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review 2018-07-21 19:50
I Almost Forgot About You ★★★☆☆
I Almost Forgot About You - Terry McMillan

I appreciate a romance that is acerbically funny rather than cloying and this one gets bonus points for a main character and her romantic interests who are middle aged and dealing with all the life issues that go with it. The characters, their relationships, and the events felt real and not too improbable and the dialogue was snappy. I enjoyed it so much that it mostly overcame the usual fatal flaw of having been written in first person, present tense. Normally, I’ll DNF those immediately, but I was actually able to forget the style and fall into the story for the most part.


Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. Audiobooks read by the author tend to be pretty hit/miss, but MacMillan did a terrific reading, especially with the dialogue.

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review 2018-07-17 03:26
Summer Sisters ★★★★☆
Summer Sisters - Judy Blume

I wish I knew what magic makes a book so compelling that you just get sucked right into it and look up hours later, thinking, “I should go to bed, but just a few more pages, but ohhh I’m really going to be sorry when my alarm goes off at 5:30, but just a few more pages, ohhh what the heck okay another chapter.”


In another author’s hands, maybe, this would not have been that kind of book. There were a couple of twists but it was otherwise fairly predictable. The characters were not especially complex and yet I just wanted to know what happened, what they did, why did they do it, and yes I even needed a few Kleenex at the end. The brief little peeks into every (with one key exception) character’s innermost thoughts following key events should have been annoying, but I was instead delighted with them.


I can’t explain it, but this was one of those books. More than 400 pages and I am a slow, stodgy reader, but I gobbled this one up in 2 days. Go figure.


Paperback version, picked up secondhand on a whim 3 years ago.


Previous Updates:

7/16/18 – 297/416

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review 2018-07-15 16:47
Lock In ★★★★☆
Lock In - John Scalzi,Wil Wheaton

Loved it. Loved the writing, loved the characters, loved the story. I loved the “what if” of the idea of the story. I loved how the concepts of body autonomy and consent and disabilities and discrimination and community are toyed with. The only reason this wasn’t a five star is that I was a little too distracted by the plausibility of the *how* of the disease, but that’s something I tend to always get wrapped up in with this sort of story and not at all the writer’s fault.


Audiobook, purchased via Audible. Wil Wheaton’s performance truly makes the story come alive. He is amazing. Many thanks to Obsidian Blue for recommending this one to me!


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review 2018-06-29 02:18
Breakfast at Tiffany’s ★★★★☆
Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote

It was then that she asked about Jose. The instant she saw the letter, she squinted her eyes and bent her lips in a tough tiny smile that advanced her age immeasurably.


“Darling,” she instructed me, “Would you reach in the drawer there and give me my purse? A girl doesn’t read this sort of thing without her lipstick.”


Guided by a compact mirror, she powdered, painted every vestige of twelve-year-old out of her face. She shaped her lips with one tube, colored her cheeks from another. She penciled the rims of her eyes, blued the lids, sprinkled her neck with 4711, attached pearls to her ears, and donned her dark glasses. Thus armored, and after a displeased appraisal of her manicure’s shabby condition, she ripped open the letter and let her eyes race through it while her stony small smile grew smaller and harder.


Having seen the movie several times over the years, before ever reading Capote’s novella, it’s impossible to think about or review one without reference to the other. It’s a shame, because the book deserves to be judged on its own merit. I was mesmerized by the way Holly was written and her character revealed. Much like the movie, she commands all the attention and leaves everyone else cast in shadow. But they are very different people, the movie Holly and the book Holly. Both are damaged, but the book Holly is wholly unsympathetic. She is selfish, shallow, and mean-spirited. She takes everything, and gives nothing except what it pleases her to give. She is tough, the ultimate survivor. But she’s no sociopath. It pains her, sometimes, this selfishness and the knowledge of the misery she causes a few that she leaves behind. But not enough to stop her. I also had little sympathy for the people left in the wreckage, for they knew what she was and still loved her, still yearned after her.


Like the movie, the book is problematic for modern sensibilities. What I found bizarre was that the movie created this monstrous Asian caricature from an innocuous side character who barely registers in the book’s action, while sanitizing the book’s portrayal of African Americans and Holly’s overtly racist and homophobic remarks and attitudes. Holly Golightly and the author that created her both originated from the Jim Crow South, so I’m unsurprised by the book, but I guess by 1961 the wider US audience was sensitive to such treatment of black Americans but still delighted by a white man in yellow face.


Audiobook, purchased via Audible. While I wasn’t enamored with the voice Michael C Hall used for Holly, his performance was otherwise stellar. His pacing and inflection really highlighted Capote’s writing.

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text 2018-06-27 16:31
A Land More Kind Than Home ★★★★☆
A Land More Kind Than Home (Audio) - Wiley Cash,Mark Bramhall,Lorna Raver

A Land More Kind Than Home is wonderful storytelling, dark and tragic, with delicious atmosphere. Much of the mystery derives from the non-linear structure and the reveal coming in slow dribs and drabs from the point of view of three different characters of varying ages and levels of involvement. This adds to the tension and the fun, but ultimately was a little unsatisfying as I didn’t feel fully connected to any of them, although there were moments that were deeply touching.


This is the second book I’ve read by Wiley Cash, and I’ve enjoyed both. I’ll keep looking for books from this author.


Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. The audio used three different performers to represent each main character and all were terrific, especially the voice for the sheriff and the old woman.


Previous Updates:

6/24/18 – 25%

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