2015 in Books, August

  • A God in the Ruins by Kate Atkinson
    • Kate Atkinson is one of my favorite contemporary authors. This book is a companion novel to Life After Life, a work I keep mentally revisiting because of the way Atkinson treats time. A God in the Ruins follows Teddy, the brother of the main character in Life After Life. This novel also plays with time, treating it as a fluid that can flow in more than one direction. So while it is not completely accurate to say that it is set during World War II, a lot of the defining moments are. I cried at the end, and not just because I’m pregnant. If you like well-written books that play with literary conventions, read Atkinson. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
    • I had never read Judy Blume before this book, which just seems wrong. I wanted to read some good fiction as a break from some dense non-fiction, and I figured it was as good a time as any to see what all the fuss is about. Summer Sisters was the only one of her books that was available on the library’s e-book lending site. It was fun and fast. I’m looking forward to reading more of her oeuvre.
  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • A couple of bloggers whom I follow talked glowingly about Kondo’s book. I’ve tried for a few years now to live a consciously well-edited life. My basic philosophy is to get rid of things that I don’t need and think hard about what I buy. Kondo reinforced some of my habits and provided some good tools for organizing what I chose to keep. I like her idea of deciding to keep things that spark joy and let the rest go. However, I don’t share her Shinto beliefs so the parts about animism didn’t resonate.
  • The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
    • Some good historical fiction about the backstabbing, self-serving Plantagenets and the War of the Roses.
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
    • It was nice to read a dystopian young adult novel that isn’t cut from the same cloth as Hunger Games (because it was written earlier). In this version of the future everybody is made “pretty” when they turn 16, which comes with consequences that they don’t realize. It had everything I like in my young adult fantasy novels–likable characters, a strong female lead, logical consequences and a premise that I am willing to suspend my disbelief for. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series when it’s my turn at the library.
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