It was another fairly successful reading week (although, of course, there were about a million things I should’ve been doing instead of reading. Moving’s hard, folks! There’s SO MUCH TO DO), and I plowed through three extremely different books.
I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections by Nora Ephron
I figured I’d follow up I Feel Bad About My Neck with Ephron’s other book of short essays. I certainly enjoyed it, but when I tried to write about it now, I can hardly remember what it was even about! It could just be that I’m a fast reader who doesn’t take in as much as I should (this is one of my biggest reading faults!), but I feel like I can put a bit of the blame on the book too. Yes, it was good…but it just wasn’t that memorable. The exceptions to this were her essay about the pain of different types of divorces (she went through two) and her lists of what she’ll miss and what she won’t miss. Those were both great, great pieces.
So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman
I decided a dark, gritty book about a horrific small town murder would be the perfect thing to follow up humorous memoirs! So Much Pretty certainly worked for that. I expected this book to be a suspenseful but easy read, to be honest. It ended up being a much more nuanced look at small town dynamics than I expected, as the story is told from tons of different characters’ viewpoints. Although the shifting narrative is a bit off-putting at first, by the finale, I was completely sucked in. A young, pretty woman disappears from a small town in New York state, shaking everyone to the core. Nothing seems safe or trustworthy anymore. How do we, as a society, avenge those who disappear? What is justice? And who gets to decide? Great questions to ponder.
Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull
This was, hands down, the prettiest book I picked up at the ALA Conference. Look at that beautiful cover! I just wish there was a better book to back it up! This is a YA fairy tale about two sisters who find themselves in the world of the birds after their parents disappear. Fairy tales can be fantastic. They can really take the reader away to a new world in which anything is possible. But, the danger in creating these new worlds is creating worlds that just don’t make sense. I feel that is what was at play here. There was very little character development, especially with the parents, so the reader just had to kind of believe that the girls would want to find them. There was no real yearning. Plus, a lot of things just…happen. Yes, it’s fairy tale land, so you can create whatever you want, but without the proper background, the reader isn’t going to believe that things happen so conveniently over and over and over again. I think these elements were what prevented me from getting into it. It felt like a slog, which isn’t what I’d usually expect from a YA fantasy story.