Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Books For Other People & LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA!

Sometimes I read books, and I don't love them. However, I think other people might. 75% of these books were that kind of read. 

Cool? Okay.

The Girls by Emma Cline just wasn't enough of what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be more about a girl got sucked into the madness of a cult. Instead, I felt like it was more about a girl who spent a summer "dabbling" in a cult. For me, this read more like a seventies coming of age story than the thriller it was said to be. What this was was the story of Evie. Evie is a 14 year old who is in that "rebel" stage of her life. She wants to push the limits, and she is captivated by a group of free spirits. The experiences she has with them will make for one heckuva essay on "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" as she spends time with the group. Overall, this book just didn't give me enough. I wanted more depth to Evie and the people she encountered. I wanted it to really be a deep dive into what it said it was about, and instead it was just a flyover recap of an almost, but not really cult experience.

Read this book if - You want to read a coming of age novel about a girl's not so great life choices. You want to read an almost, not quite story about a cult.

Eve by Wm. Paul Young was a lot of things, and I say that as a fact, as well as a critique. I absolutely loved the author's first book. The Shack was a beautiful exploration of faith, and I cried through it and adored it in a unique and special way. This story was another faith-based tale built around the creation narrative. It was an intriguing premise, and at times, it was too intriguing. There were so many layers to this, and it was a lot to process. It did have the beauty of faith exploration like The Shack, but the complexity of who the characters were (or weren't) made it hard to wholly take that in. Honestly, I feel like I would need to read this again to really get the intended impact. There were moments where I was captivated, but my confusion got in the way of truly loving this as I hoped I might.

Read this book if - You want a unique and intense exploration of the creation narrative.

Ohio by Stephen Markley was an advanced reader's copy that I wasn't able to get to before it was released way back in August. I also waited to read this one because I knew it was going to be emotional. Y'all, this one was even heavier than I expected. The story revolves around high school classmates a decade after graduation. For one reason or another, something has drawn them back to their hometown of New Canaan, Ohio. The thing is there's not much in New Canaan. It's a town that has struggled like many have with the recession, and these classmates have been hit by many of these struggles. The book has five narratives that also intersect as the author does a realest of real "Where are they now?" exploration while also revisiting the scars of high school that many of these characters still carry. The stories of then and now that these characters have are powerful, and at times they're hard to read. That speaks to how well the pain of each of these is described. I will also say that the end of this went to a level of intensity I did not see coming. It was well-written and kept me turning the pages, but y'all, WHOA. Overall, this book is heartbreaking and saddening, and you really feel those feels given the depth with which the author explores the past and present of each classmate. It's incredibly well-written, and you'll ache as you read it because it's beauty is in so much tragedy. 

Read this book if - You want a character-driven look at the impacts of the recession. You want the realest of real looks into "What ever happened to. . .?" 

So, these three books were not for me, but then, BUT THEN, I read this.

Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda was just a treat of a read. Each day, Lin-Manuel Miranda tweets a morning pep talk, and he ends the day with a nightly affirmation. This was a collection of some of these. This book was incredible. I want to turn to a random page in this each day for my daily dose of positivity and love. This is a book everyone could use in their life. It's so simple, but sometimes we just need a sentence or two to remind us that we can take on the day and/or that we're doing okay at life. Everyone (as in every human in life) could use this book. I loved it, and I'm sure you will, too.

Read this book if - You can read. Seriously, anyone who can read (or have someone read to them) could use this dose of happy in their life.

Until the next round!