Emma

Thumbs up for Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion. Nonfiction.

My only excuse for not already having read Didion is that I don’t read many books of essays; and furthermore these essays are mostly about things I do not care about. That doesn’t matter. Her writing is so good it’s like the taste of water when you’re thirsty. Not many people can see truthfully or write beautifully; Didion does both.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Snotgirl Volume 1: Green Hair Don’t Care and Snotgirl Volume 2: California Screaming by Bryan Lee O’Malley, illustrated by Leslie Hung. Graphic novel.

Girl with bad allergies struggles to deal with mysterious goings-on and her awful friends, while still maintaining her public identity as a “perfect” L.A. fashion blogger. Very engaging! The simple but expressive art and wonderfully upbeat coloring further seal my excitement for the next volume.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell. Literature. Thumbs up for Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell. Literature.

Mrs. Bridge was one of the first works of Literature-with-a-capital-L I ever read, and it quietly blew my mind. I’ve read perhaps a thousand books since then—and it still does. The two books follow the marriage, in vignette form, of a deeply conventional upper-middle-class couple in Kansas City in the 1930’s and 1940’s.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory. Fantasy.

An utterly delightful family drama…about a family composed of con men and people with genuine paranormal abilities. I read it in one day, laughing all the way through, because my father was, in fact, a respected amateur paranormal researcher in the 1990’s, when this book takes place. But I’m confident you’ll find it funny even if you had a more mundane upbringing.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Circe by Madeline Miller. Fantasy.

I liked Miller’s first book The Song of Achilles enough that her new book, Circe, immediately went to the top of my read queue. In it, she lets Circe—a witch who was Odysseus’s lover in part of the Odyssey—tell her own story. A knowledge of Greek myths might add something, but I don’t think it’s necessary.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman. Literature.

An internal tale of first love–that sounds tedious, doesn’t it? Kudos to Aciman that he gets you into Elio’s head so quickly and absolutely that you can’t even protest: No, I don’t care about your cliched troubles, kid. Every emotion and turn of the heart is so precisely observed that the book makes its own complete, mesmerizing reality, essentially immune to criticism. … >> Read more

Thumbs up for Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. Horror.

I don’t read horror, generally, but I came across a copy of this with the coolest cover and…I’m shallow. Also, I am rather fond of the name “Rosemary” as it’s the name of one of my heroines. And maybe there’s something in the name, because I can fully believe that my Rosemary, if laid up during pregnancy, would also (as does R.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Why Be Catholic?: Understanding Our Experience and Tradition by Richard Rohr and Joseph Martos. Religion.

Read for character research. I don’t usually read research books cover to cover, and therefore don’t review them, but this one was slim. I don’t think the authors present a convincing case for answering the title question in the positive; they are too fair-minded and honest, never discussing an ideal without also talking about its failures of execution.… >> Read more