Fun fact: reading fiction during graduate school is difficult. Funner fact: reading fiction and blogging about it is damn near impossible.
I suppose that is what I signed up for. And while I owe you a post on how graduate school/#phdlife is going, overall I’ll say it’s going well (I think) and I’m enjoying it (I think). Also, it’s hard. So I’m taking a break from reading and writing the paper I should be working on to share my thoughts on a few books I’ve read lately.
A Bookish Update: The Best Books I’ve Read In The Past Few Months
You can always check in on my 2017 reading update here. As of today, I’ve completed 84 books. My goal is to complete 100 by the end of the year.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I bought this as an audiobook when it was nominated for the National Book Award. I’m not sure any description could truly give this book justice. A Little Life tells the story of four college friends, but there is one clear subject of the book. Throughout the audiobook (31 hours, so a time commitment), I felt more emotions than I have ever felt reading a book. I sobbed. I felt sick. I laughed and rejoiced. I felt hope and despair. This book has been catapulted to my top five favorite books of all time. OF ALL TIME. The narrator of the audiobook was absolutely amazing. I plan to listen to this book again, and will likely buy the hardback as well.
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
This is another book I bought as a Kindle Deal and it was well worth it. The book starts in the present: a father deserted/man widowed by his wife, his adult children taking care of him. Through a series of letters that are interwoven between chapters that take place in the present, we learn about the wife and what led her to…disappear. This book drew me in immediately and was a quick read. Loved!
My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul
Book fanatics, this book is for you. This is non-fiction, written by the editor of the NY Times Book Review. Bob is Paul’s book of books, where she chronicles the books she’s read. It’s a beautiful story, filled with emotion and totally relatable, about a woman and her love of reading.
Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
Bad Feminist is another book I bought through an Audible sale. I didn’t have many expectations going in, but this book did not disappoint. The premise/thesis of this collection of essays is: you don’t have to be a perfect feminist to be a feminist. In her essays, Gay discusses everything from being a Scrabble lover, to being a Sweet Valley High fan as a child, to working as a female academic at a college. I loved her storytelling ability and the voice she gave her stories. I didn’t agree with everything she discussed (which is ok!), but I loved the non-judgmental way she discussed being a feminist and how it can mean different things to different people (with the basic understanding that feminism at its core is the belief that genders are and should be considered equal).
This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
I bought this book as an Audible Deal of the Day for $3.95. Totally worth it. This Is Where I Leave You chronicles the coming together of a family after the death of its patriarch. Mixing present action with flashbacks, the story is enthralling, if not at times unbelievable, but depicts a family coming together during a time of distress, highlighting how tragedy and comedy can intertwine. (I loved the narrator and recommend the audiobook).