Winter is death, but books offer a small antidote. Two for you today, with another memoir and another novel review coming soon. Suggestions always welcome. Most of my library requests come from the comments in these book review posts.
As always, reviews are spoiler free.
Happy reading. May warmth and sanity find you even on the most wintery days. I’m trying my best, too.
1. Hillbilly Elegy.
3.5/5 stars (Would recommend to some)
If You’re Looking For: Memoir, current events, the ability to reference what everyone else is reading
If You Like: Real life family dysfunction mixed with political and social commentary
My Review: It is going to seem like a cop out to not give my full reaction to this book (it is kind of a cop out), but in my experience it’s better to actually read the book before reading all the various critiques, controversies, and commentaries (there are plenty for this one). What’s important (I guess?), is that I enjoyed it. It’s interesting, engaging, and a window into a culture in America that is foreign to most. PS: You’ll have a long wait if you request this at the library, so special thanks to my friend Bethany for lending me her copy in time for our book club discussion.
Their Review: “What explains the appeal of Donald Trump? Many pundits have tried to answer this question and fallen short. But J.D. Vance nails it…stunning…intimate…” – 50% of the reviews
“I read this before it was popular. This has nothing to do with Trump. Isn’t the author a Republican? This book is offensive and inconsistent. I lived there and this is false.” – The other 50%
Quoted: Barack Obama strikes at the heart of our deepest insecurities. He is a good father while many of us aren’t. He wears suits to his job while we wear overalls, if we’re lucky enough to have a job at all. His wife tells us that we shouldn’t be feeding our children certain foods, and we hate her for it—not because we think she’s wrong but because we know she’s right.
2. The Girls.
4/5 stars (Would recommend to a friend)
If You’re Looking For: Fiction, a good story
If You Liked: The Boston Girl
My Review: This is the story of Rose and Ruby Darlen, the world’s oldest surviving craniopagus (conjoined at the head) twins. When I first started reading their “autobiography,” I had to check several times to make sure it wasn’t a true story. Lori Lansens, HOW DID YOU DO THIS. How did you take the very rare premise of twin girls joined at the head and create a novel so believable that it’s almost unbelievable that it isn’t real. Truly funny, fascinating, and beautiful. A brilliant portrait of two very different people, connected by biology and sisterhood. Couldn’t put it down.
Their Review: “It is the true test of a writer’s mettle to create a convincing narrator, and Lori Lansens has done it not once but twice in her remarkable novel about conjoined twins. The two fascinating protagonists of The Girls live their lives together in every way, and yet nevertheless emerge with beliefs and desires all their own, and with distinct outlooks on their difficult circumstances. Lori Lansens is clearly a novelist with a very delicate touch.” – Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha
Quoted: If heaven is tolerant and writers are allowed (bunch of liars though they are), I wonder if they gather for coffee to ponder the prose they should have written instead.