Yep. You’re reading that right. I managed to get through THREE books this week. This may be because I’m in full senioritis mode, and reading for fun sounds like a lot more fun than doing anything productive.
Here are my super short reviews, because now I have to actually get back to doing homework/work work. Whoops.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
YA that doesn’t make me cringe. Girl meets boy, they hold hands (the description of holding hands was weirdly sexy, in a good way), girl’s family is deeply messed up, and boy tries to help her, although he’s 16 and doesn’t really get it. Although this could easily fall into the trap of being overly sentimental, Rowell keeps the plot and characters achingly REAL. These aren’t heroic kids. They are trapped by being too young, by having family responsibilities, and not even being able to drive well. The book feels like high school, though certainly a bit more romantic. I read it in almost one go. Sometimes it feels so good to have a book that is just so readable and easy, especially when otherwise you’re reading a ton of dense, scholarly articles. Blergh.
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
Recently, I have been trying to expand my reading horizons into genres I don’t usually read. I had seen this on a NPR list as the best fantasy of 2013, so I decided it would be a decent choice (and yes, I realize that by choosing genre books off NPR lists, I’m not stretching myself that far. It’s a start, ok?!). This is a “memoir” of Lady Trent, your typical upper crust woman from the 18th or early 19th century who is smart, but held back by social convention. Her obsession? Dragons. Soon, she’s off on an expedition to study them in the wild, leading to danger and mystery. Although I found the book started with a lot of promise, as soon as the focus became a trip to find dragons, I felt like it got super plot-focused instead of character-driven. I want to know more about Lady Trent herself, less about the dragons!
See. This is why I don’t do fantasy.
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Oh Lean In. I feel like it’s impossible to come to this book with a clean slate now. There’s been so many think pieces about it, so many opinions about Sandberg herself and so many spin-offs. There wasn’t anything of surprise in this book for me…but that’s also because I listen to feminist podcasts, read feminist blogs and am otherwise pretty aware of the current discussions. That being said, I would recommend this both younger women and definitely men who are unaware of many of the conflicts that come up with women and work. And yes, things are definitely easer for Sandberg. She can hire a nanny, she’s super privileged, etc etc etc, but that doesn’t mean that the issues she points out aren’t important or universal. I have personal experience with many of them in my own career. Believe me, when she said that women are more apt to just work really hard and expect to be given a promotion rather than ask for one, it hit home. It’s her solutions that are a bit tone deaf. Sure, lots of ladies would like to hire extra help or have the option of working from home. Many women don’t get any paid maternity leave (yayyyy America). But still, that doesn’t take away from her overall argument.
And since I’m job searching right now, I’m totally going to lean in and ask for more money. Cheryl Sandberg told me to!