Usually I start these monthly reading round-ups off with a literary quote by one of the authors I read in that month. This month, however, I'm feeling particularly cracked out on holiday festiveness (more to come) and have been quoting this little cutie on repeat, in the most appropriate and inappropriate situations...so enjoy!
If ANYONE wants to give me books for Christmas, I'll love you forever and ever (and also be very excited about them, I promise!).
Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward: Being totally honest, it took me a bit to get into the rhythm of this novel, set in rural Mississippi in the run-up to Hurricane Katrina. The writing, though, has a very visual quality I tend to value in books - evocative imagery always sucks me in when all is said and done. The description of the hurricane and its immediate aftermath alone makes this a book worthy of recommending highly.
Girl Logic, Iliza Shlesinger: Dave, Laura and I are obsessed with Iliza Shlesinger - her acerbic, take-no-prisoners humor is so fantastically fun. In novel form, her intelligence and thoughtful consideration of what it means to be a woman in this day and age come through even more clearly than in a standup set, sprinkled liberally, of course, with laugh-out-loud moments.
Everything was pretty polarizing this month, honestly. And that's almost more fun than being lukewarm on something, isn't it?!
The People We Hate at the Wedding, Grant Ginder: I have a really hard time with books where I can't get invested in the characters, regardless of the reason. I found Ginder's cast of misanthropes particularly two-dimensional and unappealing - all of them so mired in resent and their respective pasts that I couldn't get any sense of development in them, or root for them in any way. I'm disappointed - I've read great reviews of this book, and it was a total let-down.
What Happened, Hillary Clinton: I listened to this in audiobook form - all 18 hours of it - and I have such mixed feelings about the book as a whole. At the end of the day, I think I finished the recording with a lot more respect for her, although at times I think her desire to justify actions led to a palpable bias in the narrative that I struggled (and still struggle) with across the board. Worth it, solely for the insight into some of the "why" behind the "what," but I didn't love any of it.
Henry V, William Shakespeare: A classic. One of my favorite memories is reciting passages of this out loud with Michael years ago at the Chateau de Liz, and revisiting it was like catching up with an old friend. A pro move: reading the soliloquys out loud - in perfect iambic pentameter, of course.
White Oleander, Janet Fitch: This was an over-break read for me - I'm slowly bringing books from MN to CA in my suitcase every time I travel, and started this one while home. It's dark - incredibly dark - but the writing is equal parts harsh and beautiful, which I am drawn to even on a second read.