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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Books of January 2017

Oh shoot. I almost forgot my January book round up! Our move is under way and we're currently decluttering, donating, and prepping our house for sale (we don't move for a few weeks). My brain is fried and I'm exhausted. But back to January...

It was my final month of work (11 years at the same place yada yada) and it was mostly filled with backing up files and going away bar outings. Luckily, I got out of town a few times: Athens, OH for a trail ultra documentary (with Devon Yanko) and DC for...things. Alex also went out of town- and got his upcoming job in Bozeman. Beyond travel and work, I ran a few races and somehow managed to keep up on my reading (/audiobook-ing). Without further ado...

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Rating: 4 / 5
I ended up listening to most of this on audiobook instead of reading and I'm glad I did. First, it's divided into five parts and is overly long. And second, the narrator had different voices for each character, which is always impressive.

Part one was really fun and did a great job setting the scene for friendship and romance. I dug Bex's time at Oxford, even if it's a little unrealistic she'd magically find herself in such an exclusive circle. And if you haven't heard, this is obvious Kate/William fanfic (names changed, characters edited). Some similarities were striking, but I think the authors handled the intersection of real and fake pretty well. Unfortunately, each part got a little slower and less interesting. Luckily Freddie (Harry) was there to liven things up while Nick was away.

I eye rolled the few obvious reveals (view spoiler) and Lacey. Move back to America and get your own life, grrrrl. The final section was also infuriating because it felt so manufactured. After 8 (?) years of being together (minus a break) we're supposed to believe there would be doubt the day before? Blah. I would have liked more about Bex finding her footing. She got pretty boring by the end.

Despite anything negative in the review above, I'll continue to read any book the Fug Girls release. They're funny ladies.

I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb
Rating: 4 / 5
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.
I have a few Wally Lamb books on my to-read shelf at home, but kept avoiding them because they are really long, so I was relieved to see this book wasn't. I got into the story immediately - probably because the main character's daughter is roughly my age. I liked the set up, the setting, and Felix's memories.

I wasn't wild about the "supernatural" element. In fact, I think it could have been omitted altogether. Felix could have taken a trip down memory lane prompted by his daughter's assignment. The trip could have veered slightly and covered Verna's story (via diary?) and I think he could have come across Lois Weber during his film school research. Oh well.

Despite my complaint, I enjoyed reading this and I appreciated the intention. Sometimes it's hard for me to read women-centric lit written by a man, but Wally Lamb did a great job. And many of the women's issues he discussed are, once again, timely (which I can't believe I'm saying in 2017!).

You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
Rating: 4 / 5
I ended up listening to most of this, but it'd be fine to read, too. The audiobook is read by the author, which is my preference in a memoir / essay collection.

I enjoyed the intersection of feminism, pop culture, race, and humor. I'd recommend to anyone who's read and enjoyed Roxane Gay or comedienne memories. Standout sections include "Uppity," "Casting Calls...," and "The Angry Black Woman Myth." She breaks down some infuriating situations with class.

I'll ding it one star for the "Letters to Olivia" section. It didn't seem as polished as the rest.

Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy #2) by Stephen King
Rating: 4 / 5I flew through this book when I had time to read, but it's not as good as the first one. Probably because Hodges isn't in it for over half of the book. I did enjoy the stories of Peter and Morris and that ending (very, very end / last page) was kind of.... interesting. I jumped into the next one (halfway finished as of today).

Casanova, Volume 1: Luxuria by Matt Fraction
Rating: 3.5 / 5I liked it... then I didn't... then I liked it again. Honestly, I think it bugged me early on how sexual the sister was with her brother. Beyond that, the art was great and the story was bizarre (which I enjoyed). I feel like this would make a good cartoon like ├ćon Flux (NOT the movie).

Casanova, Volume 2: Gula by Matt Fraction
Rating: 4 / 5
Lordy, I almost wanted to make a chart, diagram, or SOMETHING to make the timelines more tangible (before and during this set). And, gosh golly, I think you need a Masters in Comics to really GET THIS on a deeper level. This is a pretty good review, especially re: the art and references to other works.
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As always, these reviews were taken from my Goodreads. For past months, click here.

What's the last book you read?
What are you looking forward to reading? 

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