Author: katehomlish

Salt to the Sea: Devoured

I love World War II fiction. Quite frankly, I enjoy reading about World War II regardless of whether it is fact or fiction. The fact of the matter is, even novels and other works of fiction about World War II contain so many elements of truth that it feels incredibly real. Of course, I sometimes find it difficult to admit that I enjoy this type of literature, because what does that say about me? That I like reading about such an atrocious time in our world’s history. But if we never read about it, we don’t think about it. And if we don’t think about it, we are doing a disservice to everyone who was affected by it. Now that you know that little fact about me. I’ll get right to it. I loved Salt to the Sea. I knew nothing of the Wilhelm Gustloff before reading this book except that it was a German ship that sunk toward the end of the war. So this book served as something of an education for me, …

Just What I Needed

If you’re reading my review, I’m going to assume you’ve read Katie C.’s review. I will admit here that I am the one who suggested this book for The Bookly Club, and I was SO NERVOUS to read it because I knew not everyone was so excited to do so. What if it was terrible or disgusting?  Or what if it just made you really dislike Amy? That has happened to me before. I won’t say who, but there is a person I adore(d) whose book I read and it just made me not like them. I was petrified this would happen again and everyone would blame me for making them read an awful book about someone who turned out to be an awful person. I was thrilled when Katie C. like the book. Because I liked the book, loved it even. When I would chuckle or straight up laugh while looking at my Kindle, my husband would say “Amy Schumer’s book?” And I would snort out a “yes,” and proceed to read him whatever …

Questions, Questions, and More Questions

I finished Annihilation yesterday. Before I started (the day before yesterday), I told my husband, “I think you would like this book.” So when I finished, he asked if I thought he would like it. I responded, “ummm….” and he responded, “WOW! That’s a glowing recommendation.” But here’s the thing, I really liked this book. I couldn’t immediately recommend it to him because I have no standard of comparison. It’s very different from any book I know that he really likes. It reminded me of a book I read a long time ago, but I honestly can’t remember what book it was (mom brain). The way I found to describe it to him was it’s like if Jurassic Park was not about dinosaurs, but just about some unknown creepy stuff. Descriptive, I know. I loved that the narrative was told through the biologist’s journal. I love that at the end you’re sort of free to decide where the rest of her story goes (and, spoiler alert, the second book in the series does not pick up with her …

Eligible: An Updated Pride & Prejudice

As an all-around Jane Austen fan, I have read Pride & Prejudice more times than I can count. So as much as I would happily read it again, I thought this would be a good opportunity to expand my horizons, though admittedly not very far, and read Eligible. If you’re not familiar with the Austen Project, it is a Jane Austen update – pairing  six bestselling contemporary authors with one of Austen’s complete works to retell/rewrite/reboot it for the modern age. Curtis Sittenfeld, who also happens to be one of my favorite authors (Prep and American Wife are particular favorites though you really can’t go wrong!), was tasked with retooling Pride & Prejudice. I DEVOURED this book (confession: I read the book in less than three days at the end of January and wrote this immediately afterward, so hello from the past!). It was, in my opinion, the perfect reimagining of Pride & Prejudice. It stayed true to the plot and the characters, but with appropriate updates for 2017. She perfectly married the language of P&P with contemporary language, creating a sort …

The Quick and the Dead

I will be honest – I was not looking forward to reading this book, but I have been on an unintentional hiatus and I just didn’t want it to last any longer. So here I was, holding my Kindle, Stiff on the screen, simply dreading reading a book about dead bodies when I so recently had to confront the reality of death in my life. That being said, here’s the good side. Roach’s writing is engaging, the topic is (admittedly) interesting, and I even found myself chuckling more than just a bit – she seems to have a delightfully dry, witty sense of humor and it comes across clearly in her writing. I truly do understand the value in using human cadavers to study most of the things Roach wrote about, and it really is fascinating what important information and learning can come from the science of the dead. Also, it was a fast read – just what I needed to break the hiatus. And here’s the bad side. Not really bad, I suppose. More like… …

Crying and Smiling at the Same Time

My journey with The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a long one. I first read the book when I was in high school, not long after it was released in 1999.I read it for the second time immediately after I finished the first reading. I remember as a teenager thinking that this book perfectly captured some of the struggles of high school. Even though Charlie and I had very little in common in terms of our experiences, I remember understanding his feelings of “outsiderness” and confusion. My next foray into Perks was in 2012 when the movie was released. I hadn’t read the book in over 12 years, and though I still counted it as one of my favorites, I had forgotten some of the details and so of course found myself a sobbing mess in the theater. Now here I am, having completed my most recent reading of Chbosky’s first novel, and I am feeling all the same things I felt 16 years ago, plus even more. Reading it this time around, I found myself, as Bill …

Great, Just Not for Me…

I’m sure the title of this post made you say “WHAT?!” And I don’t blame you. Let me start by saying I’m the wrong person to review this book. Why? I’m not a short story person. I enjoy the occasional short horror story and I have a slightly higher tolerance for personal essays or memoir-based short stories a la David Sedaris. But fictional short stories are just not my jam, and they honestly never have been. Generally, when I see those words on the cover of a book, the book goes back on the shelf. I give you this information so you understand my biases before you read any further. Let me start with the positive. This is a smart read. I was consistently and repeatedly impressed with how intelligently written all of B.J. Novak’s stories were. They are all based in that intellectual, thought-provoking humor that manages to still be just a little silly and a little absurd. I really enjoyed it. It’s also an incredibly fast read. I have a Kindle, and after …

Mending a Broken Heart

This book broke my heart over and over again. My heart broke for Eleanor, for Park, for Eleanor and Park. I was completely shattered. I was preparing myself to be totally destroyed by the ending, and then… and then came the last line of the book and I was lifted. I know Rowell was purposely vague and I am sure there are those who did not read the ending as positively as I did. But I am the eternal optimist, I’m hopeful, and I’m always searching for happy endings. So I am choosing to believe that those three words on the postcard were “I love you,” because if they weren’t, I would just simply be crushed. I know other Bookly Clubbers disagree, but I adored this book. I felt so strongly for, related to, and identified with both Eleanor and Park on so many levels that I couldn’t help but love the story. I remember being a teenager, and even a young adult to a certain extent, and wondering how it was that so-and-so felt the way they did. I also remember, like Park, feeling simultaneously protective of …

Logic, Meet Eating

One thing I appreciate more than possibly anything else is logic. This may sound obvious, but I just simply enjoy a well-reasoned and thought out argument. To that point that I have been known to change my mind multiple times about an issue (sometimes in the span of one discussion) simply because of logical, articulate points. That said, it should come as no surprise that I loved Pollan’s book. Full disclosure: I started reading In Defense of Food almost two years ago, loved it, got distracted by a few fiction reads, and, since I felt like I had pretty much grasped the concept of the book, never returned. Until now. I reread and continued reading and found myself just as impressed as the first time. It is such a good reminder of the fact that SO MUCH of what we as Americans are ingesting is not even food. Pollan points this out throughout the book and it’s worth repeating: we are not eating food. We are eating food product. I was about to make a …

Underwhelmed

When I read Katie C.’s review last week, I immediately texted the other Bookly Clubbers and said “uh oh, my review is going to look a lot like yours!” I started Tell the Wolves I’m Home on November 10. I didn’t finish until yesterday, which for me is a very long read. Usually, I pick up a book and in a few sittings over the course of 3-4 days, I’m done. I just couldn’t get into this one. Don’t get me wrong, Brunt’s style is enjoyable, the characters were well-developed, and the idea of the book, the story, was touching and I should have love it. However, I didn’t. I wanted to be on June’s side, but I couldn’t relate to her – even when I put myself back in my 14-year-old shoes, I didn’t feel a connection to her. Her relationship with Greta was fascinating, but Greta herself made me so angry. I think if I had understood Greta’s point of view better, if she had narrated for a bit or we got to “read her …