Quick takes- October 2017

Sing Unburied Sing. 4 stars. Great writing, somewhat uneven. Maybe not completely memorable but solid lit.

Forest Dark. 3 stars. Hate to say it, but this was kind of a slog. Seems like it should have been a memoir- then I would never have read it.

Jillian. 5 stars. OMFG this was hilarious and I loved it. Has the “not for everyone” tag, but it very much was for me.

The Grip of It. 3 stars. Creepy and suspenseful, but it fizzled out bigtime at the end.

The Misfortune of Marion Palm. An extremely generous 3 stars. I hated this character, and the story, but there is a decent writer buried somewhere in here. The last bit is so interesting and insightful, and you just want to ask, “where were you all this time?”

Manhattan Beach. 4 stars. A little bit uneven, and contains a pet peeve of mine toward the end, but a great story by a great writer. I’m quite sure I’ll read everything Jennifer Egan ever writes.

Release. 2 stars. Ugh. The main story is basic and forgettable, with kind of a self-involved jerk main character. And that’s the good part! The magical realism storyline is very badly done.

Chemistry. 5 stars. This is so good, so fast, great main character. Nothing not to love about this one.

Pachinko. 5 stars. Perfect historical fiction, perfect generational saga. I will never forget it. Treat yourself to this one.

Class Mom. 1 star. For every Maria Semple, there are about 50 Laurie Gelmans. Painfully unfunny.

We Only Know So Much. 4 stars. Nothing groundbreaking, but very well done. Dysfunctional family novel, just the kind of thing I can’t resist.

The Ninth Hour. Such a perfect, beautiful gem. This one really got to me; so engaging and moving.

Her Body and Other Parties. 5 stars story collection. The Husband Stitch is the best story I’ve ever read, seriously, ever. The rest are all pretty solid, but honestly they could all be complete garbage and I’d still give this 5 stars on the strength of The Husband Stitch.

The Rules of Magic. 4 stars and then some. Such a charming book. I didn’t realize how much I needed a prequel to Practical Magic, but turns out, I really needed this!

Sourdough. 2 stars. A man wrote a very dull novel about a woman leaving her career in tech to go bake bread, and I will never stop being annoyed by this.

The Dud Avocado. 5 stars. Hilarious and fun, oh man did I love this character, and I’m so glad to learn I’m not the only one who sometimes feels like a dud avocado!

Top picks- Pachinko, Jillian, The Dud Avocado, and you should at least read The Husband Stitch.