March Reviews

March has been a much-needed blast- the yearbook was finished, I saw Wicked, attended a Nathan Englander reading, went to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA, found a new trail to hike only a few miles away from home, took a trapeze class with my sister, have tried a few new restaurants, and was able to spend some time with family. Oh, and I read some good books.

Let the Great World Spin
Colum McCann
375 pages
I already wrote a post on how this book achieved the ultimate trifecta- it has a great plot, amazing characters, and spot-on writing. The novel is centered around several characters that all connect in round-about-ways to each other through both strong and weak links. While brothers from Ireland are struggling in New York City, prostitutes they know are fighting the street. A mother is mourning her sons death, while her husband is trying to bring justice to the city. An artist couple must come to terms with their actions, while a young boy rides the subway looking for graffiti. It's amazing.

Verdict: As much as it pains me to say this, it's not a book that's for everyone. If you prefer simple plot lines and being told everything up-front it's simply not for you.

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards 
Kristopher Jansma
272 pages
I actually already wrote about this book too, and how I had to accept the fact that the narrator was so unreliable that it was impossible to completely understand what was happening (but not in a horrible Naked Lunch kind of way). The story is basically about what it means to be a writer- where do the lines between your life and what you're writing about blur? The narrator (and or character in his book) travels around the globe while still never forgetting the girl he thought he fell in love with in college.

Verdict: This is a bit like the above caveat- if you're not a fan of ambiguity stay away from this one. The novel is written well and the story itself is great once you react and realize you don't always have to be in control as the reader.

Everything is Perfect When You're a Liar
Kelly Oxford 
336 pages
I don't normally read celebrity books, but I've been following writer Kelly Oxford on Twitter for awhile and was curious to see what her book was like (lucky for me I snagged an ARC). It was extremely funny, a bit raunchy, and only a little bit tiresome. It chronicled her life as a rebellious, nerdy kid in Canada up until now, as she's starting to become a bit famous. 

Verdict: I suggest looking at her old tweets- if you think she's funny than go for it. It will definitely be on my beach reads list for the summer. 

The Interestings
Meg Wolitzer
468 pages
I am absolutely in love with this book- I haven't been able to put it down all week. The novel starts off with six gifted teenagers at summer camp- they form a tight bond and, with the exception of one, remain friends for the rest of their lives. Somewhere in one of the reviews someone referred to it as "panoramic" (maybe Jeffrey Eugenides), which I think is the perfect way of describing it. You see such a wide range of their lives, which Wolitzer does so well. It was fascinating to see how different, and yet similar, the six become as adults and to see how the handle the trials and tribulations of life.

Verdict: It's a bit longer, but I definitely think it's worth it.  I can't wait to read more books by her.

1,451 pages

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