April Reviews

Some days I feel like we should get awards for doing the tiniest things- "oh, you came in and unloaded the dishwasher, a gold star for you!" or "you didn't lose it with your kid for whining when you know good and well that he's probably slept twice as many hours as you have in the last day, so here's a trophy!" Validate my mundane actions, universe, val-i-DATE!

Alas, it doesn't work that way. I have a consolation prize, though: book reviews. 

The Telomere Effect by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel
335 pages
I wrote about this book here.

Verdict: Accessible and full of great reminders on how to live a healthier life, in most every arena of existence. 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
337 pages
Ove is desperately trying to kill himself after his wife dies and he is forced into retirement. Unfortunately his neighbors and his closeted desire to help others keeps getting in the way. 

Verdict: I was worried that this book might be a little to sappy, but it was the right amount of sentimentality in the end. I loved that it was set in Sweden and the simplicity of the prose was refreshing. I sort of get the vibe that Backman's stuff might get a little old after awhile, so while I'm not going to rush out to buy everything else, I will keep him in mind when I need a bit of a break.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
191 pages
Lucy Barton is in the hospital for an extended period of time and her mother comes to visit, a woman from a very different walk of life. Through this short book Lucy and her mother's relationship, as well as Lucy's past in general, is unfolded through quick little vignette's where the reader learns that Lucy's early life in poverty was the opposite of easy. 

Verdict: I really, really enjoyed this book. The page count and shorter chapters are deceiving; this is not an easy book. The alluded to topics are emotionally challenging and the reader must hone her powers of inference. The mother-daughter relationship is fascinating, and painful. I'm excited to order the follow up that just recently came out.  Side note: I'd love to teach this book!

Dear Ijeawele or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
63 pages 
I wrote about this book earlier in the month here

Verdict: Love her, love it, love the reminders, love the ideas generated for raising my son.

Antigone by Sophocles (Richard Emil Braun translation) 
50 pages
It's hard when your dad marries his mom and you are your siblings result from the marriage. It's even worse when your blind dad is dead, you brothers basically kill each other, your uncle is a tyrant, your engaged to the said tyran't son, and your sister is sort of a wimp. Antigone, dear girl, you just were not deal a good hand. 

Verdict: I read this book every two years and each time it grows on me. When I read it originally in high school or college I loathed it. But now that I am teaching it for the third time, dare I say, I actually kind of like it. 

976 pages 

1 comment:

  1. I loved A Man Called Ove, but then DNF'ed Britt-Marie Was Here. So you may be onto something! I still would like to try him again, but I'm giving it more time.

    Also, so with you on feeling like mundane things are major accomplishments some days. OK, most days for me if I'm perfectly honest.