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Showing posts from May, 2016

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

This book is off putting when you initially see it - once because of the sheer size of it.  It is close to 750 pages in the hardback  (720 to be exact) and the cover is of a young man with an expression that is seemingly a combination of pleasure and pain. This is a book about friendship but not amongst women - it seems that everyone writes a book about friendship between the female gender doesn't it? - but about the friendship between a group of four friends that meet in college and whose relationships span the period of about 30 years in the novel. There's the actor Willem, the artist JB, the architect Malcolm and the attorney, Jude (who we learn is addicted to cutting himself). The center of the story is Jude. The pages that follow shows how each of these men rise and fall and lose their centers and bearings, sometimes painfully.

TRIGGER WARNINGS are a must for this book. Jude's story, which is the center of this novel, is so painful and contains so many triggers that …

Missoula by Jon Krakauer

You may recognize the author's name - Krakauer is perhaps most famous for the book Into the Wild about a young man that goes to Alaska (and which was made into a movie).  I enjoyed that book and when I heard on a podcast that I listen to that Krakuer had written a new book, I decided to get it and read it.  In this book, which is non fiction - he focuses on the University of Montana, the local police department and at the local prosecutor's office and analyzes their job performances through the eyes of five young women who were sexually assaulted. During this same period, the Department of Justice investigated how those same parties handled 80 rape cases and that investigation yielded dismaying results. In one instance, a detective re assured a male suspect during an interrogation that she didn't believe he committed a rape (despite evidence to the contrary) because they got a lot of false accusations. Similarly, the Chief of Police (!!!) sent an article to a victim citin…

The Passage by Justin Cronin

OK, I know that everyone is like "PUH-lease, more vampires? Are you serious? Totally overhyped." I swear this isn't vampires that were spawned from 50 Shades of Gray Fanfic and aren't sparkly in the sun.  Or are 500 year old stalker pedophile types. This novel is the first in a trilogy written by a literature professor at Rice University and I swear I couldn't sleep at night because of it. This is a dystopian, science fiction thriller at heart and is set a few years in the near future. The war on terror is mounting and is on American territory, with attacks at shopping malls and schools in addition to the typical military targets. As a result, a secret government project is spawned (no pun intended) in which 12 death row inmates are infected with a virus that was procured from Bolivian bats in the hopes of creating a new super-soldier. It isn't a far cry to realizing that things start to go wrong and then a virus, Walking Dead style, has spread throughout th…

BellZhar by Meg Wolizter

Meg Wolitzer is known for her adult novels - many of which I've read and enjoyed - so I wanted to try this novel, a Young Adult novel. It also is a play on words and references The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, which I LOVED reading and is one of the books that I often read over and over and over again. The majority of this novel takes place at a boarding school in Vermont where emotionally fragile and highly intelligent teens go. The narrator, Jam Gallahue, is a student that "was sent [there] because of a boy" - it's a boy named Reeve that we see throughout the novel, often with Jam. One of the classes that Jam is registered for is a highly selective English class called "Special Topics in English" (there are only 6 students total in the class). Each student receives a beautiful, old, red leather journal that they are told they must write in as part of the class. While writing in the journals, the students start having extraordinary experiences.  The novel fo…