The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Loved. Big puffy heart loved. Read it in 24 hours. I thought it would be sad so I kept avoiding it. I'm an idiot. I loved it and didn't even cry reading it. Which amazes me. But there it is. Loved. Favorite quotes: #1 – “I love you present tense.” #2 – “You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” #3 – “I had a moral opposition to eating before dawn on the grounds that I was not a 19th century Russian peasant fortifying myself for a day in the fields.” I also really love her dad holding a sign at the airport and instead of writing their names on the sign like chauffeurs do he wrote, “My beautiful family.” Seriously. I could go for someone waiting for me with that sign.
2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – Two thumbs way up. Lovely. Sweet. I wanted to take her under my wing and protect her from everything. And Park is the kind of kid that makes you wish you knew his mom so you could go tell her what a great job she did raising a person with such a quality heart. They need to make this into a movie immediately and they need to do a really good job making sure it doesn’t suck. I miss hanging out with the characters in this book. That is a sign of a great book. Favorite quote: "He made her feel like more than the sum of her parts." Second favorite quote: "Or maybe, he thought now, he just didn’t recognize all those other girls. The way a computer drive will spit out a disk if it doesn’t recognize the formatting. When he touched Eleanor’s hand, he recognized her. He knew."The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes – Thumbs up. Nowhere near as up as Me Before You. But up. And suspenseful. It definitely hooked me and had me eager to find out what was going to happen. What’s really intriguing is that this book, just like Me Before You, had me wondering what I’d do in the same situation. In a good thought provoking way. Not all books can do that. Favorite quote: Do you know how it feels to resign yourself to your fate? It is almost welcome. There was to be no more pain, no more fear, no more longing. It is the death of hope that comes as the greatest relief.
4. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty – Thumbs up. I felt actual suspense and it drove me to keep reading and reading. I wasn’t sure where it was headed. I wasn’t sure how it would come together. And it did linger with me wondering what I’d do. I’m here to report this girl right here will rat you out for murder. Case closed, end of story. So don’t hope or plan for me to lie or even keep my yap shut. I am way too empathetic. Some mother loses her baby and every empathetic bone in my body is going to require me to get her some closure.
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult – Thumbs up. Very moving. Most of the time I find Jodi Picoult books moving on a personal level. Meaning I care about the specific characters in the book. In this one, it was less about the characters and more about being moved by the details of the concentration camp. I thought I had some understanding of the Holocaust. But reading about a day in and day out existence as it progressed felt like you’re the rock rolling down the hill picking up momentum. And then you get to Auschwitz and the extermination is so assembly line mechanical it takes your breath away. I thought I knew that already but I guess it had faded. Heaven help me. If you can’t handle reading about the Holocaust, this book ain’t for you though.
Bossypants by Tina Fey – I’d seen everyone and their uncle say how much they loved this book but avoided reading it. Right up until I read the quote from Tina Fey when she was on Saturday Night Live. She was talking about Hilary Clinton and how some people think she seems like a bitch. And then Tina says, “She is a bitch. And so am I. Bitches get stuff done. That’s why Catholic Schools use nuns instead of priests . . . At the end of the year you hated those bitches but you knew the capital of Vermont.” I could not agree more. Everybody loves girls in the office that never rock the boat and are gentle and quiet and unassuming. But have an opinion and push the envelope to get some stuff done, and you’re a wench but a guy doing the same thing would just be doing his job. Fine. But at least we get stuff done.
So then I was full on identifying with her and felt like I needed to complete the mind meld by reading her book. It was cute. I laughed out loud at the part about the fire on the cruise ship. Especially when her husband wrongly assumed she wouldn’t have gotten in the lifeboat without him and she felt obligated to not start their marriage with a lie and explained to him Leonardo Dicaprio would have lived in Titanic if Kate Winslet had gone the lifeboat route. I also learned that the crew member that captains that little lifeboat has a gun and is prepared to use it if you try to get crazy. Who knew a Tina Fey book would be educational, too! Anyhoo, Tina Fey seems super nice and if she needs some mom friends, I’m in. Favorite quote: Talking about her hopes for her daughter, “When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with beer.” Heaven help me, please let my baby turn down the Crystal Meth, too.
Looking for Alaska by John Green – Thumbs up. Not great but an interesting read. I thought the characters were all well written and I wished I knew someone as interesting as his roommate.
Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan – Crazy. I felt like I was sort of watching an episode of Jerry Springer. Not in a bad way though. I just used to watch shows like Jerry Springer and I’d always be amazed that there are people that think and behave so differently than anything that makes any sense to me. I’d feel like a tourist visiting a different planet or something. Reading this book is sort of like that. Lots of crazy people. The story about taking his physically challenged uncle to the bathroom broke my heart, too. So awkward and awful but also sweet and kind.
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison – Eh. I didn’t like anyone in this book. I thought she was an idiot and I couldn’t figure out why she even took up space on the planet. I didn’t feel the slightest bit sorry for her and I suspected several of the surprises. And I thought he was a buffoon and wanted to punch him in the face. This book did nothing for me. I had read so many reviews of people that loved this book so I kept reading along hoping to get to the part that would have me riveted. Never happened. It did keep me going wondering what would happen but only in the "How can I hate these people any more than I already do?" sort of way.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – This book spent the last 2 years next to my toilet. I’m so tired of looking at it I can’t even begin to tell you. I read the first half of the book and then lost interest. It just felt so textbook and mechanical and I guess I thought a book about how to be happier should feel more fun. Then I left it in our bathroom. Then I lost it. Then I left it in the bathroom again. And then I finally just skimmed and called it a day. I wish I liked it. I really do.