December Reviews

It seems so last year to post December reviews (ha. ha. ha), but here we are, sticking to the plan, being consistent. Admittedly, my plan for December was getting through shorter books and graphic novels so I could make my goal of 71 books, so when I say I read eight books it wasn't like I was busting out War and Peace or anything. But, eight is eight, right?

I read two graphic novels, Lena Finkle's Magic Barel by Anya Ulinich (thank you Penguin for sending this an embarrassingly long time ago) and Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel. They were both about writers, somewhat autobiographical (Bechdel's more so), and about struggles with relationships. I enjoyed both but didn't necessarily feel moved in the same way that I've felt with graphic novels I've read this year.

Kara Goucher's Strong was a huge letdown. It was part running motivation and part journal, but as a whole it was incredibly generic. The pictures of her were good and the layouts were appealing, but I thought it was a waste. 

I read two collections of short stories, Pure Hollywood by Christine Schutt and Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. Pure Hollywood was quite mediocre with a few moments of greatness. The writing felt like that of a writer who had maybe been great in her prime but had maybe lost a little bit of the gloss of her earlier work. Friday Black was an amazing commentary on race and societal values, with fantastic writing and some sort of futuristic/sci-fi vibes. 

The two novels I read were both quite good, Sigrid Nunez's The Friend and Meg Wolitzer' The Wife. Interestingly, both described relationships with older male writers that each of the female narrators has. The unnamed narrator in Nunez's work ends up inheriting her dead friend's Great Dane and must cope with his grief and her own. Joan, in The Wife, has decided that she's over holding her husband's hand at every stage of the writing process and wants an out. 

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