Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mini-reviews: First weeks of January

I'm declaring January the month of women - nearly all of my reads this month have been written by the ladies.  This was completely unplanned and glorious.  Looking forward to keeping it up...should 2015 be the year of women writers?!

Not getting carried away.  Let's do this: mini-reviews for the first weeks of January, with titles linked to goodreads.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson
My sister gave me this book for the holidays, and it's the first hardcover I've had in a long while, since I usually wait for things to come out in paperback.  I could not wait to read it.  I had enjoyed Gilead, and I think that's why I couldn't get enough of this book.  Robinson's writing is so poetic, almost lyrical, and it stuck with me the whole way through. As with The Lowland, the characters were written in a really intimate way.  I know that Home was written in between, but I had not read it before this one.  Has anyone read all three of the series in a row? What were your thoughts?

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
I had such a fun time with this one.  I wasn't expecting anything (well, maybe that Miss Marple would be more of the narrator, but other than that, not much) and could not figure out who did it.  This was my first Christie, and I loved her writing style, the easy dialogue, and the incredibly natural way her characters all interacted.  Thumbs up.  I will be reading more Marple this year.

A Mercy by Toni Morrison
If I had to describe how I felt about this book in a word, it would be: disjointed.  I wish there had been more passages where all of the characters interacted in some way with each other, rather than the format of a chapter for each person's perspective.  The characters were vibrant and engaging, but it seemed as if the book was too short for them to really develop.  For the passages that were written in Florens' and Sorrow's voice, I understood the point, but I found it very confusing (and it sort of made me want to put the book down, not delve deeper).  I've really enjoyed Morrison's other books, so this one was a little bit of a letdown for me.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Beautiful.  There was not a single time when I picked up this book that I was disappointed. (Say what?!) The characters each had their quirks and qualms and imperfections, and they felt fleshed out.  As in life with the people we love, I didn't fully know them, but I felt like I knew them from the inside-out.  Even the "unlikable" parts of each character didn't seem over the top or pushy; they felt natural.  I loved it.  My only tiny qualm? I might've wanted to hear a bit more from Udayan.

What have you been reading this month? Do you read more male or female authors?

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