Book Club

Book Club

Summer reading.  Beach reading.  Whatever you call it, summer for me is a time where I really want to dig into a light, easy page turner.

While, the first book I’m going to recommend is certainly not light, for me it was a page turner. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’ examines race (in Africa, the US and Europe), relationships and the immigrant experience.  It really made me think about some of my own preconceived notions and beliefs on these same topics.

A book I read awhile ago that was on several “Best of Summer” lists last year, for me deserve mention because I really did not like it. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer was anything but.  It is the story of six teenagers who meet at sleep away camp in the 70s.  It follows the ebb and flow of their relationships throughout life.  I found the characters more like caricatures, and the main character was so unlikable I couldn’t understand why anyone befriended her in the first place.  I liked the idea of the novel, but not the execution.

Delancey  is an easy, breezy memoir by Molly Wizenberg who writes the blog, Orangette. Shortly after marrying her husband, he decides to open a pizza restaurant.  The book talks about the trials and tribulations of this undertaking and how it affected their relationship.  Bonus–it includes recipes.

What are your favorite summer reads?

Book Club

Book Club

So many books, so much time on the subway.  Once again, a shout out to my kindle which is the perfect commuting reader.

And the Band Played On: Given my line of work, I find it unbelievable that I never read this incredible book which chronicles the early days of the AIDS epidemic.  An amazing work of journalism that reads like a novel.

Wave: I don’t think I’ve ever read such an honest book.  This is the true story of a woman who survives a tsunami off the coast of Sri Lanka, but loses her children, her husband and her parents.  It is a love letter to her family, but must have been gut wrenching to write.  I cannot imagine how many people grieving themselves benefitted from this truly astounding book.

The Sound of Things Falling: This is the first book I’ve read by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and I’m excited to read more.  This novel beautifully recounts a man’s childhood in Columbia and explains the modern day history of his country in the process.

Any recommendations?

 
Me Before You. Beautiful/tearful

Beyond the Beautiful Forevers. Shocking/life changing

 

Book Club

Book Club

Happy New Year!

So we missed the boat on holiday gift guides and end of year round ups.

I’m not sure I’m ready to make any big announcement regarding resolutions for 2014, but, I did receive a Chanukah gift this year that changed my life and is worth mentioning…a kindle.  I realize these have been around for nearly a decade, but let’s face it, I’m a slow adopter.  I had a flip phone until last year.  Seriously.

But I digress.  The point is, I love my kindle.  It’s the absolute perfect size and weight for subway commuting, which, as it turns out, is when I read the most.  And so, since receiving this phenomenal little gem, I’ve read more in the last six weeks than I read the whole rest of the year.

Two books worth mentioning:

1. The Twentieth Wife–full disclosure–I actually read this in paperback, but only because I didn’t have the kindle yet, but I may just re-read it as an e book for kicks. This book was recommended to me by my dear friend (and faithful reader of L2S), Sanyukta.  It’s historical fiction about an Indian empress.  It truly unfolds like a movie and is an absolute page turner.

2. The Goldfinch–so incredibly good.  I think it’s ruined me for the next several books I read.  In short, it’s the story of a boy who is orphaned after his mom is killed in a terrorist attack in NYC.  This is such a simple explanation of such an extraordinary book, but I really don’t want to say much more except, read this now.  I had read a bunch of reviews of this one, but when my friend, Alyssa recommended it, it was a no brainer.  She has the distinction of ALWAYS recommending books that I like.

So there you have it.  A little technology is definitely going a long way for me in 2014.

What were your favorite books that you read this past year, and what are you planning on reading in the next 12 months?

image c/o newyorker.com

 
     
Sorry for the late response. It brings me such joy to know you are reading again! I suffered through many years of no Slinkie book recommendations, so thank you to Joe and your Kindle for bringing you back into the world of books and sharing the good ones.

I have recently read an odd collection of books that somehow all had to do with death (maybe some divine intervention there). Leah offered her favorite book, The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene which was a beautiful love story about two teenagers living with cancer. Highly recommend to adults and teens alike.

The Lovely Bones and Defending Jacob were two oldies I devoured simultaneously. We are back in carpool season which means, books on tape for me in the car. A bit challenging listening to one and reading the other, but enjoyed both. Duct Tape Parenting is a parenting book that has recently changed my life. Lucas happened to see on the coffee table and blurted out after seeing the title and the illustration of parents with their mouth duct taped, “Now THAT’S a good idea!”

I just picked up The Woman Upstairs so will let you know about that one soon.

Divergent Book Review

Divergent Book Review

In thinking of the topic for today’s post, I asked Leah if she would like to be a guest writer on Letters2Slinkie and to my surprise she said “Sure”. She quickly decided she would  write a review of one of her favorite books this summer, Divergent by Veronica Roth. How fun to read a review by a 12 year old! Enjoy.

________

“My older brother suggested that I read this book called Divergent. I hadn’t heard much about it but I’ve seen kids reading it at school and I saw some stuff about it online. I decided to read it this summer during our time in Costa Rica. My friend who we were traveling with and I were reading it at the same time…we both got hooked fast!

Divergent is an amazingly written, creative story that keeps you on your toes ALL THE TIME. It’s about a girl named Tris who lives in a world in the future where you are assigned a ‘faction’ or group based on your personality and actions. When  you are young, you are in the same faction as your parents but when you turn sixteen, you take a test and choose your own faction, one you feel like yourself in. But when Tris takes her test to figure out what faction she belongs in, turns out she’s a special case…

I think Divergent is kind of like a mix of The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and The Giver. It’s written like The Hunger Games and it’s full of suspense. Also, the factions are kind of like the houses in Harry Potter. When you are reading you can’t help but think about what faction would you be in, and what faction your friends would be in. It feels like you are in all of Tris’ adventures and accidents with her, which is awesome. This was one of my favorite books I read all summer. I really recommend it to kids around my age, twelve and up. And a bonus…the movie is coming out in 2014!!”

Leah, Thanks for being our first guest poster!  I’m always looking for a good page turner and this sounds perfect.  I can’t wait to read it and find out which faction I would join!
Book Club

Book Club

I love to read, and yet, sadly, I hardly ever do it anymore.  I’m not exactly sure why.  I guess it’s because I read so much for work that at the end of the day, reading for pleasure seems like such a chore and mindless TV watching seems so much easier.

But then I read a gem like Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and I wonder why I’m not reading every night.

I’m not sure how I missed this book last year (it was one of the 100 Notable books on the 2012 New York Times Book Review), but somehow it passed me by.  It’s now out in paperback or on kindle or ipad or however people are reading these days.  It’s romantic and funny and sad and beautiful.  A total page turner.  Great beach read.

There would seem to be nothing more obvious, more tangible and palpable than the present moment.  And yet it eludes us completely.  All the sadness of life lies in that fact

This Milan Kundera quote is mentioned in the book and I think it’s absolutely amazing.  It says so much so succinctly, and it’s something I’ve been trying to work on myself.

Sara Rose “graduated” from kindergarten yesterday.  And as I sat there with all the other proud parents clicking iphones and ipads and cameras trying to capture the moment, I actually put down my camera so I could be there at that moment and experience Sara Rose and her beautiful class as they sang and danced their sweet little hearts out on the auditorium stage.

image c/o trishwriter11.blogspot.com