This or That
I was graciously provided with an advanced reader’s copy of Sophie Kinsella’s recently released My (not so) Perfect Life via Netgalley.
Here is the synopsis from Penguin Random House:
Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.
Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.
Full confession: I am one of those few people who was actually not a fan of Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Yet I liked My Not So Perfect Life. It was not exactly written in the way that I would have liked – there were some cringeworthy moments, and some moments where the writing was a bit over the top. But there were also moments that made me giggle, and overall, I felt a strong connection to the story.
I’m going I let you guys in on a little secret: I am not perfect. I would love to be, but I’m not.
Katie works in marketing, a job that demands creative thinking, grueling hours, and can feel pretty thankless. This description likely sounds familiar to anyone who works a white-collar job.
I would actually highly recommend this novel for work-book clubs, because it could facilitate discussion regarding many aspects of work-life relationships:
- Work-life balance
- Relationships with co-workers
- The importance of hard work
- Being true to yourself
- Perception vs. reality
- Goals, and how to achieve them
Sophie Kinsella creates characters who are believable and relatable, and if you are feeling overwhelmed, trying to find your place in the world, or looking for the next book for your book club, then you might enjoy My (not so) Perfect Life.
This week’s This or That:
Lending a book to a friend and having it returned damaged or not returned at all?
I’m going to have to go with option C.
There is a difference between a loan and a gift. When I loan a book out, it is with the understanding that, when the reader is finished, that book will be returned. In a similar condition. Just as, when I am lent a book, I try to take care of that book.
Now, sometimes, shit happens. You get caught in a rainstorm without your umbrella. Your coffee cup refuses to behave and spills all over your table, your carpet, and your borrowed book. Your kid decided the book made a better lunch than that peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Aliens descended from the sky to wreak havoc on the one item you really didn’t want them to mess with: the book you borrowed from your friend.
But when something happens to the book you borrowed from your friend, unless that book is out-of-print and/or nearly impossible to find, you buy your friend a nice new copy of that book.
And if that is either impossible or unfeasible, due to the particular book borrowed and pecuniary or other circumstances, then is there a point in returning it? Probably not. Blush and apologize profusely, and explain what happened to your friend.
Those are my two cents. What are your thoughts? Please let me know in the comments!
Per the lovely Rae, this week’s This or That is one of those things, that, like Fight Club, nobody talks about and involves breaking shit.
How do you feel about breaking the spines of a book?
When it is my book, that I own, and which now owns me, and it is ending one page at a time, I have to break the spine, every so often, in order to make something out of my book.
And so I let go. Lost in my slight OCD by destroying my book at concrete, visually appealing intervals.
As Tyler Durden might say, I don’t want a book without any scars.
It’s another installment of This or That, questions proffered by the lovely Rae, some of which I choose to answer.
Today I want to know……
Do you (currently) read historical fiction?
By currently, I mean have you read it within the past year or so.
This question gave me pause, because at first, I wasn’t sure.
I know, elephant. I know. #hangshead
I tend to be interested by the ideas that are represented by historical fiction, yet am often unsatisfied with the manner in which those ideas are written and/or carried out by the author. There is a delicate balance between researching to give a story authenticity, and adding details in a rote manner that feels didactic.
Yet, upon reviewing my Goodreads feed, I came to the conclusion that yes, I have read historical fiction during the past year. Before I delve into further detail, let me clarify, that when I use the term “historical fiction” within this blog post, I am referring to books that are set in a period of time prior to the period in which the author wrote that book. For example, Inherent Vice was published (and presumably written within the approximate time of) 2009, but takes place in the ’60s. Books written about a time that is now historical past but was the author’s contemporary time period are not included in the following listing (feel free to order your own copy, should any titles pique your interest, by clicking on the graphics below, which link to Amazon (or support your local bookstore by ordering it from an indie!)):
June – This novel has two timelines. One in the near-present, the other occurring in the ’50s. Very enjoyable, in that juicy, small town, family saga way. This novel does not come out until May 31, but I recommend pre-ordering if you’re craving a way to start your summer off right.
Alias Grace – A Margaret Atwood novelized version of the person Grace Marks, and an attempt to get at the true crime story that resulted in her imprisonment at the tender age of 16 for a crime she may or may not have committed. The truth, we will never know, but Atwood spins an interesting tale. A bit of stream-of-consciousness storytelling, so if you are extremely averse to such narrative tactics, avoid this book. Otherwise, give it a try. I rather enjoyed it.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – A murder-mystery occurring in the ’50s, narrated by the wonderfully precocious Flavia de Luce. I adored this novel, and highly recommend either a read or a re-read, stat.
Inherent Vice – Another mystery novel, this one occurring in the hippy-dippy ’60s. Chill with Doc Sportello, man, in a world created by Thomas Pynchon that is an inherently good read.
The Night Circus – While popular opinion disagrees with me, I was not a huge fan of this novel that takes place during the nineteenth century. The writing smacks of Tim Burton sans soul, including a romance storyline between two people who barely spend any time together. I am certainly in the minority, but this novel full of characters performing magical feats never quite reaches the level of magic that should be delivered in its writing.
The Forgotten Room – This book not only has 3 different timelines, it was also written by 3 different, accomplished writers. A bit of romantic fluff, to be honest, but well written and entertaining romantic fluff. I highly recommend if you like romance books.
Wildflower Crown – A novel with princesses and horses, with fighting and faeries and adult women who look like children. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but many will not. (Read my review, linked in the title, for further information if you would like to make an informed decision.)
Stars Over Sunset Boulevard – Much of this novel revolves around two young women living in Hollywood, friends and roommates, during the filming of Gone with the Wind. This book was so interesting. I kept expecting it to veer into the maudlin and predictable, yet it somehow nobly abstained. I highly, highly recommend this novel. It is the best kind of chick lit.
Eternity – Unlike the previous novel I just discussed, this book is some of the worst kind of chick lit. It started out in a fairly interesting vein, but petered out, and in the end, I’m not really sure why I even finished. I did finish, so it’s not unreadable? I wouldn’t recommend this novel unless you are an avid fan of predictable romances.
Those are the historical novels I have read during the past year, and looking back on them, I realize the past 365 days has been a good time for historical novels. In general, I enjoyed most of these novels, which I was not expecting when I initially set out to write this blog post. What about you? Historical novels – yes or no? Do you disagree with any of my opinions laid out in this post? Please comment below!
Today, I discovered This or That, and wanted to add my two cents to the debate Rae started on Monday:
So today I want to know if you ….
Read in the morning
(yes I’m being nice and adding another option) In the middle of the day
Here’s the catch (you knew it was coming): You cannot say “it depends” pick the one that is most likely to occur based off of your current schedule.
First of all, kudos to Rae for not allowing the use of “it depends,” because let’s face it – most things in life could be answered that way.
Now, drum roll please:
I prefer reading at night.
My mind is generally fairly active during the day. So active, in fact, that it can be difficult to slow it down. Reading is a relaxing activity that helps me concentrate my thoughts on the fictional (I almost never read non-fiction books) exploits of fictional characters, and thereby soothe myself to sleep.
What about you? Morning or night?