Hi beautiful readers. My life is full to bursting right now, but I have NOT forgotten about my favorite book club of all time! Let's recap January books:
BIG LITTLE LIES- Like most of my forays into adult contemporary fiction, this took me a little time to get into, and then I sped through the second half of the book in a single evening. I didn't LOVE the characters, but I really wanted to solve the mystery. I was properly shocked and thrilled by the reveal, and then I moved on.
It took me a few days to sit with everything before I was ready to completely appreciate the genius of the development. These characters are presented like caricatures- rich and gorgeous, poor and plain, sassy and outspoken, humble and Zen, sharp and mean. I recognized it and kind of rolled my eyes. But as the story progresses, ESPECIALLY during the climax, different layers are teased out, and even the side characters who originally seemed designed to antagonize become relatable. It's really difficult to keep a book light and interesting and have that kind of depth without getting melodramatic, but I think Moriarty pulls it off.
YEAR OF YES- Oh. I just adore this book. I'm really curious how many of you listened to the audiobook as opposed to reading it, because hearing Shonda Rhimes narrate really upped the feeling of chatting with a super impressive friend. I spent many a night fixing dinner with tears rolling down my cheeks because I felt spoken to- hearing recordings of her speeches, especially, was such a powerful experience.
I was so nervous when she started the chapter about losing weight. I just wanted so damn badly to enjoy this book without having to sort through my feelings of rejecting diet culture and I did not think I could stomach hearing this firebrand of a woman explain that her life improved so much because she got smaller. No matter how much I love your memoir, I'm not sitting through that. My relief was that this chapter focused more on recognizing when you're using food/lack of activity was a barrier to stay numb. Her description of "veal practice" made me chuckle. Then she described a low point of using consistently chocolate chip cookies and Doctor Who episodes to keep herself from confronting feelings, and my first thought was "That sounds amazing." It was not framed to sound amazing, and it really made me think. Thinking about food as a crutch instead of as a morally good or bad thing was actually very positive for my own understanding of my personal relationship with food. I still love chocolate chip cookies and Doctor Who.
Overall, YEAR OF YES challenged me to take a hard look at my own life, and I knew it was right because I did not like it. There has been a long running joke in my family that I don't like to feel feelings- I'll write about a lot here, but especially where it comes to my interactions with my family, I'll put on a bright smile and refuse to face things that are upsetting me. (I also cannot handle Law & Order SVU or any of those manipulative commercials where an elderly person has friends for the holiday because of a card company or a supermarket.) My husband has been teasing/not teasing for years that this is a terrible way to live life and always ominously tells me that this pushing down cannot last forever. I texted him after finishing YEAR OF YES and said, "I think 2017 is the year I'm going to try to feel feelings." I really hate it so far, so it's probably super important.
I would love to know how you felt about the January picks. I've heard from a few friends that BIG LITTLE LIES was not their bag, and I love when people feel comfortable enough to share what they didn't like!
I shared the February picks over on Facebook earlier, and I know it's a bit late in the month so there is zero pressure (that's actually the point of the club- zero pressure) to join up. Both of the books for February are adapted for film!
Fiction- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
From Goodreads: "My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. "
EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING is currently being adapted into a film starring Amandla Stenberg, but I suggest looking up the trailer AFTER you read the book because there are serious spoilers. When the film releases, I'd love to do a Be Your Own Lady field trip!
Nonfiction- Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
From Goodreads: "Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program—and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now.
Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space."
Let me know what you thought about January's books and if you're planning to read along in February! Sending you love and lots of downtime for reading! xx