Books I Read In January


1. Life After Death I went into this book in possession of an absolutely unshakable belief in the innocence of the West Memphis Three.  This is a known thing, right? After reading it, I have my serious doubts.  I mean, greater legal minds than my own have clearly studied this and feel certain about the outcome, but at the very least this dude is guilty of being a serious, serious douchebag.

2. Last Night At the Lobster. I liked this (and I very much enjoyed the look at the back of the house of a Red Lobster) but it was not, in my opinion, anywhere close to my favorite, “Emily, Alone”.

3. Starting from Here.  I mean, this was fine. It was unexceptional, mostly because I think all this Tier B YAF is so issue centered and I have read so much of it that I no longer can rouse myself to care that your mother/father/brother/sister/dog has died/left you/been hit by a car/is a hoarder/won’t come out of the bedroom.

4. Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See.   So the main character decides to leave his family for reasons of that boring “It’s better for them live without me even though everyone knows it’s obviously not” ilk and then he moons about how terrible and awful it is to leave his young daughter for the first third of the book. Here’s a solution to that problem, dumbass: DON’T LEAVE YOUR CHILD.

5. Lunch Bucket Paradise.  So here’s this thing about me. I dream, at all times, this impossible dream. It is my GREATEST desire to travel back to 1955 and to go to the grocery store to see what the food liked like. This is my life wish. Like a Disneyland, but for 1955.  I want to see an Automat and put a quarter in a slot and get a piece of cake. I want to sit in a breakfast nook and open the cupboard and see the cake mix.  I want to taste the celery flavored jello. This is the only reason I watch Mad Men and why I google image search for “1955 Grocery Stores”. I could not be more interested in this and this is the reason I checked this book out, because I really wanted to read a paean to 1955 cake mix, but this was sorely lacking in that realm.  Seriously. My kingdom for a tv dinner in one of those foil trays.

6. The Sugarless Plum. It turns out I just do not care about dancers who are diabetic and keep getting sick and feeling awful but won’t return urgent messages from their doctors.

7. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.  You know how sometimes you read these books that are very well written and you know you should like them and you do admire them but despite all that you just still are not interested in them? That was this book for me.

8. Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures.  I had to wait so long for this book on hold at the library! I had this wait correlated with a large amount of excellence in my mind.  However, this book was super boring, so the correlation appears to be off.

9. The Winter of Frankie Machine.  This was more violent than I’d really like and I could do without all the sexual assault,  but I continue to be highly enamored wiith Don Winslow.

10.Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.  This was exactly what I thought it would be, but I still liked it.  I loved reading about Jenny meeting and marrying Victor since she doesn’t talk much about that on her blog.  It was a super quick funny read.

11. Tattoos on the Heart, The Power of Boundless Compassion.  Despite feeling the entire time I was reading it that this book was too self helpy and I should know better, I couldn’t help myself, I just liked this guy and I liked his book.  And listen to this line, which I think is pretty much the most amazing thing and how I would like to live the rest of my life and wraps up most of my life/political/spiritual philosophy perfectly: “Here is what we seek:  a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.”

Yes. Just yes.


7 Responses

  1. If you fantasize about mid century food, you should definitely check out this blog:

    Also? The Harold Fry book is an upcoming book club read and I’ve never been super excited about. Sigh.


  2. Have you read Libba Bray’s “The Diviners” I think that was the last YAF that I REALLY liked. But it’s long. Very long for YA.

  3. I burned out quickly on Don Winslow. Maybe I’ll give him another shot.

  4. I was completely unaware of the West Memphis Three, but I’ve now put that book on hold, and fallen into a Wikipedia wormhole.

  5. I have that same dream about going back to 1955 too. To wear all those dresses with the poofy out skirts too, which is weird because I am NOT a dress person.

  6. Did you read Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes? Everything else I have read this month sucks, but that book was really good.

  7. I know exactly what you mean re: #3. I mean, not about that book, just that it unoriginal plots are…unoriginal. You know, you SAY where are all the good books but I didn’t hear nearly as much hate as usual. You’re losing your touch, Elizabeth. More hate plz.

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