Monday, April 13, 2020

Book Reviews - Language, Libraries, Feels and Thrills

Y'all, I have got to be better at reading in some sort of rhythm! This was just such a beyond random mix even for me!

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George was the most recent pick for my in-person book club. Here is my biggest complaint - I wanted more bookshop. There was this really neat concept of a literary apothecary, and I just wanted so much more of that than I ultimately got. If that had been the primary focus, I think I would have been raving about this one. Anyway. What this book more so focuses on is love. Monsieur Perdu, the literary apothecary, had a great love. He never read her last letter to him 20 years earlier. He finally does, and some tragic news is revealed. He then decides to take his bookshop onto a boat to resolve some feels about the one that got away. He heads off on his journey working through his stuff, building relationships, and every once in awhile there are some book-related things. For me, I again struggled because what drew me in wasn't there enough, and I just wasn't as captivated by the parts of the plot that were the focus. 

Pretty Bitches: On Being Called Crazy, Angry, Bossy, Frumpy, Feisty, and All the Other Words That Are Used to Undermine Women edited by Lizzie Skurnick was a phenomenal essay collection on how language is weaponized against women. Each chapter was written by a different author reflecting on a word that's use towards them had an impact. Each author talked about when this first happened, how this continued to stick with them, and how they finally overcame. Y'all, this was some powerful stuff. As women, I think we have these words, and it's important to reflect on these, name their impact, and determine how to navigate the associated emotions. For me, the most powerful essay was the first in the collection about the word TOO. I didn't realize how that word was so knowingly used against people, and I started to even reflect on how I'd seen that happen in my own life. Y'all, there was such power in the opportunity to reflect in this way through these essays. Was it painful? Yes, but again there was also that positive impact about being able to chart a way forward. Each of these essays was so honest and personal, and I loved the way each reflected and processed through the impact of language. This is a phenomenal collection that examines words in a way that is so very important.

Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak was a book that came to me as a recommendation from a librarian. I gave her some things I read, and this is where she directed me. I came in not knowing what I was really getting into, but trusted the direction. This book is a heartbreaker, but also a really beautiful exploration of emotion. The story is told in two timelines. First, there is the after. Quinn has lost her best friend Dylan. Previously, she had spent fun, memorable summers at a camp her family owns. She is now navigating grief, as well as complex family dynamics based on what happened. In the before, it is the story of the summer leading up to the accident. In this time, Quinn was crushing on her best friend, and she was trying to figure out how to let him know. This is further complicated by the way her two siblings, and older sister and brother, feel about Dylan. The story then slowly builds to what happen around Dylan's death. Also, in the present, Quinn meets a new guy. She carries around so much baggage, and Alexander is a chance to start fresh, but again, the before is still a big part of who she is. Y'all, this was a book that was just full of so many different feels, and they were also deep, intense feels. It was just a beautifully written, emotional story.

The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman was a thriller - I note that to begin as I'm not reading thrillers as much as usual, so it's just worth noting for that reason. This one is about a group of college friends who decide to finally reunite after not having been together for years for a baby shower/girls' weekend. As you can imagine given the genre, there's some ish between them. One of the primary underlying grudges is between June, a community college professor, and Sadie, a famous author who is hosting the weekend. June was once romantically involved with June's husband prior to him dating Sadie. So, the group gets back together, and secrets start to resurface. Within the group of five, there are secrets between pairs, and they start to become revealed to others in the group, and that makes people feel a certain kind of way. Then, Sadie turns up missing, and all the fingers start getting pointed. Things are especially complicated because none of the women remember the night Sadie vanished. This is a thriller that kept me turning the pages as I there was all the drama and deception, and I wanted to know who was responsible. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this June 2020 planned release.

Onto the next ones!