Wrap Up | June 2018

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Michaela

A Closed and Common Orbit | Becky Chambers- Ahhhh it feels so good to be back enveloped in Chamber's warm, delightful worlds. Her novels are the absolute best place to put my brain; they're just so comfortable. I don't know how she does it, but I'm so so glad that she does. She has the same knack that JK Rowling does for imbuing her world with a lot of interesting detail without beating you over the head with lengthy descriptions. It's magic, and I can't recommend her books enough. This one was a very different plot than The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, though no less powerful. Frankly I did enjoy Long Way's plot a bit better, but the plot is sort of beside the point with these books. Regardless, I can't waaaiiitttt to read the third one this summer!

Amulet | Kazu Kibuishi- This is a middle grade graphic novel, and while I like a lot of those, this one was a bit too straightforward, albeit beautiful! If you have a kid at the right age, I could see them loving this, but it wasn't something I'm particularly interested in continuing. 

Lumberjanes | Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters- This was pretty much like an episode of Adventure Time, but with badass lady friends. Hilarious and absurd, it definitely kept me laughing.

Eeeee Eee Eeee | Tao Lin- I read this at my brother's request (it's a favorite of his) and while I understood what it was doing, and it did it well, it was not for me. This falls under Auden's category of "I can see this is good, but I don't like it". If you want to bend your brain a little and put it in a weirdly specific mood, try it out. I do see why my brother specifically loves it, so it was a worthwhile read in that sense. One of the coolest things about a reader's favorite books is you see so much of them reflected in what they love. 

Less | Andrew Greer- Like everyone else, I read this because it won a Pulitzer. I wasn't sure what to expect, and honestly my first thought was "I hope this isn't a pretentious version of Eat, Pray Love", but what I found was warm and clever, with writing that felt effortless, but was playful and funny and layered. The love story in this was really unique and well done, and THAT ENDING. Ugh so lovely; I completely understand why this was Pulitzer worthy. 

Swimmer Among the Stars | Kanishk Tharoor- This collection sort of blew my mind. It took me a long time to finish because I would read a story and then sit and savor it for a while, sometimes for days, before moving on to another. I really loved the writing, and every story has at least one really thought provoking element or twist. A couple of these completely took my breath away, sometimes in the very last sentence. Worthwhile if you're in the mood for some beautiful, but heavier short stories. 

DNF: The Merry Spinster. Thoroughly mediocre in every way. I'm on a mission to not read forgettable books, and this just wasn't worth it for me. 

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Rikki

Homegoing | Yaa GyasiThis book was AMAZING. One of the most powerful, timeless, incredible pieces of literature I've had the pleasure of reading. Spanning generations of two families from Africa to America and back, and the harsh reality and truth of African culture and life in the 19th century to 20th, this book is sweeping, emotional, and yet, you cannot turn away. During an interview, Gyasi said she had visited Ghana and decided to tell an untold story that didn't have faces and names, and she felt compelled to tell a version of their story.

This One Summer | Mariko and Jillian TamakiFor book club this month and one of M's favorite graphic novels, I really enjoyed this shift in what I was reading and explore something different. The artwork is incredible and I really loved "figuring out" a relatively heavy story between words and images. And I say "figuring out," because it takes equal parts visual attention to the artwork as well as what you're reading to get a full, rounded perception of the story.

Meet the Frugalwoods | Elizabeth Willard ThamesAn impulsive read I was sure I'd skim through, but I actually enjoyed it from cover to cover. It's a bold, yet inspiring reminder to live life within your means and how to cut down on useless material things. The older I get, the more I appreciate things like this. Their family is on Instagram and so fun to see their story come to life through photos of life on the farm.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society | Mary Ann Schaffer - A reread for me, because I am so anxious and excited to see the movie! I still love it as much as the first time I read it. One of my all time favorites.

Beartown | Fredrik BackmanI hadn't gotten to fully read all of Beartown before, because library due dates had this book in constant rotation. I finally took my time on each and every page, and this book is so good. Backman's writing is phenomenal, the story is second to that, and worth the time to slowly work through, appreciating all of his words and layers of creativity.

The Wonder | Emma DonoghueI was SO curious about this book, and finally read it through. It was painfully slow for me, a constant build to the mystery of the story, which is revealed at the TAIL END of the book. It is well written and detailed, but kind of weird. I kept wondering how on earth this story had formulated for the author, being so packed with minuscule details.

Spin the Golden Light Bulb | Jackie YeagerA buddy read with my oldest, it took me a while to get through because I kept pushing it down the pile. It's a fun, creative story that is solidly for middle grade kids. It's a futuristic, yet relatable, story of five kids competing in an invention contest to get into a sought-after school. My kid loved it and it was great to talk about, so that's a win for me.

The Help | Kathryn StockettWhat a great story! I am so happy to have finally read this. It's a courageous and honestly bold portrayal of life in the south in the '60s. It's not easy for those who might be sensitive to racism during that time. Yet, it's well done. I researched the background of this book and was surprised to learn that Stockett actually took inspiration for the main help from a real life maid in her family, and was sued for not respecting her anonymity. How ironic.