All posts filed under: Katharine S.

A [Thrilling] Ride Through the Rockies

Most of the time when I pick up a suspense novel I expect writing that’s okay, but nothing too notable–which never bothers me, as long as I’m entertained. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Tim Johnston’s way with words. He does a phenomenal job of depicting each personality, describing the environment, drawing out the tensions–allowing you to really absorb yourself in the story , despite the fact that it’s not your typical edge-of-your-seat thriller. While the story starts in a dramatic fashion, the majority of the novel is a very slow burn, setting up the characters–and I consider the Rocky Mountains to be one of them–in a way that makes you in no hurry to get to the end. In fact, the way in which Johnston incorporates the book’s setting is something at which he’s particularly skilled. There are still some things I’m working through–Caitlin’s mother, recurring themes that I don’t know what to make of, Sean and his role in the family–all signs that this is a book I won’t …

Nothing in Life is a Rehearsal

It didn’t take me long to love this book. The first 50 pages were a bit slow, but once I got to know the characters and the story line started coming together, I was hooked. Avis, Bashkim, and Luis are the center of this tale. Three people who don’t know each other when this story begins, but whose lives become intimately entwined by the end. The book opens with Avis, stark naked while discovering her husband’s been cheating. And while that’s by far the most awkward moment of this story, all three characters have many moments of vulnerability, forced to come to terms with the parts of life that leave us gasping for air. I did guess the ending, but this wasn’t the type of book where a big plot twist is the whole reason for reading. We Are Called to Rise is about the characters–their losses, but more importantly, their triumphs. If you didn’t read along with us this month, be sure to add this one to your TBR pile. And have a tissue …

Revisiting an Old Favorite

I read Perks a long time ago, sometime during my middle school years, and while I remember liking it, that’s about the only memory I have. When we chose it for our May/June read I was eager to re-read it but anxious that it wouldn’t hold up to all the “I loved that book!” comments we received. Thankfully, it did. Admittedly, it took me a bit to get back into it, but once I fell back in love with the characters I was hooked. Via letters to an anonymous friend, Charlie navigates becoming a teenager–something we all can relate to. Shy and quiet, he’s not the most popular kid in school but he soon finds a group of friends that welcome him and make him feel at home. A shy and quiet teenager myself, I was surprised Charlie and his friends didn’t have more of an impact on me when I read it in middle school. While I wasn’t quite as rebellious as he was when it came to drinking and smoking, I struggled to …

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

Quick, Quirky, and Quiet

As someone who didn’t watch “The Office” (I know, shame on me), I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, I just wanted it to be funny. And it was! I found myself chuckling out loud a couple of times, causing my husband to inquire about what I was reading (and then adding it to his own TBR pile). Full of humor and insight on the absurdity of life, these stories vary in length and subject. Most are relatively short, making this a super quick read that I was able to finish in under 24 hours. A couple of my favorite stories: when an elderly man makes it to heaven and can’t wait to reunite with his grandmother… and her reaction isn’t what he expects; when a Frosted Flakes-prize winner sets out to claim his winnings only to uncover a big secret; and a man who wears a red t-shirt every day in hopes of finding female companions. A collection of stories that find humor in both the ordinary and the extreme, they also quietly …

A Spotlight on Betrayal

I’m fessing up: I didn’t read Betrayal. Mainly because I saw “Spotlight” and was afraid reading the book would be redundant. As it turns out, after talking with some of the other Bookly Clubbers, I might need to keep it on my TBR list. But in lieu of a book review, I’m here to give you my thoughts on the movie, which I was thrilled to see win Best Picture at the Oscars this year. Saying I enjoyed this movie sounds a bit strange since it’s such a disturbing story, but you know what I mean. So let’s get to what I liked/didn’t like, bullet point style. As much as I LOVE Rachel McAdams (and I really really like her), I thought her performance was a bit meh. She has a tendency to play characters that don’t seem to push her far beyond just playing Rachel McAdams. But still, I’ll see [almost] any move with her in it. (Note: DO NOT see “Aloha.”) Mark Ruffalo was GREAT. I thought he played the character well, and made Michael’s neuroses …

All the Feels

Confession: I read this book months ago. While details of the story might be fuzzy, how I felt about it isn’t. I devoured this book, so consumed by the relationship of Eleanor and Park that I stayed up into the wee hours, finishing it in a couple of days. I recommended it to anyone who hadn’t already been charmed by the quirky characters and the innocence of first love. This is why I love books; how it resonates – or doesn’t – with the reader varies from person to person. It’s dependent on their life experiences, who they are, what they believe, what makes them feel. For Katie C., this book didn’t resonate, a totally legitimate reaction. But for me, it took hold within the first few pages. I was what some might call a late bloomer. I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 16, my first boyfriend until 17. This kind of young love that bonded Eleanor and Park is something I’m unfamiliar with. And that might be the reason it fascinated …

Shopping the Periphery

Truth time: This book wasn’t as compelling as I expected it to be. I bought it years ago, and because of my habit of buying books (much) faster than I can read them, it sat on my shelf until just a couple weeks ago. I bought it not long after it was first published, when this idea – that how we were being told to eat might not be the best way to eat – first became popular. We clearly still have a long way to go in terms of changing the accessibility and affordability of whole foods in our society. But I like to think that at least a little bit of what Pollan talked about in In Defense of Food has taken hold. Organic fruits and vegetables are a tiny bit more readily available; farmers’ markets have risen in popularity; trans fats have disappeared; more and more discussions are being had about sugar and good fats and whole grains. Some progress has been made. What I found most fascinating, if not a little …

The Bookly Bulletin: Thanksgiving Edition

It’s Friday! So I thought I’d share another Bookly Bulletin (I know, finally!) full of reading- and book-related tidbits for you to enjoy over the long (and delicious) holiday. New here? Take a look at the other Bookly Bulletins. And without further ado… In honor of Thanksgiving, check out 14 novels that inspire 14 gobbles over on one of my new favorite #booknerd sites, Read It Forward. If you’re like me and buy books faster than you can read them, then you probably want to know just how long it will take you to read all those unread books on your shelf. Thanks to another gem from Read It Forward, the TBR (“to be read”) calculator does just that! Memoir is one of my favorite genres. One of the masters, Mary Karr, has a new book out called The Art of Memoir. My dad – a fellow book lover and book hoarder – sent me The New York Times’ review and while it’s not the most favorable, it’s a worth a read. (And I still might …

Feminism: Should We Be Over It?

“My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, ‘Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better.’ All of us, women and men, must do better.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I went into this book with high expectations (maybe I should start lowering them a bit…). I’ve been on intrigued by the topic of feminism recently – I’m currently in the middle of Bad Feminist and have recently started listening to the “Call Your Girlfriend” podcast – so I was eager to see what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie had to add to the conversation. And while I realize it’s hard to fit much of anything into a mere 52 pages, it left me feeling a bit empty. Because this only brushes the surface of the discussion. After reading the other Katherine/Kathryn/Kathryn reviews, I realized I was in the minority with my feelings on feminism today. I agree that in many ways this subject is tired. Put it to bed already! Right? But unfortunately …

Eager for the End

After reading (and loving) Ready Player One I was excited to give Ender’s Game a try. I’d heard from many trusted fellow book nerds what a great book it was but had shied away because I thought it wasn’t “my kind of book.” I should have trusted my gut. This book tested my patience as I struggled through the first third, finding nothing that captured me or held my interest. After setting it down for a few days (instead I read Wonder, which I would highly recommend, and The Good Girl), I picked it back up, determined to chug through. Plus, I was told the ending would change my mind. Eager to get to said ending, I admittedly skimmed a large part of the middle half. So as not to give anything away, all I’ll say about the ending is I appreciated what they were trying to do. And I certainly enjoyed the last quarter of the book much more than the rest, I just wish I didn’t have to slog through the other three-quarters just to …