Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A Place for Us by Fatima Mirza - Book Review

Time for another - way longer than intended - I should probably change the name of this thing I do, but I am also committed to the project. help. #60secondbookreview of "A Place for Us" by Fatima Farheen Mirza - a book that felt like being wrapped up in a warm blanket - so cozy.

"A Place for Us" by Fatima Mirza is a *debut novel* ( holy moly how is this her first novel, it's so good!?) it follows an Indian American Muslim family. The book begins at the wedding of the eldest daughter, Hadia. Hadia has decided to invite her brother, Amar,  to her wedding even though he has been estranged from their family for the last three years.

Through the next 400 plus pages, you get a very close look at the interpersonal relationships of this family. The novel moves forward and back in time and shows the reader how the parents met, how the siblings have interacted with each other, and also each of the characters individual lives, and possibly most important, how the parents interact with their children. And after all of that depth, the reader gets a very good sense of why Amar is estranged from his family and just how complicated his return will be for all of the characters.

I really enjoyed reading "A Place for Us", and I think one of the reasons it works so well is the author's ability to make you feel like you are a part of this family - by the end of the novel you know all of their in's and out's - and because of that it is also does an excellent job of exploring identity. How family and religion can aide but also complicate that process. One you think you've found that, once you feel like you know yourself, your families fight against that image can be a misguided attempt at showing their love, but it can also be one of the most harmful things you experience. 

I did struggle a bit to get into this book, it's a common criticism of the book, so it's nice not to feel alone in that - the hurdle for me was that the book jumps around quite a bit in the timeline of this family, and also between different characters. But, once I was all in, I was all in, and also really want this book to be adapted to film, really rooting for this to happen!

Have you read "A Place for Us"? What were your experiences while reading the novel, which characters did you connect with most? Comment down below and let's chat about it!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Tin Man by Sarah Winman - Book Review

#60secondbookreview time, and this is a good one, readers! "Tin Man" by Sarah Winman is the story of two boys, Michael and Ellis, who become the best of friends, fall in love - and then everything that happens after that. Sometimes a book hits you in one or two emotional soft spots - this book hit me in at least six. It's impossible for me to tell you what those are without just epic, novel ruining spoilers, but just know, lots of tissues, so many tissues. A huge part of that is Sarah Winman's writing, it is breath taking and haunting, and this entire book review could just be me listing off quotes from this book I loved, like -  

"there's something about first love, it's untouchable to those that played no part in it, but it is the measure of all that follows."

"he clung to every word as if they were hand holds up a cliff face."

This little book, it is under 200 pages, but it packs a disproportionately large emotional gut punch. If like me, you enjoyed "The Hearts Invisible Furies", you will likely love this book. My only struggle reading "Tin Man" was that there is no punctuation for dialogue. It made sense as an author choice considering the events in the book, but it definitely made the book harder for me to read and pulled me out of the story at times, which is pretty remarkable because this is definitely a story I did not want to be pulled out of. 

Have you read "Tin Man" by Sarah Winman? Comment down below and let me know what you thought of it!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker - Book Review

"The Dreamers" by Karen Thompson Walker 
Book Review and Discussion

#60secondbookreview of "The Dreamers" by Karen Thompson Walker - a book it  felt like everyone read last month. A bit of an exaggeration, but it has super popular, for sure! This book follows an isolated college town in California, where one day a girl falls asleep in the dorms and she can not be woken up. This "sleeping sickness" ( try saying that five times fast) spreads and soon the town is caught up in a paranoia, and also legitimate fear, of an illness that no one understands, and also grappling with the realities of treating hundreds of sick patients. The things that scare us the most are also at times the most compelling to read about. If this scenario were playing out in real life, I'd be hiding in the fetal position somewhere. I gave "The Dreamers" three stars - I enjoyed big chunks of this book - but - the parts that I enjoyed were for the author's beautiful writing, not for plotting. And the further I got into the book, the less those poignant quotes were holding my attention. The book's depiction of what an illness like this would look like, what the experience would be, as well as the characters and feelings evoked by the book - now that I am two weeks out from finishing it, just haven't stuck with me.

Have you read "The Dreamers"? Comment down below and let me know what you thought of it!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid - Book Review

#60secondbookreview of "Daisy Jones and The Six" by Youtube, Instagram, just general Internet and life winner - Taylor Jenkins Reid. 

This book is about a fictional band from the 1970's called "Daisy Jones and the Six", who broke up at the height of their fame. It is structured as a novelization of a rock documentary and looks like a script. The band members are being interviewed individually, but their answers bounce off of each other, and as you go through you get a sense of where things might've gone wrong. Even though it hasn't released yet ( many thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read it before publication, as well ; ) this book already has rave reviews on Goodreads - and I can completely see why! SUPER strong pacing, it sidestepped a lot of the tropes I expected going into the book. And the themes it focuses on instead are excellent - individuality, the struggle and joy of creating art, and what you have ( or are seen as ) sacrificing, particularly if you are a woman, in order to participate. And also how substance abuse, addiction, and depression, play a role, as well. This novel was important and more powerful than expected. I wouldn't recommend "Daisy Jones and the Six" to all adult fiction readers, but if you are looking for something lighter that also manages to have a lot of depth at the same time, I think this is a great one to pick up! 

Comment down below and let me know your thoughts about "Daisy Jones and the Six" or let me know your favorite Taylor Jenkins Reid novel, it's 'Evelyn Hugo", isn't it?!