Jul 27

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts: July 27, 2016

Bite Size Reviews, Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts 4

Hey There, Bookworms!

It’s Wednesday and my head is full of thoughts. Some bookish, some not so bookish. I have been reading a lot and was planning to discuss a number of books in mini reviews. Since all my good intentions are for naught and I haven’t been blogging a ton lately, I figured I’d just smush a bunch of stuff into a single post. Got to strike while the writing iron is hot, right?

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ONE: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is a good read if you dig literary fiction. It may also cause you to think waaaaaay too hard about your own name and its implications on your life. Also, I’m now two for two on Jhumpa Lahiri books that feature female characters pulling some traditionally male douchey life decisions. I can’t discuss it without getting super spoiler-y, but Lahiri fans, have you noticed this too? Fascinating stuff.

TWO: Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica is decent if you’re into mysteries and thrillers. I’m not a huge thriller reader, so my standards are impossibly high regarding plot twists. If I can predict what’s going on too early, I’m always a little disappointed. But only when it comes to mysteries. Because I just finished a historical fiction book in which I knew what was happening super early on and I have warm feelings toward it regardless. I got this book at BEA and had it signed, and even though it wasn’t a huge winner for me, I will probably read Mary Kubica again. I like her voice even if I figured things out too quickly- I imagine one of her other books would surprise me more effectively.

THREE: Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters was fine, but I won’t blame anyone for avoiding it based on the Twitter firestorm and tone deaf response of the author and publisher. I got the book at BEA only recognizing the author’s name because of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (review) which I adored. I was halfway through reading it when the things got heated on the bookternet, and being oblivious, I hadn’t seen some of the articles and marketing surrounding the novel’s release. Since publishing has some pretty glaring problems with diverse representation, it bugged a lot of people to see a book about a world in which slavery was never abolished written by a white dude lauded as brave and fearless. (Look at that run on sentence. Man. I am awesome.) Apologies have been made, and I personally think Winters had his heart in the right place (because I am an optimist that way.) However, if you still feel squidgy about the whole thing, you’re  not missing the greatest book ever written or anything. If you’d rather read a sci/fi slavery story by a marginalized author, check out Kindred by Octavia Butler (review).

FOUR:  STRANGER THINGS!!! Hubs and I binge watched the Netflix original show. Actually, we got Netflix specifically so we could watch this show. It did not disappoint. Imagine if the The X-Files and a Stephen King novel had a baby and named it Jennifer because that is what you name babies in the 80s. Well, except for the ones name Katie. I digress, but it’s a really great show. Totally addictive.

FIVE: I’ve been planning a bridal shower and bachelorette bash for one of the best gals I’ve ever known. The party is this weekend. I am not good at planning things without irrationally stressing myself out, so as you can imagine, the old brain has been pretty occupied the past few weeks. Anxious is my default setting.

Alright Bookworms, I am out of words. How has YOUR summer reading been?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Jul 22

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Audio Books, Historical Fiction 9

Salutations Bookworms!

I’ve been summering hardcore, so I haven’t been in a “let’s sit in front of the computer” sort of mood lately. I mean, there are hummingbirds in my yard to stare at. Hummingbirds, you guys! But, just because I haven’t been in a computery mood doesn’t mean I haven’t been in a book mood. I am up to my eyeballs in books I’ve experienced and just haven’t told y’all about yet. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, as you very well know, and I will read books from basically any point in human history. Heck, I’d read books from dinosaur history if they had compelling characters… (Sidebar: How awesome would it be to read Pride and Prejudice, sans zombies, but where everyone is a dinosaur? I mean, would we assign dinos based on the characters’ personal attributes or just have to make everyone a triceratops? If you have to choose but one dinosaur, triceratops is always the correct choice. But, like Lydia’s got some raptor in her, so…) I was talking about a book wasn’t I? Oh yes! The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman! I read it… With my ears. What a delicious audio book treat. Let me tell you about it.

thedovekeepersThe Dovekeepers tells the tale of the siege of Masada from the perspectives of four different women. In case you’re unfamiliar with Jewish history, way back in like 70 CE, the Romans were being total dicks to basically everyone. They burned the temple in Jerusalem and murdered and pillaged all up in the holy land. Different Judaic sects fled into the dessert, and a group of them landed at Herod’s old mountain castle that was all imposing and fortress-y. Masada, said fortress, housed the bands of fleeing Jewish folk for months but it couldn’t last forever. According to Josephus, the ancient historian, only two women and five children survived to tell the tale.

Alice Hoffman put her own spin on the story, weaving mythology, history, and a dash of mysticism to bring history to life. Books like this are SO my jam. This book reminded me a lot of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent (review), what with the biblical times (well, approximately, anyway) and the writing of women back into religious history. And, of course, Alice Hoffman being Alice Hoffman, the magical elements were perfection. The narrators of the audio book were fabulous too, and each of the four women were given a different voice. Literally. A lot of audio book narrators are really great at differentiating their voices to represent different characters, but you just can’t beat the differentiation that comes with actual different people reading each woman’s account. There are no triceratops in this book, but it’s still totally worth reading.

Alright Bookworms. Talk to me. If each Bennett sister were, in fact, a different dinosaur, which ones would they be? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jul 18

Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E Reichert

Cozy Lady Fiction 10

Greetings Bookworms,

Dessert is one of my favorite things on planet earth. I’m pretty equal opportunity when it comes to sweets- there isn’t much I don’t like. So when you hand me a book with a dessert in the title, I’m probably going to be pretty excited about it. Of course, the dessert in Luck, Love & Lemon Pie wasn’t really the main draw for me. (Although, I must admit I am cringing every time I type the title because OXFORD COMMA 4 LIFE!) I read The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E Reichert last year and loved it so much that I’d have read another Amy Reichert regardless of dessert. This fictional lemon pie is really just a bonus. *I received a copy of this book compliments of the publisher through NetGalley for review consideration.*

lucklovelemonpieMJ Bordreaux is a Milwaukee area wife and mother whose husband of 20 years has been showing more interest in playing poker than in spending time with his wife. After a disastrous anniversary celebration, MJ decides to take up poker in an attempt to spend more time with her husband and demonstrate a shared interest. As it turns out, poker playing is not a substitute for marriage counselling, but MJ is kind of awesome at it.

The hours she spends in the casino preparing, however, haven’t done her marriage any favors. After a series of impressive tournament wins, MJ finds herself on a trip to Vegas to play poker with the big dogs. And one of those big dogs has his eye on MJ. Insert appropriate gambling metaphor here.

This novel breaks away from much of the foodie fiction that I was so charmed by in The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. Not that I can cook, mind. In fact, I was rather amused by the fact that MJ could only cook scrambled eggs and her husband did the heavy culinary lifting. As a gal who isn’t much of a cook, I SO related to MJ’s plight.  Although my husband’s specialty is frozen pizza. Whatever he’s super good at cleaning and there’s always takeout. I digress.

I’m not really into poker, so the whole poker story line was a little confusing to me. Like….Why would anyone do this when there are books and jigsaw puzzles? I know, I know, there are tons of people who are super super into poker but I’m about as interested in poker as I am in sports. Which is to say, not at all. (Unless someone is doing a backflip on purpose because that is just awesome.) Gosh, I feel like this post is taking such a grumpy turn. I really enjoy Reichert’s writing, but I think what fell a little flat for me personally was simply the subject matter of the novel.

Let’s be real for a second. The hard work of marriage and daily life is a lot less sparkly and fun than tales of falling in love. I’m not at all opposed to reading books about the realness of marriage, and I’ve railed on more than one occasion about the extreme unreality of certain romantic tropes. It’s just that I went in expecting a sweet romantic romp with a side of dessert and I got… Meatloaf. It’s good and all, just not what I was expecting. So. Yeah. I will still 1000% read Amy Reichert’s next book, I just hope it’s a little more sweet than savory.

Talk to me Bookworms! Do y’all play poker? Am I missing out on a whole lot of awesome?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jul 08

In Case You Were Wondering (Because I am a Lazy, Lazy Blogger.)

Flowers, Personal 18

Hey There Bookworms,

I know, I’ve been so MIA lately. I’m reading and tweeting and also (apparently) snapchatting (wordsforworms is my username!) but I just haven’t been able to gather my thoughts enough to write a blog post. I blame summer. I want to do nothing but stare at flowers and lounge and read. Computer-y things are really more conducive to cooler temps and earlier sunsets (not that I WANT those things, because I do not. I want to wring all the joy out of summer that I can. All that sunshine is FREE VITAMIN D! I have to take a supplement in the winter.) Anywho, I’m calling today’s blog post “In case you were wondering.” Just in case you were.

In case you were wondering where I’ve been, there’s been a lot of home improving going on at the Gingerbread House. Not that we did ALL the heavy lifting (we’re smart enough to know our limitations and pay people who know what they’re doing) but it’s been time intensive. We got new windows installed on the first floor and had a boatload of landscaping work done in the backyard. But even paying people to do the hard parts? You’ve still got to do the cleanup and odds and ends and play in the dirt and plant more flowers because OMG MORE FLOWERS. But BEHOLD:

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In case you were wondering what it’s like to be friends with me IRL, here’s a text exchange between me and my Bestie. (I also recently told her that she reminded me of garbage, since at one point she’d given me a set of penguiny bathroom accessories complete with trash can that I still use. Sometimes I wonder why she still talks to me…)

ME: I miss you. Here’s what I’d look like if I were a Yorkie.

Snapchat. I have no idea, you guys. Although, this is what my eyebrows look like in their natural state, more or less. Also my bottom teeth are crooked because I didn't wear my retainer.

BFF: Jesus. That’s kind of terrifying!

ME: I know, right? And yet, I am fascinated. Like in Mars Attacks! when they put SJP’s head on a chihuahua body…

BFF: Yeah, I think it’s the gigantic eyes that really push it over the top…

ME: The better to see you with, my dear.

BFF: You look like you should be on Zoobilee Zoo. The kids love it, by the way.

ME: Ha! Give them my love!

BFF: Your… Puppy love? (womp womp)

ME: Yep. Lick them.

BFF: Omigod, I just drooled coffee all over myself LOL-ing at that!

In case you were wondering if my eyebrows look like this Snapchat filter when left untamed? Yeah, basically. Also, I should have worn my retainer more. My bottom teeth are back to being kind of janky and crooked. Fingers crossed my Mom doesn’t read this blog or she’ll find a way to get me a new retainer…

In case you were wondering what I did on the 4th of July, we had family over to enjoy the new back yard and watch the parade that goes right past our neighborhood.

Aunting is my favorite.

Aunting is my favorite.

Alright, you’re officially all caught up. What have you been up to? Tell me everything, Bookworms!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jun 30

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Audio Books, Coming of Age, Young Adult Fiction 22

My Dearest Bookworms,

You know how I really love audio books? And how I also really love Hamilton, and by extension, Lin-Manuel Miranda? I’m actually considering writing an entire post on the subject because I haven’t been THIS fangirly since high school. Because I’m fangirling so hard, I was checking Lin-Manuel’s IMDB just to see if he’d been in stuff I’d seen without me realizing it (which yes, yes that definitely happened.) BUT THEN. I saw that he was credited as having narrated some audio books. I remember seeing Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz floating around the blogosphere and thinking that I should read it one of these days, but when I saw that LMM narrated? It jumped straight to the top of the list.

aristotleanddanteI’m just going to give you the abstract from Goodreads because I can’t form a coherent synopsis of this book:

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Holy crap. Holy freaking crap, you guys. How do I love this book? Let me count the ways! First, Sáenz absolutely NAILS teenagerdom. That summertime listless boredom? It brought me back in a big way. Second, I absolutely adored these kids’ parents. They’re not perfect by any means, but both sets are so loving and compassionate. I don’t know why that struck me as so rare in a YA novel, but I wanted to give everyone a big fat hug. I can’t really tell you some of the other reasons I loved the book so so so much because they’d be spoilers, so you’re just going to have to trust me here. THEY ARE EXCELLENT REASONS.

I would have loved this book even if I’d read it with my eyeballs, but the fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda read me a story? Incredible. You guys! He casually dropped at least two mentions of Alexander Hamilton, which were written into the book and in no way referencing Hamilton the musical. It was so meta. LMM is a fantastic narrator (no surprise) and you could tell he adored the words he was reading which made it that much better. Although, he seems to adore a lot of things. Because he is basically the best humanity has to offer. Like, if aliens wanted to exterminate us? I think LMM could talk them out of it. (I pray nightly that he doesn’t end up having some hideous dark secret or massive scandal somewhere down the line, because I just don’t think I could handle having my heart broken like that. No pressure, Lin. But behave yourself… Mostly.)

Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve been this gushy about a book. Fittingly, I’m wearing a t-shirt that says “hyperbole” with an exclamation mark graphic. I am VERY EXCITED about this one. Go forth and read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Or have Lin-Manuel Miranda read it to you. If you ask really nicely, maybe I’ll do an interpretive dance of it for you. I hope you like tap!

Whew. Time to chat, Bookworms. What’s the last book you were ridiculously enthusiastic about? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jun 27

Unfinished: A Pairing

Book Club 12

Howdy Bookworms!

I don’t usually tell y’all about books I don’t finish because, you know, why would I? I would, if I had interesting stories to explaining why I didn’t finish them. As luck would have it, I happen to have a pair of tales to explain why I didn’t finish my homework. And it’s not because the dog ate it, seeing as I do not have a dog. Side note: I went to school with a girl whose family had a pet monkey and one time the monkey legitimately did eat her homework. I think her mom called to explain the situation. That’s a better story than mine, but you can’t NOT tell a story about a monkey when it’s even marginally relevant, you know?

janesteeleI was super stoked to read Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye after seeing a bunch of amazing reviews for it. I mean, a Jane Eyre (review) inspired gothic novel about a murderess? Sign me up! I downloaded the audio book from the library and all was going wonderfully. I had just about reached the end of the novel, you know, when ALL THE SECRETS are being revealed when the darn loan expired. Normally I love that I never have to remember to return digital library books but this time it bit me in the butt. Now I’m torn. I don’t want to go out and buy a book I’ve already read 95% of. I put myself back on the library hold list, but heaven only knows when I’ll finally get to wrap it up. If you decide to read this (and you should because it’s pretty great) pay attention to your library due date. Or just buy it. Learn from my mistakes, y’all!

The second book I recently didn’t finish was another story entirely. My office started a book club. Cool, right? It’s co-ed which is a new experience for me as I’ve always been in ladies only book clubs. I thought it would be a great way to branch out and try books I wouldn’t ordinarily read. Like, say, a sports book. That’s right. After our inaugural reading of The Martian (my choice obvi, review here) I was very supportive of my co-worker’s interest in Friday Night Lights by HG Bissinger. Until I started reading it. I made it 38% through the book. It was really a perfect storm of factors as to why I didn’t finish it. First, I stalled and didn’t start it until a week before book club. Normally that’s not an issue for me, but it was nonfridaynightlights fiction, which is always more of a challenge for me to get into than fiction. I should have seen that coming. Plus the fact that it was about high school football. I am about as NOT into sports as it’s possible to be, so play by play football scenes are super not my jam. What really did me in though, was that I just started getting angry with this book. Or, more specifically, Odessa, Texas circa 1989. They only desegregated their schools in 1982. HOW IS THAT EVEN LEGAL? Plus, a bunch of the folks interviewed were super racist. Not really surprising considering the whole segregation issue, but we’re not talking micro-aggression racism here. We’re talking full on N-word horror show. I found it profoundly upsetting. Don’t even get me started on the academic standards of this school, let alone the extra lax standards the football team was held to. I nearly threw the dang book across the room when I read that a teacher played a movie version of the The Scarlet Letter for an English class in place of having the class read the book. I don’t even LIKE The Scarlet Letter, but COME ON. Suffice it to say Friday Night Lights and I aren’t going to be reuniting anytime soon. Or ever, probably. At least I wasn’t alone. Only one person in our little club finished the book, and it wasn’t even the guy who chose it. Ah well. It happens.

Talk to me Bookworms! What was the last book that you started but didn’t finish? Why didn’t you finish it? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jun 24

Bite Size Reviews: June 2016

Bite Size Reviews 11

Happy Friday, Bookworms!

I knew that posting 5 reviews in a row last week was going to zap my blogging mojo! I’m popping in last minute so I don’t have a completely silent blog week. I’ve actually got some good ideas cooking, so maybe there’s something to taking a break. I’ll run away with you for the summer, Eliza! Hamilton references aside, we’re going to do some quick and dirty book reviews today. Small plates you guys. There’s like the tapas of book reviews. Mmmmm… Tapas…

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Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older- I listened to this one and it had some seriously cool use of Caribbean folklore and a fantastic narrator. It’s urban fantasy with a Raven Boys (review) / Diviners (review) sort of vibe. Older’s writing is smart and fearless, and he manages to weave social commentary, a coming of age story, and friggin monsters into a single book. It wasn’t an out of this world read for me, but I think that’s mostly because I’m not super into the urban fantasy young adult thing. If paranormal YA/ urban fantasy happens to be your jam, though? GO READ THIS RIGHT NOW.

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt- What in the actual f*ck is going on here? Honestly I don’t even know how to describe this book. I mean, between the multiple cults and the bizarre extended hiking journey, I’m at a loss. That’s not to say you shouldn’t read this. YOU SHOULD TOTALLY READ THIS. Mostly because I want to discuss it with someone. Super weird book, you guys. In the best way.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen- It’s a bittersweet moment for me, because now I’m all out of SAA books, but when I saw this bad boy was $1.99 in the kindle store I had to snap it up. It was good times, as per usual. Sarah Addison Allen’s blend of magical realism and sweet southern fiction always makes me happy. I actually read the sequel to this, First Frost (review), before I read this one, but it really didn’t matter too much. It’s delightful even out of order. That cantankerous apple tree gets me every time!

What’s up in your worlds, Bookworms? What have you been reading?!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jun 17

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Shakespearean 8

It’s Friday, Bookworms!

I made it through a full week of reviews! I have no idea what I’m going to talk about next week, but that is unimportant at the moment. Frankly, this daily review thing has been a great distraction from this God-awful week in the news. Plus, who doesn’t love a good Shakespeare retelling? Vinegar Girl by Ann Tyler is the latest in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, which sees Shakespeare’s stories retold by some of today’s award winning authors. Let’s tame a shrew, shall we? *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. I’m a bit of a shrew myself, so you can count on unfettered honesty.*

vinegar girlVinegar Girl takes a modern look at Shakespeare’s immortal classic, The Taming of the Shrew. Granted, I’ve never actually read The Taming of the Shrew (I have a hard time sitting down and just reading Shakespeare) BUT I have seen 10 Things I Hate About You approximately 8 billion times. Because Julia Styles and her “angry girl music of the indie rock persuasion” was everything high school Katie wanted to be. And Heath Ledger (rest in peace, bro) was just so swoon-worthy. Obviously I am extremely qualified to discuss this book. (I still can’t figure out why publishers give me stuff either, but SHHHHHH don’t tell them I’m inept!)

Kate Battista’s life hasn’t turned out exactly how she planned. It’s not that she necessarily had a clear plan, but keeping house for her eccentric scientist father, taking care of her spoiled little sister Bunny, and working in a daycare where she’s constantly being reprimanded  definitely wasn’t part of it. It’s not her fault parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and lack of filter. The kids love her, shouldn’t that be enough?

Dr. Battista is on the verge of a scientific breakthrough, thanks to the help of his brilliant young research assistant Pytor. Unfortunately, Pytor? He’s about to be deported. In his infinite wisdom, Dr. Battista decides that if Kate will only marry Pytor, everyone’s problems will be solved. Because that always works out well.

It’s a ludicrous premise. It always has been. That doesn’t mean it isn’t still charming. Tyler adds in so many wonderful and weird little touches from a bizarre culinary staple to a misguided attempt at activism. I love Kate with all her sour sass and Pyotr with his awkward attempts to win her over. Dr. Battista was a bit of a buffoon, just shy of lovable, and Bunny needed a good smacking. But, all in all, it was a fun little romp through a well-worn story.

Talk to me, Bookworms! What’s your favorite Shakespeare retelling? Books or movies, I’m not picky. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jun 16

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Mystery 11

Howdy Bookworms!

Wow, you guys! Four posts this week?! I AM ON FIRE! BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! Reviewathon, FTW! Today we’re talking about another one of the books I got at BEA. I was wandering aimlessly by myself (for what purpose I can’t remember) when I saw Florinda standing in line to get a book signed. I hopped in the line to chat up Florinda and got a book signed for myself with no idea who the author was or what the book was about. Turns out, I make pretty solid decisions when I’m oblivious, because the book I picked up was Before the Fall by Noah Hawley.

beforethefallWhen I went to start this book, I read a smidge of the “about the author” segment which informed me that Noah Hawley is a successful television writer and totally writes for Fargo, which Hubs and I watched obsessively last season. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know this beforehand or I’d likely have asked something weird and embarrassing about Kirsten Dunst or The Mother from How I Met Your Mother. Yep. Case in point of how much I suck at life. I don’t know the name of the actress who played “The Mother.” (I just looked it up. Her name is Cristin Milioti. Maybe I’ll remember that now.) Do TV writers even get to meet the cast? I honestly have no idea. But I’d have said something dumb, that’s for darn sure.

I was supposed to be discussing a book, wasn’t I? Alright, Before the FallOne summer night, a down on his luck painter finds himself riding in a private plane from Martha’s Vineyard to New York City. The plane belongs to a television mogul and his family, and they’re accompanied by some friends and the crew. Unfortunately, the plane goes down en route shortly after takeoff. The only two survivors are the painter and the four year old son of the television mogul. The book artfully weaves between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew. In the present, a series of odd coincidences cause media speculation to spiral out of control while the two survivors grapple with notoriety and loss.

I’m not usually huge on the whole mystery-suspense-thriller front, but I’ve got to admit I was fully engrossed in this read from page one. I was invested in the characters and MAN did I want to punch Bill Cunningham in his smug horrible face. (Bill Cunningham is a controversial TV pundit who works for the late mogul’s news network and his is absolutely THE WORST.) This is a good one, folks, give it a read!

Talk to me, Bookworms! Who was the last fictional character you wanted to pummel?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receives a small commission.*

 

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Jun 15

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Audio Books 8

Happy Wednesday, Bookworms!

I’m still playing catch up with reviews (thank heaven for Andi’s Reviewathon!) I’m a little nervous about tackling this next review because the book left me gobsmacked, but I’m going to try anyway. Y’all ready to hear my take on Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Let’s do this.

americanahIfemelu and Obinze are teenagers living in Nigeria when they fall in love. They are separated when an unstable government makes their educational aspirations difficult to achieve in Nigeria. Ifemelu soon leaves for America while Obinze stays behind, hoping they’ll soon be reunited and begin a life together.

Unfortunately, life had other plans for the pair. Ifemelu’s introduction into American life wasn’t the seamless transition she’d hoped it would be. Obinze found it impossible to emigrate to the US. Instead he embarks on a dangerous journey into an undocumented life in London. Their lives have taken them very different places, and when they each eventually return to Nigeria, they face a new set of challenges.

Holy crap, you guys. This book was so flipping good. It was smart and humorous and beautiful and eye opening. I listened to it and I cannot recommend the audio version highly enough. The narrator was spectacular. If it bothers you to not know the correct pronunciation of names while reading, audio is definitely the way to go. I am not at all familiar with the pronunciation of Nigerian names, nor do I know enough about the language to play the sound-it-out game. Being able to hear the names pronounced with the correct accent added so much to my reading experience. (Admit it. If you read Harry Potter before you saw the movies, you mentally read “HERMY-OWN.” And now you feel silly about it.)

Seriously, y’all, you do NOT need to be a Nigerian expat to dig this book (although if you ARE a Nigerian expat, I’d LOVE to hear your take on it!) Reading books written by and about people of other cultures and backgrounds is important to me. I feel like it makes me a more empathetic, well-rounded human being. And, isn’t that kind of the point of life? I think what I”m trying to say here is that reading = life. I’m not at all prone to hyperbole. And you should read Americanah.

Talk to me, Bookworms! Have you read anything awesome lately set in Africa? I’m just adding to the TBR pile with reckless abandon these days. YOLO. 

*I just said YOLO. WHO AM I EVEN? But also, if you buy something through a link on this site, I might make a few cents. My slang will still be pathetic though.*

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