December 19, 2017

Recently Read...

A quick wrap-up of the remaining books I've read this year...

Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen.
One of my favorites. If you have any appreciation for Bruce Springsteen, you should read this book. His talent for storytelling, which makes him such a beautiful songwriter, also comes through in his writing here. I love reading autobiographies, and I especially love learning more about musicians. It makes listening to their music even more rich.

Anthropology of an American Girl, by Hilary Thayer Hamann.
I'm a little torn on this one. For about the first third of the book, I thought it was over-written - more metaphors and fancy phrases than was necessary to advance the story or develop the characters. I almost gave up on it several times. But there were enough compelling moments that kept me going, and then I made the turn and became invested in the main character. It was easy to recognize some of the characters around her, some of the events that happened to her, and her teenage, angst-ridden view of the world. It wasn't a traditional story, with a satisfying payoff at the end. Rather, it felt like a maturation - a reflection of what teenage girls go through on their way towards growing up.

The Mountain Between Us, by Charles Martin.
Fast-paced and satisfying story. There were times that it felt like a made-for-TV movie. It was not at all realistic, and yet I looked forward to seeing what happened next. Ultimately, it was surprising, and I liked it overall.

Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat, by Patricia Williams.
I loved this book. You know I'm a sucker for a good memoir. I'm not sure how this one ended up on my nightstand, but I'm so happy it did. This book will give you a new perspective, and a small appreciation of what it was like to grow up in urban Atlanta in the 1980s. It's difficult to read at times, but it's also well-written and accessible and impossible to put down. The most impressive aspect of the book is the author's ownership of her life. She makes no excuses, there is no judgment or wishing things had happened differently...she is simply sharing her story. She tells it like it was, and she also happens to be pretty damn funny, so it's incredibly powerful to read. Highly recommend.

Turtles All The Way Down, by John Green.
The most impressive feature in this book is Green's portrayal of anxiety. The reader gets so far into the main character's head that it can be downright uncomfortable to read, which is, of course, the point. It is realistic and eye-opening, and I have a whole new appreciation and empathy for those who suffer from mental illness, OCD, and/or anxiety disorders. The story was okay. Mostly it was interesting to see the main character, Aza, in relationships with other people: her best friend, her childhood friend/love interest, her mom. And I appreciated the realistic ending. But the narrative overall wasn't the draw. I'd recommend it, though.

Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan.
I wanted to love this book. I loved A Visit from the Good Squad, and I had seen such glowing reviews about this one. Expectations can be tough to manage sometimes, though. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I didn't love it. It was well-written, and well-researched; but it was slow, and it felt very disconnected. I did like the historical perspective, and I'd still recommend it. I just wish I had fallen in love with it like I expected to.

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