More Books of 2014

You can read what else I’ve read here and here.

The Interestings- Meg Wolitzer

Megs and I? We jive. I really like her books, even though they are slow-paced (for me). I like that she takes time to really develop her characters. This book follows a group of close, artsy friends from when they meet as teens through middle age. Most of them do not make art for a living, one is wildly successful in the industry and lives way beyond the means of the others. It also involves a summer camp, and summer camp is definitely my jam. I still think about these characters often. Recommend.

The Secret History- Donna Tartt

I have been meaning to read this book for YEARS AND YEARS and when Tartt finally released another novel, I knew it was time I finally bumped this to the top of my list. I reallllllly liked it. This is not news to most of you, probably, as it’s a well-known and well-loved book that’s been out for like 15 years, but there you go. It was a bit of a slow start (lots of jibberish about stuff I wasn’t interested in), but it quickly becomes gripping. These characters feel like people I knew once, in a past life or something. Definitely read this.

Goldfinch- Donna Tartt

First of all, this book is like 18 million pages long, so it should definitely count as like 4 books. Also, much like Wolitzer’s books, it’s DENSE. No quick read here. And I felt like the last 200 pages or so were… extraneous? They could easily have been condensed down to about 50 pages. BUT! All of that said, I am so glad I read this book. So many people have said so many things much more eloquently about it than I can, but I will say this: you won’t regret carrying around a 16 lb novel around for two weeks once, not for one minute. Ok, maybe for one minute in those last couple hundred pages. But it was just such a well-done book. It took me so deep into these characters lives that I really do feel like I knew them once. She’s an astounding writer.

Dry- Augusten Burroughs

I got interested in understand alcoholism a few years ago when we had someone very close to us struggling with it. I purchased this book back then, but never got around to reading it until this year. I really liked it. I can’t pin point why or how, but it sort of reminded me of A Million Little Pieces. Worth the read.

Art of Fielding- Chad Harbach

Ok. Ok ok ok. If you read the synopsis of this book, you might be like me thinking a book about teenaged boys and baseball? NOPE NOPE NOPE. And you would be very wrong. This is a really, really good book with memorable characters, a sweet love story, and so many emotions that I related to. I was completely swept away. The end was a little too perfect for me, but then again, I love a perfect ending. I think most people will love this book, no matter their interests, and that’s not an easy task for any author.

Abundance of Katherines- John Green

We all love John Green, as we should. This was entertaining but definitely not my favorite of his. It was a perfect quick read after reading so many long, slow books in a row. Overall, sweet if also a little MEH.

Crazy Rich Asians- Kevin Kwan

Quick read, funny, a fascinating look into the lives of people with a lot (A LOT) more money than I have… I feel like it would have been even more enjoyable if I was Asian or married to an Asian?

Help Thanks Wow- Anne Lamott

I am a life-long Lamott lover and so of course I loved this book. It was quick and wise and funny. It’s definitely not Traveling Mercies, but it’s still worth the read.

This Is Where I Leave You- Jonathon Trooper

Oh my, how I loved this book. It’s not often that a book can actually make me ACTUALLY laugh out loud, but this did, and several times. I thought it was such a funny, honest, dark, touching story of family dysfunction and also function. Families are weird and layered and nothing is black and white, and this book captured this really well. (I saw and loved the movie too, but the book was better.)

Unbroken- Laura Hildebrant

I have been avoiding this book for years, mainly because I really, really, really dislike anything with any kind of torture. But our book club decided to read this, so I finally buckled down and read it too. And HOLY SHIT is it an amazing survival story. It’s a true story, something I had to keep reminding myself as I read; I cannot believe that one person could survive all that Louie Zamperini did. The abuse and torture scenes were awful, but not so graphic that I could not read them, and in the end I am so glad I read it. It blew my mind. (I probably won’t ever see the movie due to abuse/torture avoidance.) This is a book that everyone should read. The resilience of the human spirit, or at least the resilience of Louie’s spirit, is something everyone should witness.