January 2016

Let’s get this ball rolling! After having hosted Christmas for my family for the first time ever — which was no small feat! — I have survived with most of my sanity intact. As the new year begins, and the holiday tide ebbs, it’s time for a bit of reflection. Again, I strive to read as many books from my own personal collection as possible to complete the list.

We begin with three, listed favorite to least:

The Lover's Dictionary David Levithan
A book from the library: The Lover’s Dictionary, by David Levithan
Six of Crows Leigh Bardugo
A YA Bestseller: Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo
That Old Cape Magic Richard Russo
A book that takes place on an island: That Old Cape Magic, by Richard Russo

 

I was pretty self-serving when it came to choosing The Lover’s Dictionary. Leading a book club at work grants me the opportunity to choose practically any book as ‘a book from the library’ and this one was a quick, yet powerful read. Levithan tells a narrative in an uncommon method: dictionary entries. With some ‘chapters’ as sort as a few letters, to others that span several pages, I felt engaged. Though one might think at first glance this would be an uplifting, romantic, hopeful book, it really is quite sad… this is one that deserves more than a single read-through. I found myself noting certain pages/words/entries to turn back to and read over and over. Think of those you hold dear to your heart. Recognize how love is so closely tied to joy, and also pain. No one is perfect, no love is perfect, and no one lives without feeling heartache. There’s nothing wrong with hope. There’s nothing wrong with fear. Remember to be kind, understanding, and patient. Thanks for another lovely book, David.

~

Coming off of Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, I wondered what else this universe might contain. If you consider her first trilogy as the mythos… the legend… Six of Crows feels more like the real, present-day (Grisha) world. With that trilogy as prologue, you have a richer understanding of this new book. Six of Crows is much more of a heist/action/thriller than a fantasy, but those elements are still present. It felt more focused, and I know how proud Leigh is of this book. (I still have the manuscript around here somewhere!) While it’s not necessary to read Shadow & Bone (etc.) before this, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you do.

~

Though I purchased Russo’s book on a whim during one of my trips to The Cape, I’ve never taken the time to read it out on the beach as I intended. During this winter, I figured it was time to start thinking warm thoughts. Honestly, I don’t have too much to say about this one. It didn’t thrill me, but it didn’t bore me. The characters were flawed, which made them endearing… and the story was pretty light. I’ll probably let this one go now that I’m done with it. This is perhaps an unfair assessment of Russo’s work, since I know people don’t just win Pulitzers on a whim, but I may take some time before picking up another one of his books.

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