Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Young Adult Books for Any Adult

According to The Atlantic, 55% of YA readers are adults.   In the past year I read several that I recommend.

  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.
  • Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Who Killed Christopher Goodman by Allan Wolf
  • One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
And some of my very favorite books are YA, such as Bridge to Terabithia, The Book Thief and Johnny Tremain. 

While I don't know why other adults like YA fiction, I enjoy it for a few reasons.
  • Coming of age stories are relatable.  We all have our own experiences "coming of age" and we remember those same feelings, awkwardness and fear.
  • The characters.  The characters! Because their experiences are relatable, so are they.  
  • Sometimes I need to take a break from heavier things.  I call this "cleansing the palate."  Sometimes I don't want a complicated plot with complicated characters.  Sometimes I just want a shorter, faster read.
  • They are so good! So many of them are made into movies because of this.  
  • So many of them focus on relevant social issues- mental health, racism, bullying.  
Have you tried YA yet?


Monday, January 22, 2018

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

January 22
A quote from A. J. Fikry:  "You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?"

Possibly, but can one have a single favorite book?  I could not answer the question because I have several favorite books, ones I re-read once in a while and amongst whom I could never choose a Number One.  Better question, What is a favorite books of yours?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Quote for those who might question all the time we readers spend on books

January 19

"... reading teaches us to take a more exalted view of the value of life, a value at the time we did not know how to appreciate and of whose magnitude we have only become aware through the book."
--Marcel Proust, Time Regained

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Manhattan Beach controversy!

January 18
Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach has been on the bestseller lists for what seems like ages.  But so far two BoB readers have said they can't even get past the first few pages!  Another BoB reader LOVED the book.  She listened to it in audiobook format, so that's what I'm going to do.  I am intrigued by the fact that there is no consensus on this one, especially since it has been so well received and reviewed outside the BoBosphere.

February 23
So I listened to this book and... I really enjoyed it!!  It follows a family who lives in New York City around the time of WWII, a time and place I find especially intriguing.  My mother-in-law, who grew up in the City, used to tell me stories about her and her girlfriends going to the docks to flirt with the sailors, and how they would get nylons and other difficult-to-acquire-in-wartime items from their boyfriends.  They also worked in factories because the men were all fighting overseas.  That whole way of life was brought to life for me again as I listened to this book.  The main character, a woman!, becomes a diver and works on the warships.  There is a mystery surrounding Anna's father, who ran with mobsters and eventually disappeared.  At the end of the book everyone's stories come full circle, with the sea also being a main character wielding her won special influence.

Young Jane Young, by Gabrielle Zevin. 5 Stars!

January 15

I checked this book out on a whim.  It’s about a young woman (Aviva) who interns for a congressman in Florida, a man who was also her neighbor when she was a child.  She ends up having a fling with him, their affair is discovered by the press, and she pays heavily for her indiscretion.  The congressman rides the scandal out with a minimum of inconvenience. 

The story is presented from the point of view of various characters and time periods.  For example, the first person you meet is Aviva’s mother Rachel, well after the events occurred.  Rachel goes on a blind date with a man who ends up referring unwittingly to the old scandal; he blames Aviva while essentially giving the congressman a pass.  Rachel leaves in a huff and the guy has no idea what he’s done wrong.

Here are some elements of this book that I enjoyed: seeing a single set of circumstances through the eyes of different people; a clear and witty exploration of our culture’s double standard for the sexes; and feisty smart characters who often come up with unusual thoughts and remarks.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2018: A Five Star Start

2018 is off to a great start!  I've read 2 books this year that I rate 5 stars.  First is Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace and Emily Fridlund's History of Wolves. 
Alias Grace is the story of Grace Marks, a woman tried and convicted of murdering her employer and his housekeeper in the mid-19th century.  Dr. Simon Jordan, a young doctor in the new field of mental illness meets with Grace and her story unfolds.  Is she a jealous, wicked woman rightfully convicted?  Or is she an innocent victim herself?
You can also watch the adaptation of this book on Netflix! Unlike most books that become movies (or 6 part mini-series)  this will not leave you disappointed.  Atwood herself even makes an appearance if you are watching closely!
The second book, History of Wolves is part mystery, part coming of age drama.  The setting, rural northern Minnesota, is as much a character in this novel as 14 year old Madeline/Linda.  One of the most striking things about this novel is that early in the story you are made aware of a tragedy, but as the story unfolds and you get to the event, the reader is still caught off guard.  There is a lot going on this book, a teacher convicted of child pornography, the remaining members of a former commune to name a few.  The rural, isolated nature of this book is haunting and beautiful, and I found myself continually rooting for Madeline/ Linda.
Bonus- author Emily Fridlund is from the Finger Lakes Region of NY!