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Commonwealth, Ann Patchett

The funny thing was that I picked up the book so I would read something not too intense so I could pay attention to my husband and children and instead the husband and children in the novel caught me and swallowed me whole, and I literally told my own husband to shut up and let me read.

This is a sprawling family drama, about secrets and loyalties, but uplifting in the end.

The Confessions of Young Nero, Margaret George

Read second part first so there was overlap, especially at the end. It’s well written but I lost steam by the end.

The Deal, Elle Kennedy

This wasn’t my favorite. The premise which turned out to be sex didn’t turn me on. And then it went on too long. Garrett-Hannah felt like a repeat of Hunter-Demi in The Play. Still fun read though

Throaway observation: In every single book she mentions the partitions in the showers of the hockey team’s men’s locker rooms. It’s like she’s determined to kill some myth about boys checking each other out in the shower.

Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng

A family drama in the guise of a mystery. Moral of the story: Parents fuck up their kids with the best intentions.

The Lost Man, Jane Harper

I thought this was part of the Falk series. It was connected in a very subtle way. But it was very good. I love how she sets her stories in the outback and how the land is so much a part of it, how she deconstructs the idea of the noble savage. All the more relevant in these times as fires rage in Australia.

 

The Convenience Store Girl, Sayaka Murata

Read my thoughts on the chick lit blog here. This is not chick lit, if that’s going to put you off, but it had some commonalities with the single girl narratives of that genre so I put my thoughts on that blog.

The English Cameo – Madhulika Liddle

Love the Mughal era and wish there was more written in that period. I stayed away from this – a mystery series set in Emperor Shah Jahan’s time – for a long time because I felt like it didn’t deal with the main Mughal players but it’s excellently done. Going to read the rest in the series for sure.

Chasing Hillary, Amy Chozick

I expected this to be a bio, but it’s really a memoir about a journalist whose career became inextricably tied up with Clinton’s. I’m just going to post my scattered thoughts:

  • Like that it turned out to be a journalistic memoir and that she presents herself as a fuck up
  • Dislike that she doesn’t seem to like Hillary perhaps because she didn’t talk to her much (e.g. detail about Botox, the unfair comparison of how Obama handled negative stories )
  • Oh well at least it’s not a gushing portrait
  • It reads as an apologia of sorts  all those negative stories (Bathroomgate for example, which by mid-book I didn’t remember what it was) there was a reason for them
  • My impression of Hillary as a geek who really had her facts down was correct. Apparently that’s not what it takes to be president
  • Here’s a writing sample: “Hillary’s Iowa town halls became so frequent and intimate that they started to take on the familiar, if laborious, feel of catching up with an old girlfriend who cites GDP statistics over brunch”
  • She didn’t (only) lose because she’s a woman but because she’s a geek. She promised to underpromise, which is hardly going to enthuse an electorate
  • Who were Bernie’s people? In Amy’s experience, kids who go to NYU (i.e. rich kids and bros). On Bernie bros saying they’d vote for a woman, just not that woman: “Thirty years of sexist attacks had turned her into that woman. That sooner or later, the higher we climb, the harder we work, we all become that woman.

Ask Again yes, Mary Beth Keane 

After Commonwealth, I’ve decided I like these modern multigenerational family dramas. I like that they have happy endings these days Nietszche’s amor fati – if you had to say yes to your life again with all its failures and challenges, would you? A tragedy shatters the book but it also shows how it can all be put together again.

Galatea, Madeline Miller

This is a novella, really, and as with all Miller’s mythological stuff, it’s good. But it was also … fleeting.

Ayesha, At Last, Uzma Jalaluddin

Loved. Read my thoughts on the chick lit blog here.