Reading Lately: March 2018


It's been a while since I did a book roundup, and honestly that's because I had a rather unlucky streak of uninspiring books. It wasn't that these were "bad" books, but they just weren't the type of books that felt worth sharing. The Commitment by Dan Savage is the perfect example: while I enjoy Savage's writing, this was a long book where Savage tries to convince the (presumably liberal) reader that same-sex marriage should be legal. Either you agree with him and gain nothing from the book, or you disagree with him and only make it 2 pages in. I didn't regret reading it, but definitely didn't think it was worth writing about. The Never-Open Desert Diner is another good example: it was perfectly enjoyable but kind of weird and I don't know that I would say I recommend it? It was pretty far outside of my typical literary diet, and while it was great to step out of my comfort zone I'd feel dishonest encouraging others to read it.

But! Things have turned around. I've read a number of great books over the course of February and March, and have finally compiled enough to warrant a post. I'm a few days past the 'Spring Reads' deadline, but we'll call it Spring Reads anyway ;) Here's what I've been enjoying lately:

The Muse

Jessie Burton

This book took me by surprise, and was such a delight! It's a clever story with wonderfully complex characters, and who create great tension and conflict with each other. It's so hard to write characters who are all likeable and empathetic but still create believable conflict, and Jessie Burton nailed it. A bit of a long one, but worth every hour!

The Grownup

Gillian Flynn

A half-step closer to horror than Gone Girl, this short story by Gillian Flynn proves "Gone Girl" was no fluke. It's impossible to tell what's true, who's lying, and what really happened. Strong female lead, plot twists I never saw coming, and an open ending make this a story that you'll keep thinking about long after putting it down. Highly recommend!

Lily and the Octopus

Stephen Rowley

I read this because it was the Girly Book Club's March read, and I have mixed feelings about it. It's an unusual and heart-wrenching read, but I didn't feel like it brought anything new to the sad-book-about-a-dying-dog genre of books. The book follows Ted as he grapples with the inevitable death of his beloved companion, a dachshund named Lily. It was honestly hard to empathize with Ted, and while there's no wrong way to grieve it was hard to be in the mind of someone who is so lonely and who's only friend is a dying dog. At the same time, it has rich descriptions, great characters, and is excellent at making Lily a character as much as Ted. So...a mixed bag. Read at your own risk.

Call Me By Your Name

André Aciman

This is my favorite book ever. Period. The best movie, and the best book. Elio is so expressive and emotional. As I've gotten older I think I've lost touch with that emotional side of myself, for better or worse. Especially in America I think it's typical to numb yourself in order to 'get through' everyday life, and we quickly forget what it's like to feel much of anything very strongly. "Call Me By Your Name" reminds me to not be afraid of feeling too much, to be vulnerable and present and that even the lows have a certain richness to them when you really feel them. I love the setting, I love the story, I love the characters. I want to live in the world and the character that Aciman has created everyday, and am glad that for at least a few hours this week I was able to escape to that place. This is definitely a read that I'll keep coming back to.