Wrap Up | November 2017

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Michaela

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay | Elena Ferrante- This book broke my miserable, weeks long reading slump, and I took my sweet, sweet time savoring it. This entire series is just amazing, and deceptively spare. There is an incredible amount of nuance and layer in the quartet, and the further I read the more intense it gets. What can I say that hasn't already been said about these books? If you like truly literary books, without the flowery writing style, pick this one up. The characters are created so vividly, the world they inhabit and their dynamics and struggles and thoughts on life are so real...I don't know what else to say except this series is going to stay with me for a very long time.

Also...I'm literally halfway through Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, Doomsday Book, All Our Wrong Todays AND Their Eyes Were Watching God...but I keep skipping around between them and haven't actually finished any of them. Reviews coming next month for those!

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Graphic Novels

Real Friends | Shannon Hale- A memoir about what it's like to be in and out of the "popular" girls group in elementary school. A great look at those dynamics and whats going on beneath the surface. I think most of us women have had some kind of experience with "those girls" whether you were in, out, or somewhere in between, so it was refreshing to see it laid out on the page. 

Nimona | Noelle Stevenson- Ahhhhhh I loved this one so much! This story spins classic fairytale and superhero narratives into a topsy turvy sassy bundle of delight. I sincerely just adored the characters in this, and it was just a really solid, fun read. 

Blankets | Craig Thompson- This is the closest thing I've read to This One Summer, which is my benchmark for a solid graphic novel, and though it was more adult and a little more complex, I didn't love it quite as much and I can't put my finger on why. I did enjoy it though, and feel like it was important to read to get kind of a foundation in the graphic novel genre. 

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Rikki

A Study in Charlotte | Brittany CavallaroThis was my up-late-with-the-baby read, which had me enthralled and read within just a couple of days. Very reminiscent of The Secret History, this book was a very fun campus read. Parts of the story were a bit corny with the references to Sherlock Holmes and various other parts, but it was fun nonetheless. I also didn't realize through the first half of the book that the characters were mid-teens, the story read much older for what it was.

Practical Magic | Alice HoffmanHoffman does a brilliant job with painting a picture. Full of descriptive details and light touches of magic, this was a fun story perfect for the current season. There were a few parts that dragged on for me, some repetitive details, but overall, it was most enjoyable. 

Their Eyes Were Watching God | Zora Neale HurstonThis book is certainly one of a kind. It takes a bit to get into, as Hurston brilliantly writes with an old time Southern dialect in this character-driven novel. If you've spent any time in the south, it shouldn't be too challenging to get, but listening to it on audio might serve you better if not. There's no denying how uniquely and brilliantly written this story is, but overall, I can't say I loved it. I also can't really explain what I loved or didn't love, just that it was like reading someone's story (through dialogue) about the interesting/uninteresting facets of their lives. The end. 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire | J.K. RowlingI quite enjoyed book 3, but I couldn't put down book 4. Constantly living in Hogwarts land in my mind, I flew through the book in just a couple of days and found myself aching to watch the films. These stories sure are incredible! I'm so glad I've finally committed to reading them.

The Boys in the Boat | Daniel James BrownWhat I love most about this book, is knowing that Olympic rower, Joe Rantz, and Olympic runner, Louis Zamperini (whose story is beautifully told by Lauren Hillenbrand in Unbroken), were on the very same boat from America to Europe, to participate in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. This was an exceptional historical non-fiction story that my son and I buddy read for this month. 

When Hilter Stole Pink Rabbit | Judith KerrOne of the lightest stories of a Jewish childhood during WW2. Although, it is semi-autobiographical, Kerr's life is quite fascinating beyond just these pages. This was an incredibly fun, middle grade story of one fortunate family that essentially escaped Hitler's wrath, and instead found themselves being world travelers and learning a completelynew and often difficult lifestyle. The definition of family and togetherness is imminent here, and wonderful to see them persist through the story.

 

Featured Reviewer

Jenna | @jennareadsbooks

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Hi! I’m Jenna. I’m a 20-something performance auditor living in Washington. I went to grad school for math in Utah and I’m from Kentucky originally so the Pacific Northwest rain is new to me, but it makes for perfect reading weather! 

I’ve always been a huge reader. My old neighbor still makes fun of me for bringing home stacks of books that I would have to balance under my chin from the library as a kid. Now that I’m out of grad school, I’ve had more time to read for pleasure and love sharing book recommendations on bookstagram. Thanks to Michaela and Rikki for letting me share my top books of last month!

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Bird Box | Josh Malerman- My sell for this book is going to be a bit different than telling you the description. I’ll tell you that it’s scary and thrilling and not my usual genre but I read it in a day. My non-traditional sell is telling you about my boyfriend’s reaction to this book. My boyfriend does not read books that are total fiction. I challenged him to read the first five chapters of this book, and he ended up staying up til 2 AMreading the whole thing in one sitting. This is a book for everyone who doesn’t mind being scared. Make sure to read it with the blinds closed.

The Changeling | Victor LaValle- I’m not typically a big reader of scary books, but apparently this was the month for multiple! This book surprised me so much. The writing is literary and the prose is easy to read and beautiful at the same time. It’s also poignant and describes parenting in the modern age accurately and interestingly. The story incorporates a take on classic folklore and makes it new and scary and it works so well. I’m definitely going to be reading more from this author.

Ginny Moon | Benjamin Ludwig- I loved this book so much. The story is told from Ginny’s perspective. She’s a 14 year old girl on the autism spectrum. She lives with her adoptive “forever parents” in what should be her forever home. However, Ginny gets herself into trouble trying to get her baby doll back from her birth mom. I was rooting for Ginny throughout this entire heartwarming book. She’s painfully naive, genuinely sweet, and instantly likable. She made me very anxious so I had to read it quickly to find out what happened! If you liked The Rosie Project or Atypical on Netflix, or if you just want a heartwarming story about an autistic girl trying to figure out where she belongs, this is a book for you!

OTHER NOTES

We have so many exciting things happening around here this month!

We know holiday shopping is in full swing now, so we've got a great bookish gift guide and a guide for the young readers in your life up, plus a few more gift guides headed your way soon!

Have you entered our giveaway over on instagram? We teamed up with our favorite #badassbookbabes to give one lucky reader 7 amazing new books!

We're also hosting a holiday book exchange, so check out this post if you'd like to give and receive a book this month; we already have about 60 people participating, so come join the fun!

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