Book Talk: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Talk: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins ReidAfter I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher/Year: Washington Square Press- July 1, 2014
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Other Books From Author: Forever, Interrupted

 
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Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

 

A1

Lauren and Ryan have been together since they were in college. Now, many years into their marriage, it’s all fallen apart. In an attempt to figure out what to do next, they decide to take a year off from their marriage — no communication at all — in the hopes that spending some time apart they would fall back in love again or figure out what their future is. They both end up on a journey of self-discovery and that year questions what they think about love and marriage and their ideas of it.

a2Should I wake Will up to talk about this book now or wait until morning?! (I chose waiting because he might receive all my THOUGHTS better if I don’t wake him up). Also, CRAP it’s 1:30 in the morning and I have to be up early!!

a4Oh my soul. OH MY HEART. OH MY THIS BOOK. This is a must for anybody who is married for sure but even if you aren’t married it’s a great story and there is so much to glean from it regarding relationships — especially romantic ones. Estelle and Hannah both raved about this book and THEY WERE 100% RIGHT. It’s freaking amazing. No seriously.

1. As a married lady, this book resonated with me in more depth than I could have imagined: It was a lot like Landline by Rainbow Rowell in the way it made me think about marriage and relationships but this one affected me even more so to be honest. Will and I have been happily married for two years this month and this book made me want to vow to never stop talking, never let apathy lead the way and resentment to build and SO MANY OTHER THINGS because this story broke my heart in ways and I don’t want my marriage to ever get to the point this one did. There were little things that were in this book that scared the hell out of me because some of them I could see happening to us if I’m being honest. The beginnings of things that don’t look like a big deal but ARE.  I’d recommend this to everyone but ESPECIALLY YOU MARRIED PEOPLE. It was Thinking Book for sure and I am so thankful for it.

2. From page 1 I was just captured by this story: We know from the start that they are in a bad place so it’s super bittersweet when we get the story of them falling in love. Despite that, I loved learning how they met, their engagement and then life as newlyweds and then we get these chapters of these small cracks in the foundation and then each little section gets progressively sadder and worse with their relationship. I could FEEL the resentment and the anger there. And then we get into the present where they are deciding to separate from each other for a year. I found myself furiously reading because I HAD TO KNOW how it would turn out. I enjoyed watching what Lauren was learning in her year away from him and I just was so nervous to see what would happen at the end of the year. They both learned a lot about themselves/their marriage but would they be able to fix it? I HAD TO KNOW.

3. This book made me WEEP multiple times: There were just so many things about this story that made me emotional — especially the ending. But watching them leave each other, witnessing the sad moments and the loneliness, the doubt, the realizations of where things went wrong. It all just killed me and there were these perfectly written moments that just stirred up something in my heart so forcefully. And when the ending came…I was just a mess. It was just so unflinchingly honest and poignant that my heart couldn’t handle it.

4. I’m so used to reading books about people FALLING IN LOVE that it was refreshing to read something different: Sure, we see the beginnings of their love story but then we start to see this unraveling of it. And I liked that I really didn’t KNOW if they were going to get back together in the end. To watch how hard sometimes you have to work at love was just really refreshing because like the tagline says, “falling in love is the easy part.” And I honestly was glued to this unraveling but then this year of self love and reflecting on the marriage and the love for each other.

 

a6RATING-beyondloved

factors+ plot, characters, FEELINGS, how it made me think
- NADA

Re-readability: YES!!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I got this out from the library and I REALLY want a copy for myself now!

a5readers of contemporary adult fiction, people who like reading about messy love, people who liked or were interested in Rainbow Rowell’s Landine, married folk because it’s super relatable (even if it you AREN’T married it’s great)

a8I highly recommend After I Do and I can’t wait to pick up Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut novel next. I loved this story and how I connected to it and the characters. It was definitely a book I NEEDED to read and hit me right in the heart with how it dealt with the complicated nature of love and marriage. As I approach my 2 year marriage anniversary, this was just the right book for me at the right time.

 

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After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* DID YOU WEEP AT THE ENDING IF YOU READ THIS BOOK??
* Married ladies, did this one hit ya right in the feels?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

Book Talk: Little Mercies by Heather GudenkaufLittle Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher/Year: Harlequin- June 2014
Genres: Adult Contemporary
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: The Weight of Silence, These Things Hidden, One Breath Away,

 
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

A1
Ellen is a social worker and an advocate for children who has seen some PRETTY awful things — neglect, abuse and just pure evil. She finds herself fulfilled in protecting these children and tries to balance her career with her husband and children. On a day where her attention is elsewhere she finds herself on the other side of her job as her daughter’s life is in jeopardy and her role as a mother could be shaken up. At the same time, a little girl named Jenny finds her way into Ellen’s life. Jenny’s on her own because of some decisions her father made and she isn’t sure she wants to go home…at least not without finding out what she came for.

a2This would make a great book club book! (It even prompted this post!)

a41. I love how this took a issue that has been in the news and humanized it: I don’t want to say what the THING is because I want you to be as surprised as I was with how the events unfolded. I’ll just say it’s something that has been in the news and I’ve seen heated debates over. It’s easy to say these statements about the situation but as you read the story you find yourself sympathetic (at least I did) to the main character because I know it’s something that could happen to me easily. It’s those split second moments that change things and I felt the gravity of her situation. I found it was good to read this one because I am SO quick to judge when I see things.  Would be SUCH a good book for book club!

2. I couldn’t put it down at all: I had to know how it was going to turn out for both storylines. I was reading it furiously at the pool. There’s enough drama and tense situation that it’s easy to get caught up in. Ellen is being looked at like the very parents SHE has to investigate in her job as a social worker and I honestly loved seeing her perception of her clients change in some ways as she navigates the same system they have.

3. It was SUCH an emotional book: You know those books where you can just FEEL that punched in the gut feeling the character does? That was me with Ellen. I really felt for her and it was AGONIZING emotionally to see how everything played out for her. And then, the other story with Jenny, really got me too. I loved the interactions between Jenny and Ellen’s mom and I just felt those warm and fuzzies. There’s just a lot of emotional family related things going on in this book and they struck a chord with me. I think also it was emotional to me because you watch Ellen have to endure all this and it’s the biggest wakeup call of her life…and sometimes it’s sad that we don’t get that wakeup call until something serious happens.

4. While I enjoyed it, I found it to be pretty predictable and some things were of the “isn’t THAT convenient” variety: I wouldn’t say the fact that it was pretty predictable put a damper on how much I enjoyed the novel but I didn’t feel like it surprised me at all. It was more the heavy coincidences that put a little bit of a damper on it — the stories tied together a little TOO neatly and full circle for my personal taste. A little contrived in a sense?

 

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ plot, enjoyability, emotional connection, well written, how absorbed I was
- little predictable, some situations feeling contrived/too convenient

Re-readability: Probably not!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No, sadly because it wasn’t a favorite or one I’d reread, but I’d recommend it as a book club read?

a5people looking for a good book club book, people who like fiction that take relevant topics from the media and humanize it, people who generally like women’s fiction,

a8I found myself absorbed with this one at the pool! It takes a story that always breaks my heart from the news and really adds this human element to it where things aren’t always so black and white. You’ll feel yourself conflicted and challenged to shift your snap judgments or at least that’s what happened to me. This book was a read that gripped me from the moment the LIFE CHANGING MOMENT happened and didn’t let go until I knew the conclusion.

 

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a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
*Have you read any other Heather Gudenkauf books? I have another one of hers that I’m excited to start!
* How did you feel about Ellen and what happened? Do you think it was the right call in the end?
* On a personal note, did you relate to her with how easy it is to get caught up in life and not pay attention? I’ve never had something like that but I’m a person who is very much like Ellen in the beginning of this book.


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Book Talk: The Rosie Project by Graeme SimsionThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Publisher/Year: Simon and SchusterGenres: Adult Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
Other Books From Author: It's his debut!

 
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Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

A1Don Tillman has never really considered marriage. He’s got his whole routine/life down to the minute and he enjoys his life as a genetics professor. He keeps his socializing to a few friends and doesn’t really date. Until somebody he cares about makes a comment about him being a good husband one day. Considering this as a possibility for his life, he goes about trying to decide if finding a wife is possible…in the most scientific way of course. He comes up with The Wife Project in which he creates very specific questions based on the qualities for a wife that would be most compatible for him which his no easy task considering how particular he is. And then Rosie shows up in his life….Rosie who fails this quiz with flying colors. Rosie who needs his help to find her biological father.

a2I LOVE YOU, DON TILLMAN!

a4Firstly, thank you SO much to the thoughtful and lovely Jen for sending this to me! I had been wanting to buy this one for a while especially because the cover is so beauteous.

1. Don Tillman is an AWESOME and memorable main character and reminded me of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory: I was reading it and found myself snickering a lot — he’s really scientific and smart, very literal and just…very Sheldon Cooper like. I read a few lines to Will and said, “who does this sound like?” and he agreed…Sheldon Cooper. (Seriously, couldn’t you see Sheldon coming up with a scientific quiz for a potential wife?). He’s got his routine and his preciseness and he comes together to be this dynamically quirky, loveable character even in his most frustrating moments. It’s quite clear that he has Asperger’s or something similar (he reminded me so much of a boy I used to nanny who had Asperger’s) and it was fascinating to be in his brain especially because he wasn’t really aware that he had Asperger’s..just that some things came differently to him than others. Definitely not your usual character and I loved it! (Someone  on Twitter said he reminds them of Sherlock and I agree too!)

2. The Rosie Project managed to pull off hilarious and heartfelt really well: I laughed quite a bit during this book. It’s FUNNY. Like really funny. But it’s also really worms its way into your heart. It’s heartbreaking to watch Don struggle with things that come second nature to me — things like love. He doesn’t think with his heart and so he sees things very black or white — until Rosie comes around and stirs things up. It was so heartwarming, in addition to how heartbreaking some moments were to read as he struggles, because Don Tillman simultaneously wants to change and yet doesn’t at the same time. He just wants to be capable of love but isn’t sure he is.

3. The Rosie Project isn’t your typical love story and I love that: I read A LOT of love stories and I love ones that aren’t typically. Don hasn’t really dated and, to be honest, he isn’t sure he is capable of loving. He’s so stuck in his ways and he knows  that social interactions are much more difficult for him that he’s pretty much written off romance. With some prodding and a statement from someone he cares about, he suddenly begins to wonder if he is in fact capable of love and being a husband one day. I loved how his own love story unfolded — with all its messiness and unconventional bits. It was so wonderful and it became one of my favorite romances ever without being super romantic or in the obvious way. Love is not easy for him and it doesn’t come naturally so watching him navigate it just gives me the warm and fuzzies because you cannot HELP but root for him! Plus the Rosie/Don banter is A+!!

4. I loved watching Don see himself in new ways because of The Wife Project: He thinks he isn’t capable of change really and I loved watching him decide if he SHOULD change just so he could be a suitable husband or someone worthy of Rosie. As the book progresses you really watch Don start to see himself and the world in new ways and I LOVED THAT. His observations and his reflections were just great in regards to himself as a person and as someone with love to give.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ characters, enjoyability, great writing, plot
- Honestly nothing.

Re-readability: Possibly in a few years I may want to!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I have one! It’s beauteous. Definitely a keeper on the shelf!

a5People who love a good love story that isn’t typical, adult fiction readers who like literary but not pretentious literary sorts of books, people who like charming and funny books, people who like Sheldon Cooper/Sherlock-esque characters (if that makes sense..but a little less annoying than Sheldon can be..AND I SAY THIS AS SOMEONE WHO LOVES SHELDON).

a8The Rosie Project was a book that made me laugh, warmed my heart and just completely swept me up in Don’s unique love story. I can see why the masses have fallen in love with Don and Rosie and all the great characters in this novel. What a fantastic, character-driven book and I can’t WAIT for The Rosie Effect!

 

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a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
* If you haven’t read it, is it something on your radar or that you think you will read?
* Did you find a similarity at all to Sheldon Cooper or was that just me?? I kept reading everything in his voice and had to stop so I wouldn’t just picture Sheldon haha
* If you’ve read it, how would you feel about it becoming a movie/who would you cast?? And how excited are you for book 2?? Any hopes or predictions for The Rosie Effect?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Save The Date: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

To learn more about why I started doing this Save The Date feature and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

 

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* Release date according to Goodreads

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Pre-Order It | Add It To Goodreads


What Landline by Rainbow Rowell Is About:

Georgie + Neal’s marriage has been off for some time and she knows it has been. It’s not an issue of not loving each other but between jobs and kids and all somehow it just has gotten a little lost. When they are a few days out from leaving for Omaha for Christmas, Georgie has a huge work opportunity arise and she has to stay in LA for it. She assumes they’ll all just stay home but is surprised when Neal decides he and the kids are still going. Scared of what this implies, Georgie wonders if it has all fallen apart for good and if/how she can fix it….until she’s given an opportunity to talk to Neal in the past.

Why You Should Be Saving The Date for Landline by Rainbow Rowell:

1. Rainbow Rowell continues her trend of being able to write poignantly and candidly about all sorts of love: Every book of hers I’ve read (all but Attachments) just perfectly captures some intricacy of love in different stages/forms and all the beautiful messiness that comes with it. I loved that, while this was partly a story about a love going wrong, it’s also a story about falling back in love and remembering the first time you fell in love with that person as well…especially in the face of maybe losing it all. She makes love just come alive and feel true.

2. GOD HER WRITING: I just love how Rainbow Rowell writes and Landline is no exception. I love her dialogue. The insertion of some humor. How it makes me feel. And these beautiful sentences that just make you stop in your tracks. I even read a passage to Will and I NEVERRRR read him things from what I’m reading.

3. Lots of thinking re: my own marriage and really any relationship that’s important: It’s easy to be complacent and take people for granted. To not try harder to keep your love ignited and fall into bad habits. I’m early on in my marriage and things are wonderful but this was such a raw and honest portrayal of how one day you could wake up and be in a place you don’t want to be in your marriage because little by little you let it slip away.

4. She just keeps proving she can write anything: This is her 2nd adult book and 4th book total and everything of hers I read is so wonderfully different and I never know what to expect with her but each time I fall in love in my own way with the book and the characters. They are the books that linger for me and keep me up at night.

5. She makes this THING work: There’s an element to this book, how Georgie communicates with him in the past, that COULD be super corny and she just makes it WORK. So well. Never felt corny.

 

Who Should Save The Date: Rainbow Rowell fans, people who also read adult fiction, people who like love stories that are a bit messy but beautiful

 

A Sneak Peek: “You don’t know when you are twenty-three. You don’t know what it really means to crawl into someone else’s life and stay there. You can’t see all the ways you’re going to get tangled, how you’re going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten — in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems” (this is taken from the advanced copy and could be subject to change)

Be on the lookout for my FULL review closer to the release date where I will flesh out my thoughts a little more!

 

Have you read this one? Are you excited for it?? Putting it on your TBR list? What’s your favorite Rainbow Rowell book thus far if you’ve read her?

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie | Book Review

20130709-165427.jpgBook Title/Author: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
Publisher/Year
: William Morrow 2012
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance – “Chick Lit/Romantic Comedy”
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Spin, Forgotten, Hidden

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I got this out from the library!

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Blythe is by all means a successful — she’s in her early 30′s, she’s got a great job as a columnist for a magazine, she’s working on a deal for her book and she’s got a great social circle. The only thing she is missing is that special someone to share her life with. She’s had her share of bad relationships and the latest one ended in her leaving him because he cheated. On her way to start her new life alone she comes across a business card for what appears to be a dating service for when she decides she may be up for dating again. Anne hits rock bottom when her best friend gets engaged and she feels like she is going to be forever alone so she decides to call the dating service and see what happens. What Anne finds is that it is actually a very exclusive service that isn’t there to get you a date but rather to find you a husband — it’s an arranged marriage service that comes with a hefty price tag. She thinks it is absurd at first but after a lot of thought and research she decides to give it a go and soon she’s on her way to Mexico to meet and marry her husband.

I read Arranged by Catherine McKenzie on the beach and it was SUCH a perfect beach read. I originally had her novel Spin as a pick on my Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag list but it came into the library too late so I picked this one up since it was available! It was so FUN and such a deliciously good page turner and I enjoyed every single page!

Arranged is told in 3 parts and I don’t even know which one is my favorite. Part 1 is learning about Anne’s love life and her finding out about this whole process and agreeing to it. I was certainly plenty intrigued about the whole service and how it works though I, like Anne, was very skeptical. Part 2 is Mexico which was equally, if not more,  compelling as she meets her husband. As a reader, I was so eager to see if there would be chemistry between them and how awkward it would be. Part 3 is life AFTER the resort and that is where it gets to be even more of a juicier page-turner.

It was easy for me to feel for Anne. Sure, I met Will when I was 21 but pretty much all my friends were in serious relationships and I was just bouncing around so I always felt like an old maid. I know lots of people in Anne’s position — she’s in her early 30′s, doesn’t have a serious relationship and all her friends are getting married and having kids. It’s hard to feel like you are stuck in a whole other universe while all your friends are “moving on.” I felt that when we were the only unmarried couple in our group. I could feel Anne’s desire for what her friends had — true love — and I love how this story was so honest & funny about the things we do to find love. While most of us probably have not considered  arranged marriages, we’ve all done something or ignored something in our quest for love.

The writing was very accessible and straightforward which was perfect for a beach read and had characters that were easy to relate to but not in an obvious way. I was taken off guard by something that happened in Part 3 (I didn’t read the summary of this book closely) but after that I found that it remained pretty predictable to what I expect like how it is when I’m watching a romantic comedy and I didn’t mind that. I rooted for Anne the whole way through to find her true love and her story, while unconventional, was something I could relate to and loved watching unravel.

Ultimately Arranged was the fun, breezy romantic comedy I had hoped it would be for a beach read but I was really impressed with the smart and honest insights into the ups and downs of finding someone to love and loving– desire, loneliness, being vulnerable, trusting after you’ve been hurt, etc. It satisfied the need for a romantic page-turner filled with some laughs but also tackled the subject of marriage and love in an insightful and honest manner. It was a very unique and unconventional love story and I enjoyed it so much! Definitely recommend if you are looking for a fun romantic comedy or a good beach read!

 

Arranged-Catherine-McKenzie


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Did you like it, dislike it or feeling mixed about it? Did you see THE BIG THING coming? I just didn’t (but I also didn’t read the summary). Have you read any of her other books?? Which one should I read next? I have Spin from the library now so I’ll probably start there!

 

Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream

Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream is set up by chapters which count down the last 30 days of Clementine’s life as she plans and prepares for her suicide. Each chapter chronicles her day as she goes about her business to prepare and plan for her impending departure – things as mundane as cleaning out her refrigerator to finding a new owner for her rambunctious cat and making contact with her estranged father. Along the way there is drama, unearthing of secrets and quite a few things that could derail her plan. Mostly it’s hilarious, despite you’d think the tone would be with a book about suicide, but it’s also a little heartbreaking when you learn more about Clementine’s life. You just want to save her.

It’s a strange experience reading this book. As you are reading you become, like her, more and more at peace with her decision so to speak. I wouldn’t say I was rooting her on in her suicide but you find yourself almost accepting of it in the strangest way and you keep reading on swiftly to see if she actually goes through with it. I have to applaud the author for writing in such a way that you take on that resignation and feeling of peace that Clementine has in her decision.

Clementine herself was such a strange and interesting character! She’s snarky, a free spirited artist, quite ballsy & altogether just memorable. I felt as though some of her reckless actions and interesting decision making really mirrored her commitment to going through with her suicide. Why care about what you eat when you aren’t going to be alive in a few weeks? One night stands…not a problem when you don’t have to worry about the repercussions.

There were a few things that prevented this book from being stellar or awesome. Sometimes some of the descriptions of the mundane things…were just TOO mundane and I’d find myself skipping over a half of page to get to a part where she’s being hilarious in her observations or something. My other problem came with the ending. I’m not going to say much but it was not really satisfying to me. I can’t explain it without giving things away…but I just felt very underwhelmed.

Final Thought: Losing Clementine by Ashley Ream was a good read! It wasn’t a favorite by any means but it was refreshing and I’m glad I received a copy of it from the publisher. It was such an interesting read being inside the head of a character who has made peace with herself and her decision to commit suicide. It’s comical read, despite the subject matter, and I found myself giggling quite a lot. I couldn’t put it down until I found out whether or not she went through with it! Recommended for lovers of contemporary women’s fiction who want something refreshing and unique!

Review On A Post-It:

Find it on Goodreads or Amazon

Review: The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni

Book/Author: The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
Publisher/Year: Putnam Adult 2010
Genre: Adult Fiction (but I think it would have great crossover appeal for readers of Young Adult Literature)

The House of Tomorrow is about a teen boy named Sebastian who lives with his grandmother in this dome on top of a hill. His grandma is way into Futurism and the teachings of Buckminster Fuller and so he is certifiably an oddball character as he is homeschooled and has been brought up in a very unconventional, quirky way with very little interaction with other people and certainly not any kids his own age. This all changes when a scary event leads him to the Whitcombs who have a boy Sebastian’s age who on the outside is a punk loving kid with a bad attitude.

I wanted to love this book more than I did. This was the sort of book that was like, “Ok good book. Glad I read it. But I wish I felt more about it than I actually do…or probably should.” I think maybe it was the hype I had seen for it..I don’t know. I really enjoyed the character of Sebastian because he certainly could be King of the Oddballs and I think that anyone who really enjoys genuinely quirky characters would fall in love with him! I really loved the relationship between Sebastian and Jared because they are both such outcasts in their own way and have both understood what it is like to live a bit of a sheltered life. All of the characters were really lively in fact and I loved Sebastian’s interactions with them all. Even the briefest of characters were written with such extraordinary depth – like the record shop owner or the kids in the youth group. I loved how music just pulsed through this book – the love and appreciation for it, that first time discovery of music that is able to awaken every sense within you and the bond that a mutual love for creating music and listening to music can form.

While I thought the whole Futurism thing was interesting as part of the plot, I felt some of the book got bogged down by it while I was reading it. I felt like I was getting some info dumps that I just didn’t care about. I wanted to get into the heart of a story rather than learn about these teachings. Get past that first part that had a lot of the teachings and it gets much more interesting but they really did slow me down. I also felt like there was something deep and profound I was supposed to be taking away from the book, and while I did find a few nuggets, I mostly felt like it’s the type of book that could easily be one of those ones that are overhyped for how profound it is. Like, “omg look how deep I am!”

The Final Thought: The House of Tomorrow really was a good read but not the great read that I had hoped it would be. I am glad that I picked it up! There is something quite profound within the pages and Bognanni is a really great writer whose style I could see being really popular. It kind of reminds me of books like The Catcher in the Rye or like The Perks of Being A Wallflower with the characters and the coming of age story. If you love music (especially punk rock!) this book would be a really excellent read!

Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

I was really ecstatic when I heard that that David Levithan was writing an adult novel because I love me some David and I read quite a bit of adult as well…and because it was about loooove. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I knew if it was like most of David’s novels I’d feel some sort of connection to it.

The Lover’s Dictionary was SUCH an interestingly lovely read that I DEVOURED in a day. Each page contains a passage of prose that reflects a word from the dictionary and it is written as though it is a dictionary entry. The passages range in length, some being a sentence or two and some being half of a page long, and follow the love story between a nameless narrator and his lover. You feel kind of a distance at first because you are only seeing snippets (not chronologically) of their love story and because they ARE nameless but you find yourself reading these intensely intimate thoughts and raw emotions and this couple becomes so exposed as the book gives glimpses into some of the most joyful and exciting times in their relationship as well as some of the most difficult and trying times in their relationship.

This book was really such an honest portrayal of the many facets of love as it examines the joys, the doubts, the heartbreaks, the sacrifices and the different nuances and quirks in the love affair between two people. Some passages made me laugh, cry and reflect on my own relationship as certain feelings or situations would hit close to home. The writing was exquisite and I found myself bookmarking page after page thinking that each passage was my new favorite only for it to be dethroned by another.

Some I wanted to share:

 
ineffable, adj.
these words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convoy. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.
autonomy, n.
“I want my books to have their own shelves,” you said, and that’s how I knew it would be okay to live together”
 
placid, adj.
Sometimes I love it when we just lie on our backs, gaze off, stay still.

There are SO many wonderful lines and passages in this book but I tried to pick some shorter ones that stood out in my mind.

My final thought: This book was a gem! Upon finishing it I just held it close to my chest because I was amazed at how raw it was and how much I connected with it. I thought of the moments that made my heart flutter in my relationship, I thought about the doubt and the act of learning how to trust in a relationship, the beauty in the mundane and the wonderful journey love really is despite how hard it can be to love and let yourself be loved in a relationship. The prose was something to be savored and I have no doubts that I will read this book again as it has a permanent place on my shelf. Levithan’s delivery was creative and I found the his connection to each of the words to be genius. I’d recommend to lovers of adult fiction who don’t mind something different and who don’t need to be wooed by a fast moving plot.

Review On A Post-It:

Great House by Nicole Krauss

Great House: A Novel
Title/Author: Great House by Nicole Krauss
Publisher/Year: W.W. Norton/ October 5 2010
How I Got This Book: Tahleen got an ARC of it and was so kind as to let me read it since I’m a HUGE fan of Nicole Krauss.
Why I Read This Book: I’d read anything Nicole Krauss wrote–be it cereal boxes or appliance manuals.
Rating: Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. Leaning towards four as I couldn’t stop thinking about it for two weeks straight.

*ALSO posted on my other blog–The Broke and the Bookish*

I have been dying to get my hands on this book as I’m a huge of fan of Nicole Krauss (and her hubby Jonathan Foer Safran). I honestly didn’t even know what this book was about but I immediately added it to my TBR list as soon as I knew about it.

In Great House, Krauss writes an interwoven novel of four different story lines of individuals and families who are inextricably bound together by a enormous desk with many drawers that bears a heavy history of its own, similar to the histories of those whose hands this desk has passed through. The people in the story are deeply affected by this desk in negative and positive ways, even after the desk has left their possession, and the mysteries and memories of previous owners echo in the deep recesses of these ominous drawers just waiting to be released.

This novel, although History of Love is still my favorite, does not disappoint. It is honest, beautiful and at times heartbreaking. It isn’t just Krauss’s ability to construct an intricate story the way a great craftsman would a building; it is also the way that her beautiful prose can resonate in the deepest caverns of your bones setting aflame some feeling that you have known that you have felt before but have never been able to put into words. It is haunting in the way that deja vu always is.

Great House, like The History of Love, contains some of the most heartfelt character development I’ve seen in novels. The observations of the human condition are spot-on and the characters just come alive in all their despairs and hopes. It is one of those books that remind you just how fragile and complex humanity is. The theme of loss is ever present in this novel–the loss of loved ones, of possessions, of the world you knew and the loss of something that might have never been at all. The desk, to those connected to it, represents some semblance of permanence as they grapple with how  how to deal with loss and how to reassemble ourselves—a process I am sure we all can relate to.

I only had a few problems with the novel. Some places were kind of slow in certain storylines. I think she did a good job weaving the stories together but sometimes I got bored with a storyline or forgot something from another. I also felt like I still had a few questions after the novel that I didn’t feel were addressed. I felt they were important so it kind of irked me. Another thing that was hard for me was that I felt like Krauss maintained the same tone throughout each story. I got a good sense of the characters and who they were but I never get a sense for the “voice” that was telling the story. I don’t know if that makes sense but it does in my head.

One thing I really appreciated about this novel is that even though the storylines were bound together by this desk, these people were not strongly linked. Sometimes you read a novel where people were bound by a person or event and then you have five random people all coming together all linked by this one thing and it seems like it was just fate for them to find each other. I liked that there were brushings with people but they were sometimes far removed from the actual person. You’ll see what I mean when you read it.

I’d recommend it to most people–especially those who already love Nicole Krauss or fans of her husband. If you haven’t read anything by Nicole Krauss, I’d recommend you reading The History of Love first and then this one.

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