It’s time for another monthly wrap-up!
I finished 11 books this month, thanks to several slim volumes and a holiday. What did you read this month?
#20. The Hundred Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
★★★★★ – Not for me. Full review(s) – video and podcast – here.
#21. Wallflower at the Orgy by Nora Ephron
★★★★★ – A selection of Nora Ephron’s articles from 1968-9. While the subject matter of a few didn’t interest me, overall this is another great collection of her work. Mush, a seething piece on bestselling romances of the time was a joy, along with a take-down of Ayn Rand and a somewhat uppity article on the ubiquity of the Frommer’s guide. Fantastic.
#22. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
★★★★★ – Although it’s set in the 1930s, this probably fits into the New Adult genre. I was expecting a boarding school novel and got an undercooked, naval-gazing family drama that’s part romance novel. Full review here.
#23. The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
★★★★★ – A retelling of the Japanese fable, set in modern-day England. Many of Ness’ strengths are on display here: his great ear for dialogue, good characters and character development, and a lively tone. However as the story worn on this began to wane.
#24. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
★★★★★ – Excellent, award-winning middle-grade fiction. Lovely characters, good storytelling, but a bit saccharine for my taste. I appreciated this one more than I enjoyed it.
#25. Let’s Discuss Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
★★★★★ – Perhaps my favourite collection of Sedaris’ personal essays yet. Language, travel, and family are the key topics here in an array of hilarious and at times visceral “real life” stories. A brilliant read.
#26. The Reader by Bernard Schlink
★★★★★ – An accomplished novel – a tad predictable but makes great use of undercut tension, understanding characters actions and emotions and actions that follow. What it lacks in plot it makes up for in fantastic use of metaphor and in raising ethical questions on a personal level. Despite a few reservations, it’s a great, short read.
#27. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
★★★★★ – A novel in two parts, the first of which outshines the second. Great characters, fantastic dialogue. I really enjoyed the voices here, despite having reservations about the narrative style. At times it wanders into the technical, and the ending wraps up a little too neatly. Nonetheless a well-constructed first novel.
#28. For the Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander
★★★★★ – For the relief of finishing a discarded short story collection, more like. Good stuff from Englander, if a little one-note subject-wise. I much preferred What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, but I’ll definitely pick up his novel soon.
#29. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
★★★★★ – Brilliant storytelling in second-person narration. World-wise and affecting. Full review here.
#30. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
★★★★★ – I don’t know. I just couldn’t get into it. It picked up considerably for me towards the end, so I was very late to the party in more ways than one. Maybe I’ll read it again someday.