The Dinner List- A List & A Review

I found The Dinner List, by Rebecca Serle, on the Book of the Month Club. It was one of the picks for August, so I thought, “Why not?”

It’s something we’ve all done; picked 5 people (living or dead) we’d like to have dinner with. I expected a light, fluffy, read, especially when I saw that one of the dinner guests was Audrey Hepburn.

What I got was a book that was an easy read, but had some surprising depth, exploring how complex relationships can be. The diners were Sabrina (the birthday girl), her estranged father, her best friend (who’s been growing away from her), her estranged boyfriend, and a college professor. Oh, and Audrey Hepburn.

This book doesn’t offer up solutions to thorny relationship issues, but it is an exploration of the way we sometimes sabotage the very thing we want, and how two people can feel wronged in a relationship and both be right. It also explored the grief we feel over the loss of loved ones, and the loss we sometimes feel even when they’re technically still there.

Despite all that, it’s charming and funny at times. I finished it knowing I’d recommend it to others.

I haven’t done this in ages, so I thought now would be a great time to make a new list. I’m not including anyone from my day to day life on this list because… well… I can go to dinner with them whenever I want!

The five real people I’d love to have dinner with:

  1. My grandma (gone since 1993)
  2. My grandpa (gone since 2006)
  3. Bryn Greenwood (an amazing author)
  4. Drew Barrymore (I’m a fan!)
  5. Paul McCartney (only the best musician ever)

Who’d be on your list of 5 people?

Book Challenges- Week 12

This was another slow reading week for me. I was in Arizona, visiting family, and that makes it difficult for me to get anything read. Plus, I drive the 14 hours back and forth, which means the only reading I get done during the two days’ drive is on audiobook.

Popsugar Challenge

(11/50) No progress this week

While I Was Reading Challenge

(4/12) No progress this week

The Unread Shelf

Running Total: 3 No progress this week

5 Classic Books

(0/5) No progress

Miscellaneous Reading

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How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran (YA contemporary): I both liked this book and didn’t. It’s sort of like a rock and roll memoir from a teenage writer’s perspective. There’s a lot of sex and drugs in it, which wasn’t really my thing. I love that it’s sex-positive. I loved the awkwardness of the main character. And I loved that she reinvents herself throughout the book, trying one thing, then another when that doesn’t work. The message is ultimately a great one and one that teenage girls need to hear. Even if I didn’t love all the details of the book, I liked it enough overall that I’d recommend it to some people, though it’s definitely not for everyone. (Though really, what book is?)

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All The Ugly and Wonderful Things, by Bryn Greenwood (narrated by Jorjeana Marie): Friends of mine who love audiobooks talk about what a different experience it is to listen to the book instead of reading it, so I decided to give it a go with this one. It’s no secret that this is one of my all-time favorite books. I had a long and boring drive, so I decided to give it a try. I loved it! Listening to it reminded me of all the reasons I love this book, but I also picked up on things I had missed in previous readings. The narrator was great, and this experience has inspired me to try rereading other favorites of mine on audio.

Abandoned

None this week.

2018 Running Total: 31

 

Have you made any progress on your TBR or book challenges?

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things Released in Paperback Today!

Version 2With Banned Books Week taking place last week, it feels like perfect timing to have the paperback version of All The Ugly and Wonderful Things released today.

There aren’t many books I own in both paperback and hardback, but this is one of them.

I adore this book. It’s a book that presents a polarizing topic in a way I hadn’t thought of before. I love books that make me see reality in a new and different way. I don’t necessarily have to agree with the point of view; it just needs to be well thought out and show me something different.

As I said last week, literary fiction “analyzes the nature of reality.” I don’t always love literary fiction because it’s hard to tell an entertaining story with vibrant characters and still analyze reality.

But this book does that. It’s told in multiple points of view; I’m not even sure how many there are. But the point of the multiple points of view is to show different perspectives about what’s happening during the story.

What’s most interesting to me in this book is the things that are implied but left unsaid.

I know I’m being deliberately vague about what the book’s about, but I think that for anyone who hadn’t read it, it’s an experience best left to unfold. Because while I could tell you what the book is about, what it’s about on the surface isn’t really what the book is about.

If you’ve heard about it and have been putting off reading it, this week is a great time to start! Grab your paperback copy today!

And if you end up being a superfan like me, if you subscribe to her newsletter, Bryn Greenwood has released all the “deleted scenes” from the book. I’m hoping that one day she releases a book with all of them back in there, where they belong.

 

K is for Kellen

Hello, and welcome to Blogging A to Z 2017! Thanks for stopping by. Fellow A to Z-ers, please make sure to leave a link to your blog in the comments.

My theme this month is 26 of the Best Characters in Fiction.

Version 2All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, by Bryn Greenwood, is in my Top 5 list of all time favorite books. It was amazing. I started it in the evening and ended up staying up until 2:30 a.m. to finish it. Then I started re-reading it the next day. Then I passed it around to my book club, and when I got it back, I read it again.

That being said, this book isn’t for everyone. It’s polarizing, either earning 1 star or 5 stars on Goodreads. It’s not the writing that’s the problem; it’s the subject matter.

If you’re sensitive to certain topics, and interested in reading the book, read the reviews, and they’ll tell you what it’s about. If you want an amazing experience, just read the book.

Wavy is the main character of this book, and the story starts when she’s 5. Her parents are drug addicts, and the story is told from multiple points of view. People see all kinds of different things when they see Wavy, but mostly they see a problem child who refuses to eat but then steals food out of the trash, and doesn’t speak.

No one really loves Wavy. One night, when she’s 8, Kellen, who works for her father, wipes out on his motorcycle right in front of her. She gets him help. From that first encounter, they take care of one another.

When Kellen heals from his accident, he goes back looking for her. He cleans up her house while her mother sleeps. He makes sure she gets to school. And he communicates with her without making her speak. He’s the first person who really sees her.

Yet Kellen has flaws. He’s not much more than a boy himself. He runs drugs for Wavy’s father, and gets into bar fights. He’s known for his brutal temper.

If you’ve been following along with me, you’ll know I love flawed characters. The reason I love them is that they’re real people, and they make me think. I love books with moral dilemmas and no easy answers. Life is shades of gray, and there’s very little that’s black and white. I love books that can make me see the world through new eyes. That doesn’t mean that I always change my mind about a topic, but I believe that in order to have a fully formed opinion, I have to know as much about a topic as I can.

This book definitely made me see the world a little differently.

Do you have any books that made you see the world differently or question assumptions you held?