Back up to 6 books in August, and now I only have 3 tasks left on my reading challenge! Unfortunately, I keep getting stuck on one of them: a book published before 1850. I have now started and abandoned two in that category (The Last of the Mohicans and Belinda). I’m on the hunt for a SHORT book that fits the bill so I can just cross it off. I have confirmed that I don’t enjoy books from that era, and I’m okay with that.

I’m also well into the audiobook version of Yes Please! and I’m finding that I’m enjoying the format okay. It’s been a very disjointed way for me to consume a book, because the times that I want to have words-audio rather than music-audio are few and far between, but that works okay with non-fiction. I’m not sure how it would work if I were trying to keep up with characters and plot. Definitely not an audibook convert, but I’m glad to have tried it.

As usual, I can’t remember how this one made its way onto my to-read list, but I snagged it when it went on sale for Kindle recently. I liked it, but I already can’t really remember why. It did make me feel bad about my diamonds for awhile. The fictionalized history around the DeBeers avertising was really fun to read. I felt like the ending was abrupt, but I enjoyed the multi-threaded plot lines that all ended up coming together.

This was an engrossing chick-lit type of book, but as with other Emily Giffin books I’ve read I took some issue with the basic tenets of it. (Like, in Something Borrowed I sort of hated that I was cheering for the infidelity.) Not sure if I would recommend it or not. It was sort of like a bastardized Friday Night Lights, which, how could you DO that to that show?!

I finally felt emotionally stable enough to read the conclusion of this series after Jakes ripped my heart out in the second installment. It was good and sweeping as were the others. If you’re looking for a Big Book to sink your teeth into, I’d recommend starting with North and South so you can end up here.

Y’all, this book. THIS BOOK. I checked it out from the library on my Kindle, but now I want to buy a copy, because it feels important to be able to share it with other people. What beautiful, amazing characters, that you hope are like real people in the world. What beautiful use of quotations. What a beautiful message. This deserves every bit of hype it’s ever gotten. I read it in a day because I couldn’t put it down! I was turned off at first by some of the quotations chosen as chapter intros, but I got over it. There were also some cultural references (e.g. to Diary of a Wimpy Kid) that I worry won’t stand the test of time. But those were my only complaints. Who cares that it’s meant for 8-12 year olds? You should read it. My book club had one of our best discussions in awhile about this one.

Two of my favorite passages:
The only reason I’m not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way.

I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.
(Because, DON’T WE wear masks?! Just not the literal kind that Auggie means.)

At first I had a hard time getting into the poetry-novel style of this book, but it grew on me. The writing was absolutely beautiful in places, and you definitely get the sense of a plot. I feel like it was probably a really cool experience writing it. I wonder, though, how kids would respond to it. Would they get it? Maybe I underestimate them.

I somewhat impulse bought this one at City Lights Books in San Francisco because I just really wanted to buy something there, and this one was on my “maybe” list and it happened to jump out at me. It was a really nice feeling book, and the cover was sparkly, so, there’s that. Moreover, I think I’ve been unfair to short stories, namely, that I never thought I liked them, but I liked this book and I also liked Dear Life by Alice Munro. So maybe I can like short stories after all. I definitely liked some stories better than others. They are quirky, and some of them made me feel a little uncomfortable. But in others the characters really stayed with me. I had to stop reading one in the middle because my train arrived at my stop, and I found myself thinking about it all day until I could get back to the book. Novels usually conclude, while short stories sometimes leave you wanting more. That’s what I always thought I didn’t like about them, but now I’m seeing that maybe that’s their beauty.

Do you like reading short stories? Any recommendations for a potential convert?

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman