The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

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5

 

 

Rating – 5/5 stars

 

Date Finished – October 5, 2017

88/120 in 2017

Publication Date – September 26, 2017

In The World According to Garp (John Irving), one of the characters points out that there is a fine line between lunacy and sorrow, between comedy and tragedy. In fact, that’s what the whole book is about – the thin line between laughing and crying. The more books I read, the more I see that all my favorites have one thing in common: they play jump rope with that line.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is the life story of Cyril Avery – a man born in Ireland to an unwed mother who gave him up for adoption. The novel follows his life from the moment he enters the world. In a Forrest Gump-esque collection of events, we see the world change as Cyril grows up as a gay man in a deeply repressed Irish society, then moves to Amsterdam then New York, and eventually makes his way home.

This is an incredibly moving, touching story that explores the relationship between lunacy and sorrow. You’ll laugh and cry, and you’ll learn to see the world in a new way. This is literature at its finest, and it’s why I read books.

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The Comfort Food Diaries by Emily Nunn

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3
Rating – 3/5 stars

Date Finished – October 5, 2017

87/120 in 2017

Publication Date – September 26, 2017

This book is 100% in my wheelhouse. It’s a food memoir in the tradition of Molly Wizenberg, with a hint of Ruth Reichl – exactly the kind of book that makes me stop everything and start reading.

But, for some reason, Nunn’s memoir missed the mark for me. I was looking for a structure that never quite made itself clear, and I felt disconnected from Nunn’s descriptions of her family. I know that families are complex, hard to explain, and ever-changing, but I felt like Nunn needed to spend more time digging into her relationship toward her family before tackling a memoir. Her lack of perspective sometimes felt immature.

Despite some lack of perspective, Nunn’s stories about reconnecting with her childhood friends and family were really lovely. And the recipes are top notch, and they really add to the reading experience.

If you’re looking for a pretty good food book, this one is fun. But, if you’re more in it for the Cheryl Strayed-esque memoir, keep looking.

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A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

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4
Rating – 4/5 stars

Date Finished – October 5, 2017

86/120 in 2017

Publication Date – 1998

#2 in the Song of Ice & Fire Series

The second in George RR Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire series opens with four kings and one queen claiming the Iron Throne, and the novel follows as those players jockey for power. It’s a great second book – the stories move along at a good clip, and we learn so much more about the world we’re in and the characters that populate it.

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Sourdough by Robin Sloan

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5
Rating – 5/5 stars

Date Finished – September 30, 2017

85/120 in 2017

Publication Date – September 5, 2017

I absolutely ADORED this novel. I don’t want to say anything about the plot for fear of ruining it or turning readers off I’ll say that it defies categorization and breaks expectations at every turn, but it’s readable and approachable.

If you’re a book lover and a food lover, do yourself a favor and curl up with this book, cup of coffee, and a great snack and let it suck you in. It’ll be so worth it.

 

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Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

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3
Rating – 3/5 stars

Date Finished – September 25, 2017

84/120 in 2017

Publication Date – August 22, 2017

 

This book has gotten an enormous amount of attention and interest, so I picked it up to see what all the fuss was about. It was a pleasure to read, and the story was moving – it’s about a woman who is in a monogamous relationship, but her husband’s parents are pushing him to take a second wife because Yejide cannot get pregnant. A second wife only causes Yejide to take more and more extreme measures to try and conceive, and the novel follows her struggle to please her family and to become a mother.

For some reason, and I can’t really identify why, the novel just didn’t land for me in the way it seems to for other readers. At times I felt like the action moved a little too quickly (but I also understand that not every novel can be an epic family story), and some of the character’s actions and motivations were unclear. Despite my qualms, I really enjoyed reading this novel, and found the story emotionally compelling and moving.

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Zone One by Colson Whitehead

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4
Rating – 4/5 stars

Date Finished – September 24, 2017

83/120 in 2017

Publication Date – 2010

I picked up this Whitehead novel on a recommendation, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am a really fast reader, and this novel forced me to slow down. Whitehead’s sentences are loaded with information, and often use language in interesting and unexpected ways. I love that I was forced to reread sentences and think through the words rather than just speeding through.

This is, simply put, a zombie apocalypse story. That said, it isn’t action packed. Not much changes through the novel, and it’s a very small, personal look at the post-apocalyptic zombie-filled world.

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Reading People: How Seeing People Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel

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4
Rating – 4/5 stars

Date Finished – September 24, 2017

82/120 in 2017

Publication Date – September 19, 2017

First, it’s important for me to say that I LOVE ANNE BOGEL. I listen to her podcast What Should I Read Next? every week religiously, and I look forward to her recommendations and her way of weaving threads that connect every reader’s interests. So – I can’t think of much that she could do that I wouldn’t love.

That said, this book is not something I would normally pick up – I only read it because of Anne’s name. I really enjoyed it, and I feel like I learned a lot about myself and so much about the personality frameworks that she explores, which are:

• Introversion / Extroversion
• High Sensitivity
• Chapman’s Five Love Languages
• Keirsey’s Temperaments
• Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
• MBTI Cognitive Functions
• Clifton StrengthsFinder
• Enneagram

I had taken most of these in the past, with the exception of the Enneagram, which I found to be really helpful. It was great to have a guide through these tests and someone to help draw connections between them. I’m glad I took the time to read the book and to reflect on my own personality and I’ve started to think through how helpful it can be to understand my personality and the personalities of those closest to me.

 

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