Category Archives: Reason: Book Club

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

I’m not a huge fan of the writing style of Anxious People. I usually enjoy books that jump around the timeline going into the past and back to the present multiple times, but this one does it without always making sense. It is often very ambiguous which actually is the most amazing thing about the book, but every so often it’s too ambiguous and seems like it is saying something it’s not. I really don’t care for books that go “There are two policemen. One is young and one is old. The old policeman did not want his son to become a policeman. The young policeman is the old policeman’s son.” like this one does. I just don’t like the sentence construction or that method of storytelling. The moral and ending were great. It really makes you think about the ripples we cause by every little action and how we affect others, for good or bad. Above all, this book reminds us that we are all connected and does it very creatively. I’ve concluded, though, that I’m just not a Fredrik Backman fan (this is the second book of his I’ve read and rated three stars). His books are just so-so to me. For people who like his books and writing style, Anxious People is a great choice.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 51
Pages Read in 2022: 18,501
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Book Club

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novak

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver was my book club’s choice for March. I finally finished it the day of my April book group get together. Sometimes I wish I had the ability to abandon books but I just can’t do it. Plus my friends said the last half was better than the first half, and the last chapter was incredible. They were wrong, and it wasn’t. I didn’t hate it on a Red Badge of Courage level, but I definitely didn’t like or enjoy it much. I absolutely judge books by their cover and Spinning Silver has one of the ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. It’s very long, over 450 pages. Now, a long, good book can be extremely enjoyable. This was just a slog to get through. The book is written in first person, but the narrator changes regularly right in the middle of chapters. There is no indication this is happening other than a little scene change sort of symbol. It does not indicate who the new narrator is. You just have to keep reading, confused for the first several sentences, until you figure it out. Some narrators appear quite often, some very rarely, and there is no pattern to when they appear. When I started reading it a couple weeks before our March book group gathering, I found myself finding every excuse not to read it. For like a week I barely read anything. On the plus side, my house was exceptionally clean even with twin toddlers and a preschooler constantly wreaking havoc. I just didn’t care about most of the characters. I found the majority to be annoying. I really didn’t care if they stopped the Staryk creating eternal winter or not. It moves so incredibly slowly. Maybe if it was half as long and things actually happened at a reasonable pace it wouldn’t have been so bad. I did like how all the many storylines converged and the house that was in both the real world and the Staryk world at the same time was very creative. Thank goodness for small things that made it slightly less dreadful. I do not recommend anyone read Spinning Silver.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 39
Pages Read in 2022: 14,106
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Book Club

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Donald Miller learned a lot about making your story the story you want it to be while working on adapting his memoir into a movie and decided to share those lessons in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In the process of intentionally choosing his own story, he lived a full life. In addition to his own experiences, there are lots of anecdotes from others who intentionally created their own story with their lives. It’s a quick read and a good reminder to really live your life rather than letting life pass you by. I recommend it to all adults.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 37
Pages Read in 2022: 13,181
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Book Club, Self-Help/Motivation

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War by Julie Berry

I love how these two love stories were told in turns by various Greek gods. They each had their own distinct voice and contributed very different parts to the stories. The book reads very fast. I was surprised to see how long it is after I read it. The love stories are sweet and sometimes heartbreaking. I found myself caring very deeply about the characters. It’s just an all around excellent book. I highly recommend Lovely War to anyone who enjoys historical fiction/clean romance with a bonus if they also like Greek mythology.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 15
Pages Read in 2022: 5751

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Book Club, Reason: We Be Book'N, Romance

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

I very much enjoyed What Alice Forgot. As I read it, I found myself imagining what it would be like to lose ten years of memories and wondering how I have changed in that amount of time and whether I’d recognize my life as my own (answers: absolutely insane, probably a lot, probably not even sorta). I thought how she got her memories back a little bit at a time in snippets and later in a rush and mostly related to sounds and smells felt very realistic. I didn’t love some of how it was wrapping up, but it was acceptable, just not what I had been rooting for, and I still would’ve rated the book the same, but the epilogue made it all perfect for me. I especially liked how when things needed to be explained that didn’t involve Alice or involved things she had no memory of, it switched to Elisabeth journaling as homework for her therapist or Frannie writing to her friend. That allowed me to get to know those characters better and to understand what people meant when talking to Alice about things that had happened in the last ten years. I highly recommend this book to adults who enjoy contemporary fiction.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 4
Pages Read in 2022: 1232

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Book Club, Reason: We Be Book'N

Frederica by Georgette Heyer

Frederica by Georgette Heyer

Regency romance is not a genre I typically read or enjoy. I read Frederica for my book club. I definitely would not have read it otherwise. It is very long and drags on, though the phrasing of things is often very cute. I knew for the most part how it would end before I had finished a quarter of it. If I enjoyed this genre, I likely would have given it five stars, but because I really don’t, and often found reasons NOT to read it (and barely finished it in time for my book club meeting), I gave it three because I didn’t hate it and found it enjoyable enough. I recommend it to people who enjoy regency romances.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 84
Pages Read in 2021: 27,137

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Filed under Reason: Book Club, Romance

A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson

A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson

A high school I went to had wolverines for their mascot. We used to make fun of that. Wolverines were little and pretty cute. That didn’t sound like the fighters the other high school had. Boy were we wrong! Now, thanks to this book, I know wolverines are vicious little critters and probably the fightingest fighters of all mascots in existence. And it’s barely about wolverines. Sometimes I found it hard to keep reading because of the suspense. I was downright scared on occasion (granted I don’t do scary things and situations well, but this was so well written I felt like I was in the scenes with Alex and I was so worried for her). I actually gasped aloud at a couple points because I seriously didn’t see some things coming. As soon as I finished I looked to see if the second book is out yet (it is) because I will definitely be reading it. I very highly recommend reading A Solitude of Wolverines to adults who enjoy thrillers heavy on suspense.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 72
Pages Read in 2021: 23,261

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Filed under Reason: Book Club, Thriller

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

I did not enjoy this book for several reasons.

  1. It’s boring. So incredibly boring.
  2. It’s written in dialect… sometimes. It’s really inconsistent. I do not like middle grade books that are written in dialect because that’s the age we’re teaching grammar to kids and then we give them a book that (sometimes) uses improper grammar. It’s one thing if it’s just the dialog, but this was the whole book (but only sometimes).
  3. The plot is dumb. It just is.
  4. Most of the action is incredibly boring. Even when it was supposed to be exciting, it wasn’t. It had a few moments that were at least a little interesting, which is the only reason I didn’t give it one star.
  5. It’s supposed to be historical fiction, but the whole thing is really unbelievable.
  6. I could not work up the least bit of sympathy for any of the characters. I really did not like the main character. He was super annoying. I was mildly curious about the Chinese boy’s bird figure, but that turned out to be quite anti-climactic.

This is definitely a book I recommend skipping.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 61
Pages Read in 2021: 18,869

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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Book Club, Reason: We Be Book'N

Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover’s story is a bit crazy and a little unbelievable. But then I remember that I’ve known people who “homeschool” the way her parents did, who rely on herbs, oils, and the Lord only for healing, who are intense preppers, who abuse and gaslight their kids. I’ve never known one family who does all of that, but I’ve known enough who do one or more to believe that, in Educated, she presents her history as she recalls living it. Saying the book is good isn’t quite right because what she dealt with is horrifying, but her writing is completely absorbing. I didn’t want to put the book down. I found myself in shock by what she experienced, while at the same time rooting her on as she dealt with her past and managed to become a successful human being. I highly recommend this book.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 11
Pages Read in 2019: 2703
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Book Club, Reason: LitHub Bingo

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

In Reconstruction Era Texas, Captain Kidd is a news reader. He goes from town to town reading articles from newspapers from around the world to audiences for 10 cents a person. He’s asked to take a ten-year-old girl along with him and deliver her to her aunt and uncle in Castroville, near San Antonio. Little Johanna has spent the last four years as a Kiowa captive and along the way, the Captain begins to teach her how to once again be a part of the society she came from.

News of the World is a slow and meandering book. There were a few interesting scenes, but for the most part there just didn’t seem to be much of a point. The worst thing about it was a writing style choice the author made. She did not use any quotation marks. At all. This was very distracting and sometimes made it difficult to read. There did not seem to be a reason she made that choice. It did not contribute anything to the story. Since I live in Texas, discussion of the geography was interesting, and the relationship between the Captain and Johanna was sweet, but otherwise there was little that I enjoyed about the book. I don’t particularly recommend reading this historical fiction novel (a genre I usually enjoy quite a bit).

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 113
Pages Read in 2018: 29,053
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Book Club