Recent Reads Vol. 11

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
I accidentally placed my hold at the library for the "young readers" version of this book, but by the time it became available I'd waited so long that I didn't care. The subtitle was changed to "How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World" from "The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot By the Taliban," and the page count dropped from 327 to 240. Still, I went ahead because I really wanted to read it and I had followed her story a bit, so I figured I could research on my own if I wanted to fill in any spaces. If you're unfamiliar, this is a good primer on Malala and why she is significant, but I do think you should read the book and hear it from her directly. I generally don't go for non-fiction (although the last three or four books I've reviewed have been NF, huh?) but I do appreciate memoir, especially memoirs of women who change the world (please note my love affair last month with Notorious RBG).

I was really happy this finally came up for me, and I think it's important for anyone who doesn't feel a connection to feminism to read in order to understand what it is we talk about when we talk about equality and rights. Also, the audiobook concluded with Malala's full speech to the U.N. (recording of her delivery) a few years ago, which may have been the most important part of the whole thing. I cried.

Recommend? — Yes, yes, yes!

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
I'm on the fence about this one. It was enjoyable enough that I read it from start to finish, but it had a lot of things that irritated me. None of them related to the plot, which was an imagined account of Zelda's life and relationship with F. Scott Fitzgerald (who happens to be the author of my favorite book, hence why I picked this up to begin with). My issues were solely with the writing, chiefly that the author seemed to have no idea how to write dialogue or how to give an accurate representation of a generation or period in time other than her own. References were heavy-handed but the usage and tone was all out of whack. I was a bit more specific in my Goodreads review, if you'd like to see.

Recommend? — I suppose you'd like it if you enjoy historical fiction. It was a nice story; just a little challenging for this editor to read.

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
It’s funny; I grabbed this because it was available now on audiobook, sounded like it would be an easy listen during a week where I would be on many buses, and it was recommended for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette (which I was—a fan of, that is). From the first few minutes, the description of the place and lifestyle sounded like it could have been written by someone in my town, which is a medium/large town in the NYC metro area populated by mostly NYC transplants or commuters. Then she said “Park Street” and described it, and it reminded me of my town. THEN she mentioned the neighboring town which shares a name with the one I grew up in, which is 15 minutes away from my current town, and THEN a restaurant in current town and I was like…yeah, this author’s a Montclarion. It was funny because it gave me like a new camaraderie with the author and main character, the latter I assume is not-so-loosely based on the author herself.

Anyway, for readers who won’t recognize town and restaurant names, this read easily and nicely, if a tad predictably. It definitely would appeal more to the “working mom aching for work/life balance” or “how does she do it all” set, which I’m not a part of, but I can appreciate the challenges. It was sweet and had some really compelling, very human, extremely emotional moments, and it really just passed the time on my bus rides to and from the city very well.

Recommend? – It's not a can't miss, but it's an easy and enjoyable read.

Currently working my way through June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, which I borrowed from Michael and am really enjoying. It's on the thick side though, and I'm halfway through with no idea where the story will go from here, so no comments on it yet. 

In other news, happy anniversary to Steph, Jana, and Show Us Your Books! Thanks for giving us this space for the last two years to talk to, share with, and learn from fellow bookies, ladies.

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Oh, and in case you missed it: I'm hosting a sort of blog challenge this month. Get the scoop here!


Comments

  1. I'm on hold for I am Malala and cannot wait to read it. Memoirs are probably what I read the most of and I am not-so-patiently waiting for the library to send me an email ;) I will have to look up her U.N. speech as well.

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  2. Yay for I am Malala!!!! I found it so inspiring and educational and it made me feel feelings. It was a great audiobook.

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  3. Malala is something I've been wanting to read, but for some reason, every time it comes time to pick something to read, I forget about it.

    Hopefully, now that you've brought it up, I'll remember!

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  4. added I Am Malala to my list! i read a window opens, i don't remember the NJ part super well, but the part i had a hard time relating to it -the working mom, and the person who gets sick/dies (i don't remember lol) i just didn't feel anything, you know? and i think the author wanted me to, but i was like pfft. i'm heartless like that. love the new look round here!

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  5. I am going to add A Window Opens to my list to read because it sounds interested and I will picture your town while reading :) That is what I liked about Emily Giffin's new book. While there are better things out there, it took place in the same area of Atlanta that I lived in for many years so I recognized all the streets and places they went.

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  6. Good note on I Am Malala - I'll definitely make sure I grab the "right" one. I read A window Opens and I don't remember it, so it must have just been a time passer for me.

    So bummed I was sick this weekend as I really wanted to get some posts written. Maybe I can try to get after them tonight!

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  7. I've thought about picking up Z before! It seems so interesting!

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  8. I felt the same way about A Window Opens. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if work/Mom balance was a part of my lifestyle, but I still enjoyed it. That's so cool that it was set in your hometown!

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  9. That must have been fun discovering some similarities with that author :) I will check that book out because I do struggle with work/family balance and am always intrigued by it. Definitely wanting to read I am Malala sometime soon and I might try it on audiobook.

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  10. I didn't particularly love Z either. It was interesting to read about the time period, but the characters got so annoying sometimes. But that's probably the way that they were in real life. A Window Opens sounds really good! I'll make sure to check that one out since I loved Where'd You Go Bernadette!

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  11. i have Malala on hold at the library but given what position I'm in 39 on 12 copies, I won't be reading this until the year 2022 #rage.

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  12. I didn't even bother linking up today - I read one book. ONE BOOK.... ugh. I am Malala is on my to-read list though.

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  13. Obviously I need to read A Window Opens. I don't think I'd particularly enjoy Z, but I'm curious- what's your favorite book? (I'm sure you've mentioned this before and I forgot, but humor me please.) I Am Malala has been on my TBR forever. Thanks for pointing out that there are two different versions! I think I'll have to find that U.N. speech after I read it too.

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  14. I'm generally not a huge non-fiction/memoir reader, but I definitely need to make an exception for I am Malala. She is such an inspiration.

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  15. I've wanted to read I Am Malala for forever! It's been on my TBR list since it came out but maybe I'll give it a try after the book I'm currently reading!

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  16. I'm thinking I might get the kids version of Malala so Erica and I can read it together.

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  17. I feel like we all should read I Am Malala. I haven't read it yet. I need to.

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  18. I Am Malala is on my list to read still. She is an inspiration. (P.S. Let me know if you are able to reply to this or not! Haha)

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  19. I haaate editing mistakes in books, though I know I don't notice nearly as half as you must! I still need to finish Z one of these days-- I think I got a few chapters in and that was it. June has been on my iPad since the spring and for some reason I never think/want to reach for it, so I'm excited to see what you think of it.

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