Books

Book 563: You Are Not Alone – Debbie Augenthaler

When the publicist reached out to me about this book I said yes.* I didn’t know if I wanted to say yes, because my mother had passed only weeks before, but I knew at some point I would want/need to read this.

In many ways, I wish I would’ve read it sooner or at the very least before I read Grief Works. What I was looking for in Grief Works, an in-depth “this was my experience of grief” story and this is how I survived, struggled, thrived, etc.

I teared up a few times reading this one, not so much because of my experience (although that did happen at least once), but because of how heartfelt and how beautifully written Augenthaler’s work is. She goes in-depth into what feel like the four stages of grief and even talks about them at some point, but on the whole she stays pretty far away from psychotherapy babble and writes about her personal experience.

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Book 554: Grief Works – Julia Samuel

Grief Works cover artWhen the publicist reached out with a copy of this, I wasn’t sure I was ready after my mother’s death at the end of last year.* They reached out within the first couple of weeks and I was so caught up in dealing with everything you have to deal with from a planning and organization perspective that comes with death, that I wasn’t even really thinking about the physical and emotional perspectives. Ultimately, I said yes thinking I would eventually need something like this, but not sure when.

When we packed for our trip to Mexico I threw it in our bag, I figured what better place to open up the emotional turmoil than on a beautiful beach hundreds of miles away from everywhere to start processing things. And that’s sort of what happened, but not really. Continue reading “Book 554: Grief Works – Julia Samuel”

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Book 550: Quietus – Vivian Schilling

I was excited when the publicist reached out to me about this book, it sounded just creepy enough to not be terrifying and interesting enough because of its location.* Unfortunately, because of the problems with the location (see most of the next four paragraphs), it ultimately wasn’t an enjoyable read for me.

I will cut to the chase, the problem with reading books set where you live, no matter the time unless it’s so far in the past that it’s unrecognizable, is how much they get wrong or it feels like they get wrong. So many of these could have easily been fixed with a quick internet search of the MBTA map in Boston and just looking at a map in Boston. Boston is not a large city and its public transit is not that large or complex. I want to blame the copy editor, but really it’s the author’s fault.

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Books

Book 534: The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

After seeing the atrocious adaptation that was the film, I decided I should visit the source material to see if I might actually enjoy the story. I have minimal Stephen King interaction (outside of Cujo and Misery—both read for a Books into Movies book group) so I don’t have too many pre-conceived notions about him as an author.

However, now I’ve processed the book I’m torn. There were parts of this I enjoyed but knowing what’s coming and knowing how many books there are left in the cycle I’m not sure I’ll be able to stick with it. A large part of this had to do with it starting in medias res (Wikipedia link), but not like a bit, but like what felt near the end. Maybe it’s not and I’ll be surprised, but it really feels pretty late in the story.

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Books

Book 523: Lickety Split – Damon Suede

I hadn’t planned to read more than one of these, but when you’re caught up in the moment you can’t really control what comes through on your kindle (or you buy at a bookstore, get from the library, or… well you know what I mean). After finishing Hot Head, I checked to see if this was available at the library and it was, so of course I checked i tout and blazed through it.

Lickety Split, is sort of the opposite of Hot Head in that it’s set in super rural Texas and you’ve got small town life versus big city living. There are still some family hiccups in this one as there were in the first. I guess Suede writes what he knows with a big impact either way. He grew up in small town Texas (surprise, surprise) and fled for the big city at the first opportunity he could.

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Books

Book 502: Jane Austen, the Secret Radical – Helena Kelly

Perhaps I’m too smart for my own good, but overall this book was a bit disappointing. With a title like Jane Austen, the Secret Radical, you’d expect there to be revelations of sorts and yet there weren’t. I mean that’s why I requested a copy from the publisher.* I was hoping as the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death rapidly approaches there’d be something completely new and innovative to talk about, but there wasn’t.

Sure Kelly highlighted a few things that I missed when reading Austen, but really she just expounded upon the things that those of us who don’t read Austen ONLY as a romance novelist, but as a social commentator hopefully picked up on. She provided more detail of course, especially when it came to names and places, but overall there just weren’t a lot of revelations.

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Book 479: The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) – Lemony Snicket

If I weren’t reading this for book group, I don’t think I would keep reading the series. The exponential increase of negativity and darkness is too much for me. I’ve struggled with the balance of the darkness and the humor. Thankfully, the one person in our group who has read them told us that they’re not all as doom and gloom as the first few and that other story lines develop, so needless to say I’m looking forward to that.

This one was once again even darker than the one before, and the reason I wrote about the above. There was a scene where the person who was supposed to be the Baudelaire’s guardian offered them as a sacrifice instead of themselves and I was like WTF, this is just too much. I also felt the appearance of Count Olaf and the rapidity of the demise of the guardian was even faster than the previous books.

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