Quick Review: The God of Small Things

Title: The God of Small Things

Author: Arundhati Roy

Published: 1997

The down low: Man Booker Prize winner in 1997.

Summary in 2 sentences: Twins Esthapen and Rahel are growing up in India in the ’60’s. While they are wealthy, their mother starts an affair with an “untouchable”, a decision that will lead to tragedy.

Why you should read it: This book will make you feel things. It is one of those novels that is depressing but for a reason, not just to exploit your emotions. I would recommend it for anyone looking for a great tough read.

How Books & Bachelorettes categorizes this book: Drama

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Quick Review: Beyond Words

Title: Beyond Words: How Animals Think and Feel

Author: Carl Safina

Published: 2015

The down low: Nonfiction about animal behavior going into depth on killer whales, wolves and elephants.

Summary in 2 sentences: Carl Safina talks to numerous animal behaviorists and other who have spent their lives studying animals. He shares stories and insights into how animals think and feel, and proves that animals do have incredible human-like tendencies.

Why you should read it: If you like any type of animals, this is a great book to read, as Carl combines anecdotes about wolves and elephants in the wild with observations of his own pets (which include two dogs, a squirrel and I think a bird of some type). Also, it makes me mad that people still treat animals so inhumanely in this day and age, so everyone should read this to get a bit of perspective.

How Books & Bachelorettes categorizes this book: Critter nonfic

Quick Review: Cold Sassy Tree

Title: Cold Sassy Tree

Author: Olive Ann Burns

Published: 1984

The down low: One of those random books that kept popping up on my Goodreads as a book I would enjoy based on my previous reading selections. They were wrong (sort of).

Summary in two sentences: When Will Tweedy is fourteen, his grandfather creates a scandal in their small Southern town of Cold Sassy in 1904 by eloping with a much younger woman only three weeks after the death of his first wife, Will’s grandmother. The book follows Will and his family through the next year of dealing with the aftermath of the wedding.

Why you should read it: I am not sold on what type of reader would enjoy this novel, but Olive does create very believable characters. I was turned off considerably by the heavy usage of dialect, which I never enjoy.

How B&B categorizes this book: coming-of-age

-A

Quick Review: The Royal We

Title: The Royal We

Author: Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Published: 2015

The down low: William and Kate fan fiction

Summary in 2 sentences: Spunky, sporty American Bex Porter goes to Oxford for a semester abroad and wouldn’t you know it – the future King of England is her house mate! She falls in love with the person behind the prince, and the rest is history.

Why you should read it: This is 100% Kate Middleton fan fiction, but it’s really decent. This is just about the last thing I would’ve expected myself to enjoy, but I was completely sucked in. I spent a little too much time googling pics of Kate Middleton while I was reading this.

How Books & Bachelorettes categorizes this book: Princess Diaries 2.0

-M

Quick Review: The Fall Guy

Title: The Fall Guy

Author: James Lasdun

Published: 2016

The down low: One of the Book of the Month Club selections for October

Summary in two sentences: A wealthy couple, Charlie and Chloe, and Matthew (Charlie’s down-on-his-luck cousin) escape the NYC summer heat at the couple’s country house in Aurelia. As with any triangle, things get weird and tangled when betrayals, secrets, and old grudges are revealed.

Why you should read it: I wasn’t blown away, but there’s a slow build of creepiness and suspense that is to be admired and makes for a compelling read. There was something Hitchcock-y about this to me, and I would 100% be on board with a movie version of this book. Absolutely a good beach read and a unique story.

How B&B categorizes this book: creepy, suspenseful

-M

Quick Review: The Goldfinch

Title: The Goldfinch

Author: Donna Tartt

Published: 2014

The down low: Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction, 2014

Summary in 2 sentences: Theo loses his mother in a tragic accident at thirteen, and his life goes on a path of self-destruction quickly thereafter. A long, drug-fueled look at a life with some philosophical dwellings on what life is all about (heads up: not positive).

Why you should read it: I’m not really saying that anyone should definitely read this. No regrets, but I struggled with it; some parts I liked, most parts I didn’t. I struggled with Theo’s character and found the long stretch of the book that takes place in Las Vegas boring. I couldn’t stand Boris. It’s extremely depressing and there’s a lot of death. But I loved Theo’s relationship with Pippa, and the very end of the book helped redeem it for me. The end message is worth it, and Tartt spells it out for you by the end so you don’t have to work hard to get it if you didn’t get there on your own (I didn’t). For as long as this book is, I got through it fairly quickly.

Read it if you liked: Donna Tartt’s other work or overly long philosophical books about life/human existence

-M

Quick Review: The Killer Angels

Title: The Killer Angels

Author: Michael Shaara

Published: 1974

The down low: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1975) and required reading for a lot of people in school (but somehow not for me). Eventually became #2 in a series that was later extended by Shaara’s son (Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure).

Summary in 2 sentences: The Killer Angels offers a well-informed fictional account of the Battle of Gettysburg, four of some of the bloodiest days in American history. Both armies fight for a cause – one side of righting for a way of life they believe in, the other for freedom.

Why should you read it: No matter what kind of person you are or what kinds of books you like to read, this story will move you. Literally this book makes you want to travel back in time, enlist in Chamberlain’s division, and fight for the cause. Shaara makes you feel like you’re on the actual battlefield. At a time when it feels not so hot to be an American, The Killer Angels is the perfect antidote.

How B&B categorizes this book: inspirational AF.

-M