what i’ve been reading {may & june 2016}

{Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont}

This novel is about Jack and Deb and the way their marriage falls apart after Jack has an affair and how it affects their children.  What hooked me to read this book was an interview I heard with Julia Pierpont where she read the first few pages of the novel, which is a letter from Jack’s mistress to Jack’s wife, which ends up in the hands of his children.  It blew me away.  After that though, it’s a bit slow; it is an exploration of family relationships with a few key events here and there.  The writing though is fantastic, there were sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs that just made me stop and re-read them over and over because I loved them so much.

{In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri}

This is Jhumpa Lahiri first non-fiction book, and it is all about her experience learning Italian, reading and writing in Italian, and moving to Italy.  The book is a translation; she wrote it in Italian and the translated version has the matching pages facing one another, so you have one page in Italian, and then the same page in English.  The language nerd it me completely geeked out about this.  As always with Jhumpa Lahiri, the writing and reflections are beautiful and truthful, although here they also feel a bit circuitous and redundant.  Still, I enjoyed the book and best of all, it inspired me to pick up some of my Spanish language books and work my way through them again (although this is going very slowly now, if at all).

{The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin}

I have heard so many wonderful things about this book, which is the story of a crabby bookstore owner who has lost his wife and the way his life changes when a baby is left in his store.  It was an interesting story, and I loved the literary references throughout.  It wasn’t my favorite book though; not for any particular reason than I just didn’t think it was for me as much as I thought it would be.

{Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield}

I LOVED this book.  It is a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, and it is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.  It takes place in Cincinnati, Jane is a yoga instructor, Bingley has just been on a Bachelor type realty show, Liz is a magazine writer, and Darcy is a surgeon.  And while this may all sound like fluff, the book was written so smartly; it is witty and hilarious and just so well done.

{Yes Please by Amy Poehler}

I always love a good comedic celebrity memoirs, and there were things I loved about this one and things I didn’t.  Let’s start with the thing I didn’t: there were sections that I felt I would have appreciated much more had I know who the people were that Amy Peohler was talking about.  What I loved about this book: her honesty with herself.  And I love how this book reminds how important hard work is as well as a community of people who are working towards the sames things you are.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

{Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi}

This book was so tough to read, but it is so good.  Yaa Gyasi tells a story of a African family in the Gold Coast through seven generations.  It starts with two half sisters who do not know each other: one ends up in the castle married to a slave trader, the other in the dungeons.  From there we follow their descendants through slave trading and tribal wars in Africa and from slavery to Harlem.  It is a beautifully told story that, to be honest, I sometimes had to put down because it was so brutal to read.  But I think it will end up on a lot of “notable books” lists at the end of the year.  And it deserves it.

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