Bookshelf: Weird Winter Collection

I’ve been digging into an odd assortment of books lately.

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The Summer Book by Tove Jansson was recommended to me by a hotel guest and I found it completely charming. Easy to read but so thoughtful. It’s mostly about the relationship between a grandmother and a her 5-ish year old granddaughter. Full of insights that at first seem to simple and obvious but continue to resonate with you.

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Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart was also pretty easy to read because he’s a compelling storyteller. That said, I found the main character—a self-obsessed finance exec on the down and out— to be wildly irritating. Which I’m sure is part of the point. But when I finished the book I did breathe a bit of a sigh of a relief to have him out of my life. To anyone out there who hasn’t read any Shteyngart, I highly recommend starting with Super Sad True Love Story.

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Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. The Poisonwood Bible is one of my absolute favorite books, so unfortunately I think every other book Kingsolver writes has a nearly impossible challenge of meeting those expectations. That said, I’m a sucker for books that take place in the same physical spot but over different periods of time, so I definitely enjoyed that element of this book. Like with Lake Success, I found most of the characters to be kind of irritating in all honesty. I also had limited patience for all the, “Oh Trump won’t win, he can’t!” talk in both this book and Unsheltered. I don’t find the dramatic irony entertaining at this point in time. We’re still too deep in this mess.

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After slogging a bit through those last two books I was like, gimme something I’ll binge read in a day. Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers it was. Loads of suspense, switching between points of view just when you started to find one character’s flaws suffocating, some interesting thoughts on the world of “self-care”. For some reason, Big Little Lies struck me as more plausible, but I still thoroughly enjoyed devouring this book in a day.

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I’ve known about the Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel for years, and a reeeeally strange variety of people in my life love it. Most of whom read it at a pretty young age. It’s “prehistoric” fiction, looking a clan of Neanderthals who take in an orphaned Cro-Magnon girl. Lots of nature descriptions, lots of early religion. I haven’t finished it yet, but there’s apparently also a fair deal of prehistoric sex to come as well which was definitely what stuck with a lot of my friends, haha! So far it makes me want to eat beef jerky and go for long walks across grassy plains.