|My Book Tower!|
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
Sedaris' work is always flawless, and after reading "Calypso" I wanted to go back and explore essays I hadn't read before. Most fans have already devoured "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim." I will probably read it again since Sedaris' insights about family and his never-ending humor made this book a quick read that I loved.
Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn
Dunbar is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear. Henry Dunbar is stuck in a sanitarium after handing his company over to his greedy oldest daughters. He escapes with a fellow patient in tow, but his two oldest daughters, as well as Florence, his youngest daughter who wants nothing more than for him to be safe, attempt to find him, and it's a race to see who will make it to him first.
This was a good story, though the ending felt quick.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
When Greer meets Faith in college, her life changes. She wants to impress this feminist leader who has an effect on her life the first time they meet, and this helps direct the course of future events. Wolitzer has written a beautiful book about feminism, friendship, and the decisions we make that shape us and those around us.
Greer and Faith are both well drawn characters, as is the entire cast we're introduced to throughout the story. This book spans years, private and public tragedies, and it has a voice in today's world with all the issues currently in the spotlight. I highly recommend this one.
Hey Ladies! The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss
I grabbed this one strictly for entertainment, and it did not disappoint. Written in emails, with an occasional text thrown in for variety, "Hello Ladies!" shows what some female friendships look like and the hilarious, cringeworthy, and heartfelt outcomes.
Yes, the characters are stereotypes, exaggerated for laughs. However, any woman who has ever been stuck on an email chain or group text or at the mercy of a Bridezilla will recognize these conversations and laugh her ass off. It's for entertainment, and it's entertaining.
Severance by Ling Ma
The world is coming to an end, but Candace doesn't feel the need to waver from her routine. Working in New York, an orphan after her parents died years ago, she goes about her life with her boyfriend and routine-driven job as those around her succumb to Shen Fever. What does it say about our lives that we can live so much of them on autopilot as the world around us falls apart?
Candance can't make it on her own forever, so she joins a group of survivors who have also evaded Shen Fever, a condition that leaves those suffering from it in a sort-of zombie state, though not aggressive zombies. They simply repeat their routines over and over again without cognitive awareness. But Candace's need to partner up with others introduces new challenges, and Ma unfolds this story using flashbacks and beautiful language.
This one ended abruptly to me, but that's my only complaint. Ma tackles the popular apocalypse genre in a way that adds depth to what otherwise would have been a familiar story.
Putney by Sofka Zinovieff
I wanted to read this one and I didn't want to read this one. "Putney" is a story told from three different points-of-view about an affair that happened years ago. The problem is the affair was between an adult male and an adolescent girl, and the friend who watched it happen is still disturbed by the way it played out (as anyone in their right mind would be.)
It takes a skilled writer to handle the issues of consent, grooming, and abuse in a way that audiences can keep reading through their rage and disgust. Zinovieff is one of those writers. This book was heartbreaking, disturbing, timely, and wonderful. She effortlessly explores sexual abuse, telling each person's perspective flawlessly. You'll be pissed when you put this one down, but it's worth it.
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
In the future, abortions are illegal, as is IVF treatment for infertility, and only heterosexual married couples can adopt. This world is where Zuma creates a story of the interconnecting lives of women, where she digs deep into big issues without being preachy.
Zuma offers characters we care about living in small-town Oregon who are affected by the current policies and whose decisions are fueled by desire and desperation. She introduces these women at first by their titles-mother, daughter, mender-but expands on what those roles mean to them and who each woman is at her inner core.
I finished this one and immediately passed it to a friend. Imagine me placing it into your hands now because it is an intelligent, full read.
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
Poornima and Savitha become friends and fight for their places in a world not made for ambitious women. When Savitha is subjected to horrible cruelty, she disappears. Poornima follows closely behind, and this story unravels as each girl overcomes obstacles to try to survive and reunite.
This is not an easy read. After reading the non-fiction book "Half the Sky" years ago, which informs readers of the myriad of challenges many women face in the world daily, every word of "Girls Burn Brighter" read true to me. I'm not sure I could have believed all the author led her characters through if not for that previous book.
This is beautiful, tragic, and determined work.