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Search tags: netgalley-books
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review 2018-08-21 03:38
New Boy
New Boy (Hogarth Shakespeare) - Tracy Chevalier

I've read several of Chevalier's books, so when I saw this one offered on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to get a copy. After reading two other books in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, Vinegar Girl and Hag-Seed, I was curious to read Chevalier's take on Othello. I think this is a departure for Chevalier, whose historical fiction I love, but I am not sure what she intended here. Her protagonists are reimagined as 11-year-olds, and the drama occurs over the course of one school day, with most of the action taking place on the playground. For me, this format diminished the impact of the story. I am not sure why Chevalier set this in the '70s, especially when the words and actions of her characters seemed more in line with today's kids, as opposed to the much less eloquent and exceedingly more immature kids I remember, having been an 11-year-old in the '70s.  

 

To be fair, Chevalier on her worst day is significantly better than so many other published writers, that of course I finished reading it, and I have no regrets. Now, on to her other books on my TBR pile...

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review 2018-08-14 04:48
Tell Me More
Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say - Kelly Corrigan

It's almost embarrassing how much I love Kelly Corrigan's books; but I am comforted in my fandom by the fact that my best friend feels the same way. We are both convinced that if we all lived closer, we would definitely be friends. Corrigan's writing confirms this for me — her stories of life with two teenage daughters make me feel like she has been a fly on my walls, especially given that mine are pretty much the same age and with similar tastes. Her husband, like mine, is calm in the face of daily dramas; and their research on parenting equips them with tools only a Dad can wield — Corrigan confirms that we mothers are just in too deep. I bookmarked pages for my husband that I found hilarious, but it was lost in my translation; he begged me to let him read it on his own, without my highlighting the good parts for him. He feels a certain kinship with her too, since they are both University of Richmond grads, but he tired quickly of my yelling out names of college friends she mentions, asking, "Hey, did you know...?" There is some territory here that Corrigan has explored before, but I appreciated the way she organized the essays, with 12 things that seem so simple and yet so significant. As always, Corrigan delivers a thoughtful, moving, and often hilarious account of life in the trenches.

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review 2018-08-13 05:07
we are never meeting in real life
We are Never Meeting in Real Life. - Samantha Irby

Samantha Irby has a lot to say about so many things. She writes, and sometimes rants, about a wide range of subjects in this collection — race, sexuality, poverty and cats — with an overwhelming sense of calm and rationality. With her razor-sharp wit, the moving, rip-your-heart out moments comfortably balanced the laugh-out-loud ones (I don't watch the Bachelorette, but I would if she sent her application in). Having no previous knowledge of Irby, I found myself checking out her blog and you tube videos for more. Despite being named Chicago's funniest writer when her first book, Meaty, came out, Irby continued to working as a receptionist at the local animal hospital; though to be fair, this experience provides perfect fodder for her writing. I admit, there were some extremely graphic scenes I could have done without, but the excessive swearing was expected (her blog, after all, is "bitches gotta eat"). If any of that offends you, consider yourself warned. In the meantime, I'll be checking out her other books.

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review 2018-08-09 05:29
Theft by Finding
Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) - David Sedaris

I am pretty sure I've read all or most of Sedaris' books, and I can't say he has ever left me disappointed. His stories are hilarious and heartbreaking, sometimes at the same time, and tend to linger in my memory. After reading this book and noting his fondness for IHOP, I couldn't help but wonder what he would have had to say about their name change controversy. Still not sure if that was a joke or not, but either way, not a good marketing strategy. But I digress, as Sedaris often does, but much more deftly than me. Of course, this book felt more personal than the others, since it was Sedaris' diary, but it is a diary unlike any I've read, full of bits of conversation and observations that are similar in tone to his essays. Sedaris is an original, his biting humor and keen scrutiny bring life into perfect focus.

 

My husband gets Money magazine, which I rarely touch, but the other day I noticed the page was turned, and there was Sedaris, talking about his new book, Calypso, and how he manages his wealth. And all I have to say about that is, go on and buy culottes and overpriced shirts for everyone, David, as long as you keep on writing. Trust me, we are grateful. 

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review 2018-08-09 04:56
House of Names
House of Names: A Novel - Colm Tóibín

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I chose it because I read Brooklyn and Nora Webster; but this book was something else entirely. A retelling of the story of Clytemnestra, this isn't something I would normally go for, but I live in a house with Greek mythology fans, and they are obviously starting to affect my choices. Not really what I would expect from Toibin either, by the way, but I am convinced now that he can write anything he wants; this story is compelling, and, in some ways, prescient. If it weren't for Toibin's name attached to this story, I probably wouldn't have picked it up at all, though it does have a beautiful cover. (I prefer the red one on Goodreads - BookLikes has its usual limited number of editions - 1 for this one, unfortunately...) I admit, absent of any other information, I do still sometimes judge a book by its cover. In any case, if you feel the way I do, stretch a bit and try this one — there are some graphic moments, but it is a powerful story, and Toibin does not disappoint.

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