Lincoln in the Bardo – review

Author: George Saunders
Publication date: February 14, 2017
Genre: historical fiction, literary fiction
My rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

Witty, wise, weird, and wrenching, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary tour-de-force that brims with brilliance and takes a little-known historical event as a lens to examine truths about the human condition. It is quite unlike anything I have read in a long time, and it makes the writer’s intelligence and skill apparent almost immediately. And, somehow, it manages to do this while still being an accessible read that passes far faster than you would expect–though you wish it could last just a tiny bit longer.

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Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory – review (and tons of quotes)

Author: Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Publication date: July 11, 2019
Genre: short stories, humor, adult fiction
My rating: 5/5 stars

When I heard the creator of BoJack Horseman had published a book, I knew three things for certain:

  1. I had to read it.
  2. It would destroy me.
  3. I would love it.
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Watchmen – review

Author: Alan Moore (writer), Dave Gibbons (illustrator)
Genre: graphic novel, drama, superhero
My rating: 5/5 stars
Publication date: September 8, 1987

There is so much to unpack in this book. So much happens, and so masterfully executed, that I really don’t know if I can do it justice with a simple review on this blog. I’ll do my best to keep this from turning into straight-up raving, but I have a lot to say. Sorry in advance for the length.

But first, storytime!

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WWW Wednesday- 10/16 (or, why am I so indecisive?)

WWW Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Taking On a World of Words. Every Wednesday, the posters present their answers to the 3 W’s:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

What am I currently reading?

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Thoughts on a Thursday – TBR, upcoming review, and more

It’s been a long week (despite having Monday off for Labor Day, and the fact that it’s not even Friday yet). I have some more legitimate posts in the works, but for now, I thought I might share some scattered things I’m currently thinking about. Most are book-related; a few are not. All are intended to be very casual updates, so don’t expect anything too fancy, but here’s what’s up:

  • First, something I found tremendously exciting: Quichotte by Salman Rushdie made the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize. I was fortunate enough to read a digital ARC of this book before its release this past Tuesday, and I absolutely loved it. It makes me happy to see great authors continuing to get the recognition they deserve! Check out my review here.
  • This month, I’m participating in a group reading challenge on Facebook called Reading Rivalry. We get sorted into teams, we have book prompts and posts to respond to, and we get points for things we get read. It’s pretty fun, and it helps me prioritize my TBR a little. This month’s overarching theme is Harry Potter, and I’m on the Marauders team!
  • Speaking of TBR, I still have so many books to read this month! I have eARCs of The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman, and The Bone Ships by RJ Barker, and I’m currently working through The Ten Thousand Doors of January. And these are just the ones I need to finish before they release this month! Plus all the September releases I’m hyped about, which either just came out or are coming in the next few weeks–Darkdawn, Five Dark Fates, Wayward Son, The Testaments, Serpent & Dove…why must so many good titles all come out at once??
Three eARCs, all coming out in September!
  • I’m currently interning/clerking at a medical malpractice law firm in Chicago, and I’m really getting into the swing of things finally. The attorneys really like me, and I’m working on some pretty cool cases.
  • Also on the law front…the LSAT is in just over two weeks, so I need to step up my game as far as prep work. I’m feeling pretty good about it, but still, it’s a tad overwhelming.
  • Been listening to a few audiobooks lately, and I think I’ll do a series of mini-reviews for them. Stay tuned for Shadow of the Fox, The Alchemist, and Nevernight (yes, that last one was a reread in preparation for Darkdawn).
  • Also in reviews to expect soon, The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier. I won a copy in a Goodreads giveaway, and wow. Just finished it last night. I hadn’t heard of her before, but found out she’s actually quite popular (many of her books came out when I was still too young to read them), and now I see why. Fantastic book, lovely characters, and great worldbuilding! Plus, like…musicians who are also kickass warriors? Totally my kind of story.

So…that’s all for now, folks! Have you read any of these? Of my three remaining ARCs for this month, which one would you most like to see a review for next? What did you have for breakfast this morning? Leave a comment and let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday 9/3 – Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside My Comfort Zone

Hey, y’all! Hopefully everyone in the US enjoyed their long weekend for Labor Day, and hopefully everyone else enjoyed their normal weekend and subsequent Monday. Today’s post is another Top Ten Tuesday, a themed weekly post run by That Artsy Reader Girl, and the topic du jour is, as you probably gathered from this post’s title, “Top 10 Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone.” A few of these titles are ones I read for school, but a fair number are also ones I tried out just because, so I included a little explanation with each one. As usual, the titles are in no particular order. Enjoy!

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Warbreaker – review

Well, well, well, Brando Sando’s done it again. Brimming with life, color, politics, magic, and twists, Warbreaker is yet another testament to Sanderson’s mastery of the fantasy genre. I was hooked from the first line, and though it took a minute for the plot to really take off, once it did, the flight was epic.

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Quichotte – ARC review

Release date: September 3, 2019

“To each his/her/their own articulation of the universal Don.”

Quichotte, by Salman Rushdie

You know that feeling when you’re reading a book and you just pause for a second and think, “Damn, this is some good writing”? That’s the closest description I can give to the time I spent reading Quichotte. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given Salman Rushdie’s well-deserved reputation as a masterful writer, but I feel like I need to reinforce it. This book is absurd and brilliant and hilarious and heartbreaking and so meta and I loved every minute of it.

Without giving too much away, let me sketch the plot for you. Sam DuChamp, author of mediocre spy fiction, decides to write one last book: something more literary, something that could make him look like a real, serious writer. Drawing inspiration from the classic Don Quixote, Sam crafts a tale of an old man who goes by the name Quichotte. With his wits addled from a lifetime watching too much TV, Quichotte decides he is in love with a famous actress and sets off across the country, accompanied by his imaginary son Sancho, to win her over. Meanwhile, DuChamp’s life is filled with drama of its own, and as time goes on, the line between fiction and reality begins to blur.

From plot to characters to linguistic brilliance, the novel excels on all fronts. Zany characters get themselves in way over their heads, managing to maintain distinct voices even as their fates become increasingly similar. The shift between third person for most characters and first person could come off as just “odd” but instead is oddly fitting. The pages are populated with witty quips like:

“To be a lawyer in a lawless time was like being a clown among the humorless: which was to say, either completely redundant or absolutely essential”

and pithy observations like:

“social media has no memory,”

and the storyline jumps back and forth between the pain and ridiculousness of our own world, and the equally painful and ridiculous world of a man on a futile quest for love.

This book isn’t for everyone, but it was definitely for me. What can I say? I love literary fiction, Indian literature, satire, and zany plotlines that simultaneously tackle major problems. Quichotte is all of that and so much more.

Rushdie has a penchant for verbosity, absurdity, playing tricks on the reader, absurdity, making more allusions than should probably be legal (works and characters referenced range from Doctor Who and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to Jessica Rabbit and Mario to Dante’s Inferno and the compositions of Beethoven), casually sniping about our current sociopolitical climate, absurdity, commentary on the immigrant experience, and taking the wildest of gags and simply running with them. Oh, and did I mention absurdity? It isn’t an easy read by any means; Rushdie makes you work for the payoff, juggling characters and storylines that seem increasingly random, only to have them all come together for a finale that is perfectly satisfying, if a little strange at first glance. It really is the most appropriate sort of ending for a book like this.

Dealing with topics including mental illness, racism, social media, “cancel” culture, political corruption, drug abuse, terminal illness, love, family, and the end of the world, the novel could have easily turned into a mishmash that lost sight of itself while trying to fit everything in. Instead, Rushdie’s deft hand manages to weave dozens of hot button issues into a bizarre but beautiful book that leaves you laughing all the way. This is pastiche elevated to a whole new level, and I am so glad I was able to read it.

In short, Quichotte is a brilliant, wild ride from start to finish. That’s really the most appropriate description for it. Be patient at the beginning, and don’t let the little details pass you by, but also don’t let them drag you down. Just fasten your seatbelt, prepare for some jarring terrain, and enjoy the journey.

Thank you to the publisher for providing an eARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.