Quick takes- May 2018

Red Clocks. 4 stars. High four stars. I love feminist dystopian fiction, especially when it’s not by Margaret Atwood. sorrynotsorry

You Think It, I’ll Say It. 5 stars. Perfect, perfect short story collection. Man, there are some *awkward* incidents in this book. I honestly can’t imagine Curtis Sittenfeld writing something I don’t want to read.

The Gunners. 2 stars. Fine premise, but what a mess this book is. Bad writing and bad characters. I am still laughing about the scene where a character spends an uneventful night in a supposedly haunted house, then later takes her film to get developed and when she gets her pictures back…guess what happens! This book works if you’ve never read another book or seen a movie or experienced any other pop culture in the last 30 years or so.

The Grief of Others. 3 1/2 stars. Very mixed bag. Kind of a miserable group of people, but good writing, and vivid characters. It just doesn’t really go anywhere.

The Only Story. 3 1/2 stars. Another one that doesn’t really go anywhere. I did love these characters, and it’s so unusual and refreshing to read about an older woman/younger man relationship. Not my favorite of his, but I’m very fond of Julian Barnes.

Grist Mill Road. 2 stars. I’m still mad about how dopey this was. I know I’m hard on thrillers, but there have to be better ones than this.

The Girl Who Never Read Noam Chomsky. High 4 stars. Very solidly in the not for everyone category. I loved the writing and the somewhat shiftless, unremarkable main character. Can’t wait to see what she does next.

How To Set Yourself On Fire. 4 stars. I love a difficult main character. I felt the story was a little slight, but I was very connected to these people.

The Young Widower’s Handbook. 5 stars. I am totally in love with this author. Creating humor out of depressing material is a gift, and it is exactly what I want.

Whiskey & Ribbons. 5 stars. Wow, great writing and great characters. Great job with alternating viewpoints, and I would kill to read a Frances-centered sequel.

The House of Broken Angels. 4 stars. 4+. This is a real epic family saga. It got a little hard to keep track of everyone, especially with nicknames thrown into the mix, but well worth the effort. Funny and sad all at once.

Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties. 2 stars. This is so frustrating for me, because I really want to support fiction about women of a certain age, and I love the point about women just becoming invisible as they get older. Sadly, all this really has going for it is the title. Nobody has any personality in this book.

Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful. 5 stars. Why did so many people tell me to read this great book about a woman whose hilarious brother died tragically young? It’s a mystery.

Top picks: I liked a lot of stuff this month! You Think It, I’ll Say It is the one that stuck with me the most. Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful was terrific, and I think Whiskey & Ribbons has a lot of appeal.