It’s the time again to do a roundup of some of the books I’m reading this month! Here are a few on the top of my list:
1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Admittedly, this is not the first time I’ve read this book. I read it as part of the required summer reading before my freshman year of high school and immediately fell in love with it. The story of Francie Nolan and her family in the early 1900s really strikes a chord with me even though I was (obviously) born far later. The technology and circumstances might be different now than they were then, but there’s a beauty in the authenticity of the characters because Betty Smith doesn’t shy away from the uglier side of human nature. I suppose I appreciate that because reading about flawed characters, on some level, helps me to accept my own flaws (or, at least, I would if I had any).
From the publisher: “From the moment she entered the world, Francie Nolan needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior—such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce—no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children of Francie’s neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences—a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.”
2. Shrill by Lindy West
Confession: at first, I didn’t know this was a book. I saw an ad for the upcoming Hulu series starring Aidy Bryant, and I posted about the series on Facebook. A friend of mine commented that she was excited to see the TV show because she’d loved the book so, of course, I immediately bought the book. I’m only a few essays in, but I’m already in loved. Lindy West’s writing style is so fun and honest and relatable and I haven’t enjoyed writing like this since I read Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy.
From the publisher: “Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible–like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you–writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.
From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.
With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.”
3. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
I haven’t started this one yet, but I’m very much looking forward to it. I loved Lauren Oliver’s first novel, Before I Fall, and I’m anxious to jump back into her writing. Based on the description, this book sounds dark and creepy and akin to Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects (check back here on Friday for my review of Sharp Objects).
From the publisher: “Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged.
When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked.
Now, Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.
In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.”
What are you reading this month? Have you read anything on my list? Do you have a suggestion for next month’s reading selections? Let me know in the comments!
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