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I love time travel, I love all the attempts at a do-over, and I love stories that acknowledge the stories they're playing off of. This book has all of that, but also something I've never come across in a story like this. The story starts with a 40 year old Alice who is living through the misery of watching her father waste away from an illness. She's magically transported back to her 16 year old self and unlike all other stories of this ilk where the character is concerned with changing things about their love live or future career, she realizes what a gift it is to see her father again as a young and vibrant man. I've never wanted to be a teenager again, but as someone who lost a parent much too early, I've often wished for more time with my mom. It never occurred to me to wish to spend more time with her when she was younger and I took her for granted as all teenagers do. This book takes time travel tropes and makes something new, not an easy task. Emma Straub has added to that canon in a profound and beautiful way. This book touched me more deeply than I could've imagined.
On the surface, the premise of this book sounds ridiculous and hilarious. A woman wins the lottery and decides to recreate Three's Company and live as the characters. And it is ridiculous, but it's also raw and sad. Bonnie has experienced an armed robbery in which she was raped and beaten, her unrequited crush was killed right in front of her, and the couple see viewed as adoptive parents are also slain. Unable to deal with the trauma, Bonnie withdraws from the world and takes solace in repeated viewings of Three's Company. What starts as a comfort becomes an obsession. When she wins the lottery, she is able to live out her dream of being in the show she loves. She soon finds that even this isn't enough to keep her grief and trauma at bay.
An incredibly thought-provoking and realistic examination of our notions of humanity. Michael Ian Black doesn't profess to be an expert, but he does speak with the authority of a man who hasn't fit the traditional mold of masculinity.
This is such a highly relatable feminist rom com that has enough meat to make it more than just fluff. While I easily devoured this charming book in one sitting, it still made me really think. This book confronts female beauty standards and more than that, it does it in a completely realistic way. TJ changes her appearance and people don't just accept it because she's always been popular and hot. The jerks in high school are still jerks. It's more about TJ accepting herself. Plus there's the swoony romance with her academic rival that I saw coming a mile away, but loved every minute of!
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Carter Bays has a true gift for telling a story that zigs and zags and weaves through a large cast of characters. When you think there's no way all the plot points will tie together, they do. This book is a glorious look into what it meant to be a human in 2015 and the specific idiosyncrasies of being a human online and on a phone in 2015. A comedy of manners that has Buddhist monks, AI, model trains, and political intrigue...what more do you need?
Aaaaaahhhh, this book wrecked me! It is a love letter to gaming, friendship, and collaboration. It's messy, sad, brilliant, and beautiful. It made me laugh, it made me weep, it really made me want to play Donkey Kong in a pizza place. I loved how the narrative style changed to reflect the state of Sam and Sadie's evolving relationship. Sometimes how the story was told was as important as what the story was. I will be thinking about this story and these characters for a long time to come.
One of the things I really love about science fiction is the ability to explore issues in a way that almost feels safer than in regular fiction. This book takes the emotional intensity of the refugee situation presented in Moshin Hamid's Exit West and ups the magical realism to full blown alternate realities. This is a book that I'll be thinking about for a long time and will need to sit with for a while to really process.
This was a twisty sci-fi thriller that gave me Dark Matter vibes, but without all the physics I didn’t understand. It’s all fun and video games until the military industrial complex get involved.
A gorgeously written fantasy set during the Spanish Inquisition in the last Muslim stronghold in Granada. The prose is beautiful and visceral and its easy to draw connections from the fall of this great civilization to what's happening in the world today.
I'm definitely late to the party, finally reading this now. It's hard to think of what to say about this book that so seamlessly entangles fiction and nonfiction, philosophy and physics, life and death. This was a book so unlike anything I've read before. It was challenging and enchanting. I had to stop several times while reading it to just really sit with what I had read and try to wrap my head around it. I'm not sure I've encountered a book that has such beautiful moments set against such disturbing descriptions of bullying and suicide. I read this in anticipation of Ruth Ozeki's new book coming out and now I'm even more excited to pick it up. She is a very unique and talented author.
This is exactly the type of history book that I love. It's easy to digest, written in an anecdotal style, and, even being a huge Revolutionary War buff, I learned several things I didn't know about George Washington and the early days of our country. In a homage to John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, Philbrick takes his dog, Dora, (and his wife, Melissa) along for his recreation of Washington's inaugural tour of the country. They stop at the important places Washington visited and dispel many of the myths that exist about the Washington the man while dipping into both the struggles of forming a new nation and keeping that nation together. Philbrick paints a full picture of Washington and the other founding fathers, not glossing over their flaws but instead portraying them as ordinary men doing the best they could. Written during a time when our country seems to be even more divided than ever, it gives the reader the feeling that even when our differences seem insurmountable, there is common ground between us all as Americans.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Jenny Lawson is a genius. She can make me sob uncontrollably from both laughter and the heartbreakingly honest way she talks about mental illness. She takes the worst things in life and finds a way to laugh through them. Her ability to bring people together in a celebration of human awkwardness is just beautiful. This book provided much needed relief and escape from the divisiveness of the world.