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review 2018-07-19 14:42
Heartbreaking
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

I read this book back in 2003. I remember buying the hardcover from a random book shop in D.C. (can't recall the name of the store) and started to read this book while on a bus heading back from the Pentagon metro stop. Within an hour I was in tears and just read it until I finished it sometime before dawn. This book grabbed me back when I was 23 and it still grabbed me more than a decade and a half later at 38. Sebold wrote this book in response to being raped and she takes all of that pain and anger and wrote something that I believe will eventually be considered a classic. That said there are some nits here and there in the book that don't work, she has the main character at one point inhabit someone's body and I don't even want to discuss it anymore cause it was weird and off-putting. The only really false step I got while reading this.

 

"The Lovely Bones" is about 14 year old Susie Salmon who tells you about how she came to be raped and murdered. Her bones (the lovely bones in this story) are hidden and her family has to deal with the fallout from her disappearance. When a part of Susie is eventually found, her family then has to deal with knowing she is murdered and nver coming home. Sebold provides updates on via Susie about her family, the man who raped and murdered her, as well as a boy she had a crush on before her death.

 

Susie's character was heartbreaking. Reading about her rape and murder was awful. You want to reach into the pages and keep her safe. I kept wishing for a different ending while reading this book. When Susie is gone, her soul races off to her own personal heaven and from there she keeps an eye on things. Parts of the book made me cry a lot. Reading about Susie meeting and hanging out with her grandfather and the other friends she makes in heaven are wonderful. 

 

Susie's sister Lindsey is dealing with having suspicions on the man she believes killed her sister and trying to hold on to her family as they slowly disintegrate. The younger brother Buckley is having to adjust to having a family that he remembers before Susie disappeared to after where everything seems to be focused on her. 


I didn't really like Susie's mother. I get people act to grief in different ways, but how she chose to deal with things made me feel sad. I do applaud Sebold though for not trying to sugarcoat things and also for the family to not rush to bring her back into the family fold.

 

The writing was poetic at times. Sebold has a very strong grasp of words. I could picture everything that was happening perfectly (sometimes too perfectly). 

 

“My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered.” 

 

“Murderers are not monsters, they're men. And that's the most frightening thing about them.” 

 

The flow for the most part was really good. Things just got slow towards the end in my opinion. You are just wanting to get to the end.

 

The setting of the book takes place in Pennsylvania in the 1970s and then through the next few decades. 

 

The ending comes for a whisper almost with Susie starting to move on, but still watching her family. She wishes the reader a long and happy life. 

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review 2018-07-12 19:32
Living and Dying
The Bright Hour - Nina Riggs
When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi,Abraham Verghese
The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion
Blue Nights by Didion, Joan 1st (first) Edition [Hardcover(2011)] - Joan Didion
A Widow's Story - Joyce Carol Oates
Missing Mom - Joyce Carol Oates
About Alice - Calvin Trillin
How We Die: Reflections of Life's Final Chapter - Sherwin B. Nuland

So, I've been off BL for a long, long time. A lot has happened, I got pregnant and had a daughter. My mom got sick and passed away. I had to clear out and sell my childhood home and all the contents while trying to balance all of that and my full time job. It's been...something.

 

For a while, not long after my mom died (3 days before Christmas 2016 when my daughter was only 5 months old) I started searching out and reading books that dealt with death and grief. I read a lot of Joan Didion The Year of Magical ThinkingBlue Nights. I read When Breath Becomes Air and About Alice and A Widow's Story. I started Missing Mom and couldn't go any further because it was too hard and How We Die.

 

The Bright Hour is one of the most beautiful books I've read, ever. I can't possibly describe it except to use it's full title--The Bright Hour: a memoir of living and dying. It is so full of life, all the messiness and happiness and tragedy and humor and it faces death and mortality head on, unflinching. 

 

I recently reread it, now a year and a half since my mother passed, it still has such power and peace. I can't recommend it enough.

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text 2018-07-12 11:55
Alice in Wonderland meme

Alice: A book you’ve lost.

 
My French dictionary from high school has gone missing but I’m still hoping to find it.
 
The White Rabbit: a book you haven’t had time to read.
 
See above. Two French historic mysteries that I would prefer to read with the help of a dictionary. I could read them anyway and it would be a quicker read but not as much fun.
 
Mad Hatter: a book that made you crazy in a good way.
 
It’s hard to say actually because I often become obsessed with books and their respective universes. I don’t think I can pick just one.
 
Dormouse: a book you’ve fallen asleep over
 
Too many to count. Let me explain. Since I suffer from insomnia and pretty much always have, I try to use books to help me fall asleep. Although now that my little rascals have hit the terrible twos (running) they are now helping me fall asleep as soon as they do.
 
Queen of Hearts: a book that broke your heart
 
Any book where an animal or child or character I like dies or ends up in some terrible circumstances.
 
Knave of Hearts: a book that gave you a hangover
 
I think most really thick books since it takes quite a long time to finish them and consequently you spend a long time in the book’s universe.
 
Mock turtle: a book that made you cry
 
Same answer as for The Queen of Hearts above.
 

 

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review 2018-07-05 07:05
Everyday History - Alice Archer

I’ve been chewing on this for 3 days not really knowing how to describe this book. The writing style was so different from what I am used to. There was a very strong sense of being on the outside looking in on the characters. This was further enhanced by chapter headings referring to the MCs as The Historian and The Explorer.

 

Ruben falls in lust with his teacher and does his very best to try and seduce him. But Henry, aware of their positions as student/teacher and Henry’s young age, resistst. Until the point when Ruben is no longer his student.

Ruben, however, is still very young and new to the idea of being with a man. He is not ready to settle down, so they go their separate ways despite the strong connection they share.

 

And this is the part of the book I had some problems with; I can absolutely understand that a man Ruben’s age is not sure that the first man he falls for really is the one he wants to be with in the long run. He simply has no frame of reference. But it was still painful to have the MCs apart – and both rather miserable, I might add – for a very large part of the book.

Henry processes his pain by writing articles about the history of everyday objects. These articles are another aspect that make the writing style of this book so unique. And eventually, they are what makes Ruben start waking up and pursuing his happiness.

 

The ending was perfect and made up for what I as a reader had to endure during the separation.

 

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text 2018-07-01 16:46
June Re-Cap
Gunslinger Girl - Lyndsay Ely,James Patterson
The Opposite of You - Rachel Higginson
Every Single Secret - Clara Emily Carpenter
Lying in Wait - Liz Nugent
Shine Not Burn - Elle Casey
X: A Novel - Kekla Magoon,Ilyasah Shabazz
The Surviving Trace - Calia Read
Wake of Vultures - Lila Bowen
Sometimes I Lie - Alice Feeney
Disturbed - Jennifer Minar-Jaynes

 

 

 

 

So many books this month, probably won't have as many next month, though. Unfortunately, I have to go back to work sometime this coming month.  June has been a fairly mediocre reading month for me.  I'm pretty sure my average is around 3 stars...maybe I'm just getting more discerning.  I did end the month with a couple 5 Star reads and added two books to my favorites.

 

 

 

 (Audiobook) Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely

Finish Date:  06/05

 ☆3.5☆STARS - GRADE=B-

 

(Kindle eBook) The Opposite Of You by Rachel Higginson

Finish Date:  06/06

☆4.3☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) Every Single Secret by Emily Carpenter

Finish Date:  06/08

☆4.3☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Netgalley eArc) Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent

Finish Date:  06/10

☆4☆STARS - GRADE=B+

 

(Audiobook) Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey

Finish Date:  06/11

☆1.5☆STARS - GRADE=D

 

(Audiobook) X by Ilyasah Shabazz & Kekla Magoon

Finish Date:  06/14

☆4.5☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Kindle eBook) The Surviving Trace by Calia Read

Finish Date:  06/17

☆3☆STARS - GRADE=C

 

(Audiobook) Wake Of Vultures by Lila Bowen

Finish Date:  06/19

☆2.7☆STARS - GRADE=C-

 

(Audiobook) Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Finish Date:  06/20

3STARS - GRADE=C

 

(Novellas KU) by Laura Lam

Finish Date:  06/21

3STARS - GRADE=C

 

(Audiobook) Disturbed by Jennifer Jaynes

Finish Date:  06/21

☆2☆STARS - GRADE=D

 

(Netgalley eARC) The Mermaid by Christina Henry (a new fav)

Finish Date:  06/24

☆5☆STARS - GRADE=A+

 

(Audiobook) Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Finish Date:  06/25

4.2STARS - GRADE=B+

 

(Audiobook) In Her Skin by Kim Savage

Finish Date:  06/26

☆2.5☆STARS - GRADE=D+

 

(Audiobook) Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Finish Date:  06/28

☆4.3☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Netgalley eARC) The Simple Wild by KA Tucker (a new fav)

Finish Date:  06/29

☆5☆STARS - GRADE=A+

 

10 Audiobooks, 2 Novellas, 2 Kindle eBooks, and 3 Netgalley eARC's, 17 books total.

4,910 pages (including Audio) 

 

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