Monday, October 5, 2015

what i read: september

I didn't even realize that I'd read five books this month. I had not a clue that I had the ability to consume so many words and plot points and characters over the course of 30 days. But alas, I did and I partly thank the wonderful vacation we went on for the extra time to read -though not as reading-ful as I thought it would be before we left. Without further chatter, let's get to the reviews: 

There are not enough ways to praise the goodness that filled the wonderful pages of Lizzy and Jane. After reading Dear Mr. Knightley by Reay and loving it, I had high expectations for Lizzy and Jane. Expectations that might not have been entirely fair. But, I was not disappointed, but actually impressed because Lizzy and Jane blew Dear Mr. Knightley out of the water.

Part of my impression might have been the way the themes contained within the book danced so sweetly in the arms of many current circumstances in my life. It came so close to home, in the way a coffee date with an old familiar friend does, and left me in a puddle on the floor when it was done. The characters were rich and raw, the plot heavy and delightful, the writing pure.

And now, after writing this all out, I want to read Jane Austen's classics (or take another stab at them) so I can appreciate these books even further. Also, I have The Bronte Plot on pre-order because Reay's writing is pure bits of awesome!

Let me start this review with a WHOA.

I loved and hated this book. I loved the dark, macabre plot and the mystery of the characters. McCreight creates rich personas throughout her novel, drawing you in to the chaos after the storm has hit. You can't stop, seriously, because you need to know more. However, it goes on too long for me. There's a point where the drama is now mundane, the pain is now typical, and the struggle is overdone.

This is a literary technique, I realize that and I understand why it's helpful to McCreight's tale here. But, nonetheless, I was aching for the end and some answers to the litany of questions that came to the surface throughout the course of the novel. It's a book that's fascinating, challenging, and requires you to think about the way there's so much more going on behind the scenes of our lives.

So, yes it's good and twisty and interesting, but no I wouldn't pick it up again.

I have always adored dear Jenny, the author of this book, and I followed along for the months leading up to her publishing date. It felt like a friend traveling along the nine months of pregnancy and finally getting to visit with the sweet babe that we'd all awaited for so long when this sweet novel arrived in the mail. And, finally,t his month I took Jenny and her cast of characters on vacation with me. 
The characters in These are The Moments are your next door neighbors, your high school friends, the people who have been in the background of your life for decades. I found myself smiling at the book, thankful for the way I knew these people and was, at one point, one of them myself. It felt like reading through an old season of Saved by the Bell in the familiar, coziness the 

Part way through the book I wanted more from the plot, twists and turns that would blow my mind which might reflect the dark, psychological thrillers I've been picking as of late. But the end comes and the story is good, the characters happy -if not in the way one might expect- and I needed that feel-good novel in the midst of all the macabre words I've been consuming.

This is a zombie, young adult novel. No one told me that and I feel like I need to tell you so that you're not all confused when you start to read it like me. The zombie factor would have completely turned me off to the book, would have kept me from ever picking it up, much less read it's 400 page entirety. But, this book was amazingly shockingly wonderful.

While the plot wasn't really my gig -with the zombies and the fighting between them and humans-, the characters were so rich. They were full of beautiful kindness and authentic flaws that bred a deep and wild care. I found myself deeply drawn to Melanie, a zombie-human hybrid, with her naivete and innocence despite the bacteria that transformed her into a zombie.

Though the plot wasn't entirely in my reading wheelhouse, The end is hard, sad, and yet poignant. I was floored at the unexpected joy I felt over the gracious end that closed out an otherwise gory and (somewhat) graphic novel. There was a gorgeous silver lining as the cloudy confusion of the book slowly unwound and revealed the truth depth of Carey as an author.

I read this while in the trenches of death with my dad and, while I wasn't sure I'd be able to appreciate Oliver's experience alongside my own, found so many moments of recognition in her story. The irony of her husband's career and his own death were undeniable AND her ability to lean into the humor of it all resonated with my own experiences.

Her love for the man she married was gorgeous, important, and life-giving despite the difficult dealings of death. Oliver's memoir seems to be the ultimate proof that there is, in fact, much life after death. She highlights the trials of bereavement while lending some practical ways to move forward with life -even through the missing.

I found myself laughing and crying, cheering her on and, in turn, rooting for my own family. It's a definite recommendation for those dealing with death themselves and a reminder that life -in all it's heartbreak- can still be good to us.

** I received this book from BookLook Bloggers for review. All opinions are my own. ** 

I read and review this for #Collaboreads which you can find here. No need to blab on even longer about any one book!

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