reading roundup // september 2016.

i’ve not written a book update on here in months, so i decided to do a quick summary of what i’ve been reading since may. hopefully i’ll be better about doing these on a monthly-ish basis from now on.

the obsession by nora roberts. i read this way back during my travels in se asia and india, and it was thankfully better than whiskey beachthe obsession centers around naomi, a professional photographer who as a girl witnessed her father emerging from a cellar where he held and assaulted women. as an adult she moves to the pacific northwest to settle down, but she soon realizes she’s being stalked and hunted by someone obsessed with recreating her father’s crimes. the obsession moves quickly, and it was a good time-pass while i was traveling, but it’s nothing earth-shattering // 3 out of 5 stars

she paused, thinking about how sometimes a surprise was just the acknowledgment of something you had tried hard to ignore.

the sleepwalker’s guide to dancing by mira jacob. this was one i wanted to read for a while, and i finally got around to it while i was traveling. i loved the story of amina and her family, spanning from india in the 1960s to arizona in the 80s. jacob weaves back-and-forth over the years seamlessly, and there were so many aspects of amina’s life that i could relate to as a fellow second-generation american of indian origin. the language is beautiful, and the narrative is fantastic. this one is highly recommended // 4 out of 5 stars

brooklyn by colm toibin. i had high hopes for brooklyn after all the hype it has received in the last few years, and while i thought it was a good book, i was also a little disappointed by it. i couldn’t quite sympathize with the main character, which made it difficult to remain invested in the story. the one nice thing, however, was that i happened to start it just before visiting maggie and lannon in brooklyn, so it was nice to recognize street names and neighborhoods and think about what they must have been like 50 or 60 years ago. i’m still interested in seeing the movie, though, because maggie mentioned that quite a lot was changed from the book // 3 out of 5 stars // a book with a love triangle

the graveyard book by neil gaiman. i listened to neil gaiman read the graveyard book during my us road trip two years ago, and i was excited to read it for the first time to see what i remembered and what was new. i loved revisiting the story of bod, the live boy raised by the inhabitants of a graveyard and protected from the evils of the outside world by his adoptive parents and his guardian, silas. as he grows up, bod enjoys the freedom of the graveyard while also learning that his life has limits so long as the man jack continues to hunt him in the outside world. gaiman is such a gifted storyteller, and i loved having the opportunity to discover this story again // 4 out of 5 stars // a book with nonhuman characters

sweet water by christina baker kline. i struggled with finding my reading motivation after finishing the graveyard book, so i finally took myself to the bookstore one day to find a quick read that would get me back in the groove. while perusing the fiction section i discovered that baker kline, author of orphan train [my favorite read of 2014], had other novels on the shelf, and i grabbed sweet water and brought it home. it was a quick read, which was exactly what i needed, but it was also a bit of a disappointment. the story never quite took off for me, but i liked that it was set near chattanooga. after i finished the book i found out it was baker kline’s first book, so i look forward to reading one of her more recent ones, because she’s a great writer // 3 out of 5 stars

human knowledge is never contained in one person. it grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.

when breath becomes air by paul kalanithi. this one will be getting its own full review one day, because there is not enough space here to adequately sum up how i feel about kalanithi’s book. written while he was dying from stage iv lung cancer, when breath becomes air is a memoir and a reflective essay and a legacy for his young daughter. it is brilliantly written and devastatingly sad, and i will be sharing it with anyone and everyone i come across for a long time to come // 5 out of 5 stars // a book that made you cry

how you love yourself is

how you teach others

to love you.

milk and honey by rupi kaur. i don’t remember how or when i first heard of rupi kaur’s poetry, but i am so glad i finally picked up a copy of milk and honey. broken into 4 parts – the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing – kaur takes us through her journey as a woman and how the experiences of her childhood shaped her adult relationships with men and women, friends and lovers, and everyone in between. it is at turns heartbreaking and at others uplifting, and it is always interesting // 4 out of 5 stars

the trouble with michael oher as a football player was the trouble with ferdinand as a bull: he didn’t exhibit the anger of his breed.

the blind side by michael lewis. after years of wanting to read the story of michael oher’s ascent from the depths of poverty to the nfl, i finally borrowed a copy of the blind side from a friend and started on it during football’s opening weekend. i learned a lot more than i expected to, both about oher’s life and about how the nfl has changed in the last 30 years. lewis is a gifted storyteller, and reading this while simultaneously watching games gave it an extra insight. as i was reading the final page of the book with a bit about dwight freeney, the announcers on monday night football were discussing his career. it seemed like a fitting way to end a very interesting read // 4 out of 5 stars

i am so happy to be back into a reading groove, and i am hoping to do more regular roundups like this in the months to come.

have you read anything good lately?


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