and wow. Just wow. SO MANY THOUGHTS. I learned so much from listening to this book, and while I don't 100% agree with all of the opinions and policy suggestions of the authors, I still highly recommend this book. This is one of those books that, if you know me in real life, I cannot stop talking about. My poor husband kept saying, "Please don't tell me anymore depressing things from your book!" because there really is some seriously disturbing stuff. The sex trafficking chapters were downright horrifying. I will have to do a full review on this soon.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion - So I had very little background going into this book. I only knew it was on my to-read list, and someone somewhere had loved it. I did not know it was a memoir about the loss of Didion's husband and her grieving process. I'd never read anything by Didion before, but this book was absolutely beautiful in a very heart-breaking kind of way. She is very honest and open, and I've never quite heard grief expressed like this before. Didion is a brilliant writer, and has a way of capturing a feeling perfectly. It was sad, but only because the life they'd lived together was so beautiful, and I enjoyed hearing about their marriage together. This will be a book I'll possibly want to revisit during my own future seasons of grief.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng - This book has been getting a lot of buzz recently, so I was excited to check it out. It wasn't necessarily what I expected, but I will say I enjoyed it. I'm not sure "enjoy" is the right word, considering this is a book about a rather dysfunctional family coping (or failing to cope) with the loss of their teenage daughter. The title is very apt; this book is  all about how much this family is unable to communicate, and that was very frustrating and tragic to witness. I understand why the children had a hard time communicating with their parents, they are just children after all. But the lack of communication between the husband and wife was extremely sad. It feels like so many things could've been worked out if they just would've shared with each other and been vulnerable and talked about their feelings! They needed a good therapist, or to read Brene Brown, but this takes place in the 70s, so I guess they were out of luck. Still, I think this one is a solid recommend.

Have you read any of these? I'd love to know your thoughts!

1 comment:

  1. I loved Half the Sky! Their second book, A Path Appears, is also very good and thought provoking. I've read three of Moriarty's books, and The Husband's Secret was my least favorite. I feel like her books are beach reads with just a touch more substance.