When planning out my March Reads posts, I realized that I completely forgot February! Overall, I had a slow two months in books, but mainly because I finally tackled two books that have been on my TBR for ages! So here we go:
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A friend of mine works for Penguin and over a night of wine and bookish discussions, she mentioned having read a book she knew I would love — and she was right. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is about a small bookstore, on a small island, owned by a man who has been down on his luck for far too long. A.J.’s wife and fellow business partner has died and he has sunken into a drunken stupor, letting the bookstore run down. Until one night, a baby is found in the store with a note that requests that she be raised among the books. A.J.’s life takes a major turn with this mysterious child in his life. This book is literally an ode to books, bookstores and those who love them. If you love the smell of a book, the way it feels in your hands, the majestic presence of stacks full of books – you need to get your hands on this one. (For a wonderful review, check out my friend Lindsey’s blog post here!)
Sweet Tooth Volume 1: Out of the Woods by Jeff Lemire
Last year, Jeff Lemire’s Essex County broke my heart. I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I was affected by his comic book drawings. When Sweet Tooth landed in my hands, I was so excited. Though nothing like Essex County, Sweet Tooth is signature Jeff Lemire – pulling at your heartstrings, amazing artwork and a complicated and compassionate story line. This series tells the story of a young boy, Gus, who was born with deer antlers a catastrophic accident leaves many children born as human/ animal hybrids. When his father dies, Gus is found by a large, strong and moody man named Jepperd and embarks on a journey with him. This book draws some serious parallels to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
I read Dark Places as a Buddy Read with my friend Natalie from Browsing Bookshelves. Both of us were a bit nervous given the constant warning of extremely disturbing content that stalks the internet, but also intrigued by the guarantee of Flynn’s excellent writing. Excellent writing it was, but it was also, as promised, extremely disturbing. Though the story was well thought out, neither Natalie or I had the stomach for the content. Though I recommend this for people who love the creepy and disturbing and being kept on the edge of their seat, I don’t think Flynn’s subject matters are my sort of thing.
The Mystery Society by Steve Niles and Fiona Staples
I bought this purely because it was Fiona Staples (SAGA!!!) and was sadly a bit disappointed. The art, of course, was beautiful, but the story fell flat to me. The premise sounded fascinating – a married couple who solved crimes and mysteries, like the mystery of the stolen Edgar Allen Poe skull – but ultimately the plot was a bit shallow for me. I still enjoyed reading this, but am in no rush for the next volume to come out.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Be still my beating heart! This novel is one of the best books I have ever read. Nothing I can say will do justice to Tartt’s literary prowess. It took me nearly a month to read this book because it was impossible to rush. I dove into the lives of the characters like a scuba diver in the middle of a vast and murky ocean: with extreme trepidation, but insane curiosity. I have developed quite the girl crush on Donna Tartt (not an uncommon occurrence for her readers) and am already looking forward to diving into The Little Friend and The Goldfinch.
Supurbia Volume 1 by Grace Randolf
This was a recommendation from a friend, but sadly wasn’t my thing. This is a comic series about the spouses of super heroes and how they function as both support and their own kind of heroes beside their other halves. It was a quick read, but not one I would continue on with.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
This was a classic I didn’t read as a kid, but have always been curious about. Like so many others, I had the assumption that Charlotte was the girl on the popular book cover, but no! This was a touching, adorable story about friendship and love and has one of the cutest quotes of all time, I’m glad I read it :).
“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’
‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
After reading and loving Night Film last year, I have been wanting to read Pessl’s first book for ages. I FINALLY finished it last night after reading it for (again) nearly a month. This is a special kind of book, as the narrator is someone you will either really love or really hate. She is extremely smart and references the written word (articles, books, reports) in almost everything she says. The story centers around this girl, Blue, her eccentric father and an enigmatic teacher at her school. It is part murder mystery and part character study. Though I enjoyed the plot immensely, I did tire of all the references Blue makes throughout the book. But the end had a great twist and it was definitely worth the read!
Sisters by Raina Telgemier
After reading Raina’s Smile, I fell in love. This woman is a fabulous comic artist and hilarious to boot. Smile was an autobiographical tale of Raina’s experience with orthodontics growing up. I was extremely excited to learn that Sisters was also autobiographical and charts the relationship between Raina and her sister, Amara, as they grew up. It was signature Raina: hilarious, heartfelt and so much fun. I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of this but I will definitely talk more about it upon it’s release in August!
And that was it for me, guys! Like I said, a pretty small list, but two big books! I’m taking a break from the giant reads this month and tackling some new releases and recommendations, as well as another Buddy Read with Natalie, this time of The Shadow of the Wind!