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A Book a Week – The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards was a recommendation from a friend in book club. It’s a short story collection from a first-time author. I don’t usually read short stories, so I wasn’t sure about this one.

But I am so so so glad I read it.

It was absolutely awesome. I can’t even explain the weird, unusual, awesomeness of this book. You have to read it to see the creative way it’s written. For some people it might have been too cute for its own good. But not for me.

I loved it.

A Book a Week – The Burgess Boys

I loved several of Elizabeth Strout’s books so when The Burgess Boys came out, I knew I wanted to read it. She has a magical way with words.

I will admit it’s been a while since I read this book and I don’t remember it as well as I remember some of her other ones like Olive Kitteridge. But I still remember liking it. Elizabeth has a gift for creating characters and even if this wasn’t my favorite of hers, all of her books are wonderful and completely worthy of your time.

Though if you’ve not read her before, start with Olive Kitteridge.

A Book a Week – The Interestings

The Interestings was another Amazon recommendation. This particular book was long and involved. It follows friends who are close at a summer camp and lasts through their lives. I had a hard time getting through it but when I was done, the characters stayed with me for many, many days.

This is my definition of a good book.

So this one is mixed feelings. Reading it was relatively slow but I am glad I did.

A Book a Week – Parallel

Parallel was an impulse read. I saw it and decided I had to read it. So I started and finished in one swoop. I don’t care if it wasn’t high literature.

I loved it.

It was a fun, fast read and if the genre is your style, I highly recommend it.

I find that it’s always good to shake up the reading every now and then so I don’t ever get in any kind of rut. Given the choice, I’d always read amazing books but those are hard to find. So having some fun ones like this in between okay books is always good to have.

A Book a Week – The Woman Upstairs

The Woman Upstairs was another one of the Book of the Month recommendations from Amazon.

It was another interesting read. I am not sure I liked it. I didn’t dislike it. The main character was interesting and grumpy and even downright angry at times but she was three-dimensional. Interesting. Even if not likable. This novel got a bunch of press over the fact that the author created this “angry” woman.

In the end, I think I’d recommend it.

A Book a Week – The End of Your Life Bookclub

I read about The End of Your Life Bookclub a long time ago, I am not even sure what made me start reading it. But I am so glad I did. It was probably the best non-fiction book I read all year.

I loved the mother-son connection of the book. I loved the way he wrote about his mom. I loved the connecting through books. I loved the gentleness of the book. I can’t remember the last time I slowly savored a book as much as I did this one. If you’re into books like this, I recommend this one.

I loved the whole thing.

A Book a Week – Before I Go to Sleep

Before I go to Sleep is another one from the Amazon Book of the Month list. I read this whole book in one sitting. It was weird, interesting, obvious, captivating all at once.

The premise was very interesting and I was confident the author could have done so much more with the plot. And yet, I felt like it was relatively melodramatic and predictable towards the end. But, if you’re into mysteries and psychological ones at that, you will possibly like this one.

A Book a Week – The Dinner

I decided to take a bunch of books recommended by Amazon and read them. They have a Book of the Month list each month, and I just picked a bunch. The Dinner was one of those.

The Dinner was quite an interesting read. I can’t say it was fun or uplifting. But it was interesting. The plot twisted and turned a bunch and the narrators were unreliable at best, unlikeable to boot.

But I still thought it was a worthwhile read. Not sure why. Especially since I don’t think I liked it. But there we are.

Sometimes it’s like that.

A Book a Week – Lean In

I will admit that I resisted reading Lean In for a long time.

I had a lot of my own ideas about the topic. I’d read a lot of articles about Sheryl and I wasn’t sure how much the book could add to what I had already listened to in her TED talk.

But I finally did read it and I am so glad I did.

I really really liked this book. I have no inspiration to be a CEO, CFO, CTO or C-anything. I really like working but I am not sure how much I like the corporate world and a lot of the politics that is invariably a part of that world. While it’s still a struggle, my current balance seems the closest thing to ideal I have at this moment. And I’ve never really thought of myself as a feminist in any way.

I’ve been good at “male-dominated” subjects my whole life. As early as third grade, I went head to head with a boy in my class for which one of us could do math faster. (I won by the way.) I was never told that, as a woman, I wasn’t supposed to be good at math. It truly never occurred to me to question my love of math, computers or anything else. Even though my mom didn’t encourage me to go to college specifically, she and my dad supported me a 1000% and helped me make all my dreams true. Not once along the way did I hear that I was a girl and that I shouldn’t aim to go to the US or study computers or anything along those lines. I personally never felt like being a woman stood in the way of my choices, career and life.

And yet.

Reading this book, I could easily see that I stood in my own way many, many times.

This is not to say that I would have done much differently but I definitely agree with a lot of what’s outlined in this book and it gave me a lot of food for thought. I am still processing much of it.

It is also well-written and easy to read. I recommend it.

A Book a Week – The Great Gatsby

I read The Great Gatsby before the movie came out. (Yes, this review is a bit late.) I hadn’t read it since high school and didn’t remember any of the story at all. I knew I wanted to watch the movie and I wanted to make sure I reread it before I saw the movie.

I actually listened to it on audio which allowed me to “read” it while I was driving around. And while I liked the storytelling and the visuals and even the interesting characterization, I didn’t actually like any of the characters (maybe except the narrator) and I really didn’t care much for the story and how it ended.

It didn’t make me feel so great about the people in the story. And even about justice.

Alas, a lot of the classics aren’t really “happy” stories, are they?

A Book a Week – Pandemonium and Requiem

I read Delirium a long time ago and have been a big fan of Lauren Oliver since her first book. Delirium wasn’t my favorite compared to her first book so I decided I’d wait until the full series was out before I read the next book. So I finally read Pandemonium and Requiem and the Delirium Stories. It was quite fun reading them all together.

While I liked the series, I still don’t like it nearly as much as I’ve loved Before I Fall. To me, that book was magical, profound and thought-provoking. This one was okay. Especially since the ending wasn’t all that amazing, unpredictable or even profound for me.

If you’re into dystopian stories, you will likely enjoy this. I think Lauren Oliver is a good writer and develops her characters well so they are not 2-dimensional. I know I will always enjoy her writing.

A Book a Week – Life After Life

I picked Life After Life on a total impulse. It was an Amazon Book of the Month book and there was something about it that drew my attention so I dove in.

I kept wanting to put it down but I couldn’t get myself to do it. I don’t even think I liked any of the characters. (Maybe the brother and the mom a bit.) and the book was quite depressing in many of the sections, much more depressing than I like to read.

I still couldn’t put it down.

The style was interesting of course. And there were a few fascinating turns but overall I still am not sure what kept me wanting to read the book.

I can’t decide if this is recommended or not. You’ll have to pick it up and decide on your own.