Books I Read This Week 2019 – 20

Another mixed week this week. A handful of reads I loved and the rest were so so. Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

There’s a Word for That (3.5 stars): There’s always the opportunity to make dysfunctional families look too over the top and just ridiculous when you write a book like this. And the beginning started off a little like that for me but then the story unfolded and I got attached to each character a little bit in different ways and they each were so endearingly human that by the end of the book I was rooting for most of them. Lovely, sweet story. I really enjoyed this one.

Feast Your Eyes (4 stars):  Myla Goldberg is such a good writer. I loved Bee Season and was anxiously awaiting this book. It did not disappoint. Feast Your Eyes is about Lilian who is a photographer and a single-mother. It’s a story about being a woman in the 50s, being willing to pursue your dreams, take chances, make a statement. 

The book is told from the perspective of Samantha, her daughter, who interviews Lilian’s friends and colleagues. She also includes journal entries and letters. When you listen to this book on audio is actually has a bit of a similar structure to Daisy Jones but it’s a completely different topic.

This is a beautiful story about the unintended consequences of a moment in public, the multi-layered texture of loving both your job and your kids, the journey of finding yourself and trying to find freedom in the 50s as a woman. It’s a beautiful story and it’s beautifully told.

Weight of a Piano (4 stars): I absolutely loved every moment of this book. I am always weary when books claim to be like other books I’ve loved and this one had some hefty comparisons to live up to but within moments of starting to listen to it, I was lost in its world, vested in its characters and did not want to put it down. I loved the characters, the writing, the intertwining, all of it. This book is about family, immigration, love, loss, identity, belonging, the power of music and so much more. The pacing of the story was just right for me and at different times I was more invested in one character than the other but overall I found myself just wanting to be in this story for as long as possible. It even managed to end in way that felt just right. I’ve never read this author before so I don’t know if all her novels are just the perfect ones for me but I can’t wait to explore them if they are anything like this quiet, lyrical, beautiful and profound story.

Maybe Someday (2.5 stars): I read this whole novel in one sitting. Well, I listened to it. That’s 5+ hours on a week day. I just could not stop once I had started and that alone makes this novel a 2.5 star rating for me. I liked the story and I liked the two main characters, even a few of the side characters. But here’s where things come to a halt for me, this story felt empty in the end for me. It felt like an appetizer or a dish with empty calories. It didn’t satisfy me deeply. Maybe because it felt like it stayed too on the surface for the kind of stories I like to read. Sometimes I am in the mood for this type of meal/book but maybe this time I wasn’t. It felt like I was since I pretty much inhaled the novel but alas afterwards I was left with an empty feeling. Much of the character development/depth was either offscreen or through telling and not showing and maybe that’s why I felt like I wasn’t really experiencing the novel. Having said all that, dialogue was great, and the pacing is just so unputdownable. Sometimes empty calories are just fine.

Reasons to Stay Alive (3.5 stars): This is a short but not light book. I imagine that’s obvious from the title but I felt the need to mention it just in case. While, for me, this book was a bit too short and I found myself craving more. More on how to help get better. More on things to try. More on figuring my way out of the dark. I know that’s not the point of it so I don’t want to duck the author for that. This is a profound and honest story and we need so many more of these. I deeply appreciated the candor, the vulnerability, the openness. I am deeply grateful for the courage it took to write this. I just wish it were a bit more tangibly helpful for me (and I know that’s a lot to expect from a book with where I am at this moment.)

Have More Fun (3.5 stars): Super quick read. I didn’t know anything about Mandy Arioto and there are bits of this that don’t resonate with me but the overall sentiment is so near and dear to my heart and something I really want to do. There are so many little pieces of gems here but the part I loved the most is how she talks about putting having fun with your kids and liking your kids above trying to fix all the things they do wrong. I can’t remember her exact wording but the idea of liking them as people and having fun with them is exactly what I want to put as #1 in our lives. I want them to look back on these years and smile with all the fun we had.

The Girl He Used to Know (3.5 stars): I read this whole story in one shot. I loved the characters. My biggest complaint is that I wanted to know them more, I loved the scene with Annika’s mom because it was such a resonant scene as a mom and it showed so much of who she was. There weren’t a huge number of cases where there was that type of depth of showing. Glimmers here and there but I yearned for more. Especially with Annika’s roommate whom I adored. I know she is not a main character but she added so much depth to the story. Overall though, this was a quick and loving story for me.

Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault (3 stars): This book is written by the creator of the Cathy comic strip. I didn’t grow up in America so I read only a few of these comics but I’ve enjoyed them and this book got really high ratings so I thought I would give it a try. It’s an honest, sweet book at times but it also has a some dark undertones and parts where it feels like she’s highlighting all the millions of things we women grapple with. It’s resonant and sad and serious and also funny and sweet and tender.

And there we go, an ok week of reading. I am on book 166 for 2019, so much for reading less this year. Here’s to a great week next week.

Books I Read this Week 2019 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

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