This is my second year doing #24in48 (where you read for 24 hours in a 48 hour period. I usually do it over a weekend so as to not kill myself!) I love doing a combination of books, things I’ve had on my TBR list for a while, finishing up books I’ve been slowly working through, and I’ll always throw something new into the mix! Here’s what I read:
- Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (I was not a huge fan, but I do appreciate Dunham’s honesty and approach to this pseudo-memoir. )
- Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs (A longer review of this series to come!)
- Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (I’d never read it and it was such a delightful collection of stories for children!)
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And other concerns) by Mindy Kaling (I loved this one. And started right away on her second.)
My ravishing friend Amanda shares my love for all things Alice and recently reviewed Alice by Christina Henry on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. You can read the full review here. I’m definitely adding it to my book list!
Alice isn’t your grandmother’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Hell, I don’t even know if it’s my version of it either. It’s dark, disturbing, both a retelling and a continuation of the classic, and I’m issuing all the trigger warnings. . . . But if dark and disturbing is your jam, then have at it.
P.S. Want more Alice? Amanda’s also written a recent post for Book Riot (what doesn’t this girl do?) with more Alice adaptations! Here
Review: The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
My life these past two weeks has been consumed by Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, which, like the character Lila, have proven to be “terrible, dazzling.” This deep and captivating portrayal of two women’s friendship is set against the poverty and violence of their village and the political turmoil in Italy. I was struck by these women, Elena and Lila, and their ambitions and intense relationships with language, reading, and learning, viewing education as the ultimate escape from their lives.
It’s nearly impossible to describe Ferrante’s writing, impeccably translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein, but it seems unique in contemporary Italian literature. It’s not flowery, but sparse implies some lack of power and feeling that could never be attributed to Ferrante.
And Ferrante herself is a small piece of the allure of her novels, as she writes anonymously. I don’t have the intense desire to know her that I see in the book world but I also strongly agree with her sentiments published in The New Yorker here.
I believe that books, once they are written, have no need of their authors. If they have something to say, they will sooner or later find readers; if not, they won’t. . . . I very much love those mysterious volumes, both ancient and modern, that have no definite author but have had and continue to have an intense life of their own. They seem to me a sort of nighttime miracle, like the gifts of the Befana, which I waited for as a child. . . . True miracles are the ones whose makers will never be known. . . . Besides, isn’t it true that promotion is expensive? I will be the least expensive author of the publishing house. I’ll spare you even my presence.
The Story of the Lost Child, the last and final book in the series, comes out September 1st!
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is undeniably one of the big books of 2015 and although I’m not usually a reader of the big thriller of the moment I found it incredibly unique and startling. The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller revolving around an unreliable narrator who, because of her alcoholism, blacks out during crucial scenes of the initial plot and has to recreate them to understand the increasing violence surrounding her. The book was riveting and fast-paced but also strikingly adept at portraying the violence and frailty of humanity.
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
I thoroughly enjoyed this fun and frothy sequel to Crazy Rich Asians. Kwan never skimps on the details of the lives of China’s rich and at times China Rich Girlfriend seems almost like an anthropological study with its witty footnotes and intricate accounts of families and social structures. I found that with this sequel I was more interested in the lives of the minor characters, specifically Astrid, Eleanor, and Kitty, and hope that Kwan continues to delve into their lives in the next book. And if anyone hasn’t heard Crazy Rich Asians has been opted for a film!
Project Fatherhood: A Story of Courage and Healing in One of America’s Toughest Communities By Jorja Leap
A group of former gang members come together to help one another answer the question “How can I be a good father when I’ve never had one?”
Jorja Leap follows the men of Project Fatherhood as they struggle to right themselves and their families in a community faced with chronic unemployment, poverty, and substance abuse. Their stories are at once heartbreaking and inspiring but overall they are vitally important as Leap paints a larger sociological picture that has enormous implications on our society.
Where’d you go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Where’d you go Bernadette? is one of the few novels I’ve read recently that I just had a lot of fun with! I read primarily nonfiction for work and even my pleasure reading is sometimes overly ambitious in terms of literary merit. Where’d you go Bernadette? and Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan are two books in recent memory that I’ve just laughed myself silly at. Semple’s novel is smart and sparkling with a not unusual but rarely pulled off mixed-media format. The story (which for most of the book is focused on the central question of well, where did Bernadette go? ) is an epic compilation of formats and voices, written in emails, letters, FBI documents, hospital notes, and the like. It’s incredibly successful and entertaining and pokes fun at tech company and west coast culture with much hilarity in its wake.