Working at a publishing company means it’s never hard to get book recommendations, and one of the books that has been passed from cubicle to cubicle lately is The Handmaid’s Tale. I had never read anything by Margaret Atwood, but always wanted to, so I was excited when a coworker lent me a copy. Little did I know what I had been missing.
As I’ve mentioned several times before, my favorite books are ones that take me out of my own world while teaching me something about it. I love learning through defamiliarization because it challenges the assumption of normality in our everyday lives. It gives a different perspective on things we have become accustomed to experiencing every day—so much so that we don’t even notice them anymore. But authors like Margaret Atwood make us notice.
Before Cassandra Clare’s City of Glass, there was Paul Auster’s. The first short installment of The New York Trilogy, City of Glass is both a mystery and an anti-mystery. The main character of the novel cranks out mystery novels like James Patterson, but admits that most such novels are poorly written and don’t involve the kind of higher thinking required with “literature.” They’re purely pleasure reading.
But City of Glass is both literature and mystery novel. As with all Auster novels, it is about more than its plot. Sure, there is a man named Stillman who locked his son in a dark room for most of his childhood and is now being released from prison. And yes, the main character, Quinn, is hired to follow Stillman in order to protect his horribly damaged son from harm. But these elements soon just become technicalities of the story instead of its meat.
The cover of Every Day has caught my eye every time I go to the bookstore, and I finally found the time to give it a read. The only other book by David Levithan I had read was Will Grayson, Will Grayson (a collaboration with John Green), which I loved. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about this book. The premise of the story is very original, but it failed to live up to my expectations.
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I am one of those people who has to read the book before the movie comes out, especially if it’s a fiction book. Everyone has been making a big deal about Divergent, and I knew I would want to see the movie, so I got my hands on a library copy of the book. And I absolutely devoured it. Maybe there is a part of me that has been pining for a dystopian YA novel since reading The Hunger Games, but I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed Divergent. I am always searching for books that are all-consuming and make you think of nothing else in the world except what is happening in that book. Divergent, while not perfect, is one of those books.
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Warning: there are a few small spoilers in this review.
If you had the chance to redo your life, what would you change? Is there a specific moment that altered the course of your life, for better or worse? In Life After Life, Kate Atkinson explores these questions through the character of Ursula Todd, an Englishwoman living outside of London during the early 20th century.
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I don’t usually read self-help type books, but I was recently given a copy of The Servant and decided to give it a go. The book, written by public speaker and labor relations consultant James C. Hunter, was published in the 90s and has sold over 3 million copies. It follows the journey of businessman John Daily, who tries to fix his failing company and relationships by going on a weeklong retreat at a monastery. Through his time at the retreat, he learns how to be a better leader in all aspects of his life.