This is How You Lose Her

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This is How You Lose Her

Author: Junot Diaz

Publisher: Riverhead Kindle Edition, 2012 (E-book)

Rating: 5OWLS

Thoughts:

The short stories in this book are about love in all its shapes and forms, both beautiful and ugly. In the first few sentences of the book the main character, Yunior, describes himself as being like “everyone else: weak, full of mistakes, but basically good.” Through the different characters, you see that life and love are complex. For Yunior, many of his decisions are shaped by his circumstances and the examples that those around him have set. This is my second time reading this book and it drew me in both times, I couldn’t put it down. I plan to read Drown soon (I know, I am reading them out of order). Also, follow Junot Diaz on social media if you don’t already!

Memorable Quotes:

“And for a while after we got back together everything was as fine as it could be. But only for a little while. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, my girl started turning into another girl. Who didn’t want to sleep over as much or scratch my back when I asked her to. Amazing what you notice. Like how she never used to ask me to call back when she was on the line with somebody else. I always had priority. Not anymore. But every time I tried I couldn’t pull it off. I was into her for real. I started working over time on her again, but nothing seemed to pan out. Every movie we went to, every night drive we took, every time she did sleep over seemed to confirm something negative about me. I felt like I was dying by degrees, but when I brought it up she told me that I was being paranoid.”

“You’d think, given the blood we see, that there’s a great war going on out in the world. Just the one inside of bodies, the new girl says.”

“The houses are in terrible conditions; they are homes for ghosts and for cockroaches and for us, los hispanos.”

“And that’s when I know it’s over. As soon as you start thinking about the beginning, it’s the end.”

“She’s sensitive, too. Takes to hurt the way water takes to paper.”

“Our relationship wasn’t the sun, the moon, the stars, but it wasn’t bullshit, either.”

 

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Fates and Furies

Fates and Furies Cover Image

Fates and Furies

Author: Lauren Groff

Publisher: Riverhead Books, 2015 (Hardcover, 390 pages)

Rating: 5owls

Thoughts:

This was the tale of a marriage between two very complex individuals, Lotto & Mathilde. I enjoyed the structure of the book very much; the first half of the book is told through Lotto’s point of view and the second half through Mathilde’s. Not all is what it seems in this relationship and Lauren Groff does a great job of of unveiling all the layers in the best way possible.

Memorable Quotes:

“Bumblefuck Pie, a hick to these boys from Boston and New York. Zitty, the childhood loveliness vanished, too tall, too skinny. A Southerner, inferior. His wealth, which had once singled him out, unremarkable among the wealthy.” p. 23

“Luxuriating in horror, he was. In the unhappiness of being broken. There was not not a kind of wallowing joy in this.” p. 103

“For many months up there he had looked down and considered how the lifespan of a sunflower reflected the lifespan of man: hopeful, beautiful, brightly shooting out of the ground; broad and strong, with a face turned full and dutiful toward the sun; head so heavy with ripe thoughts it bowed toward the ground, turned brown, lost its bright hair, grew weak on its stalk; mowed down for the long winter.” p. 128

“He would have liked to go deeper into her, to seat himself on the seat of her lacrimal bone and ride there, tiny homunculus like a rodeo cowboy, understand what it was she thought. Oh, but it would be redundant. Quiet daily intimacy had taught him. Paradox of marriage: you can never know someone entirely; you do know someone entirely.” p. 202

“Somehow, despite her politics and smarts, she had become a wife, and wives, as we all know, are invisible. The midnight elves of marriage. The house in the country, the apartment in the city, the taxes, the dog, all were her concern: he had no idea what she did with her time.” p. 244

“It occurred to her then that life was conical in shape, the past broadening beyond the sharp point of the lived moment. The more life you had, the more the base expanded, so that the wounds and treasons that were nearly imperceptible when they happened stretched like tiny dots on a balloon slowly blown up. A speck on the slender child grows in to a gross deformity in the adult, inescapable, ragged at the edges.” p. 354

Saga: Volume 1

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Saga: Volume 1

Author: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples (artist)

Publisher: Image Comics, 2012 (Paperback)

Rating: 5owls

Thoughts:

I know I’m new to the world of comics, but this one was fantastic! Sharp characters, great writing, awesome illustrations, it’s the total package for me. The world of Saga is being created beautifully and I already put the next volume on hold at my local library. Can’t wait to keep reading!

Memorable Quotes:

“Violence is stupid. Even as a last resort, it only ever begets more of the same.”

“Doesn’t matter if it’s personal or professional, a good partnership takes work.”

“If there’s an opposite of a honeymoon, it’s the week after a couple’s first child is born.”

“Trust me, this whole freakout is probably just hormonal. You only gave birth, what, a week ago? Your body’s still, like, a wasteland of chemical imbalance.”

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Author: Leslye Walton

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd, 2014 (Paperback, 301 pages)

Rating: 5OWLS

Thoughts: This beautiful story pulled at my heartstrings and made me imagine the impossible. The story unfolded magically and I enjoyed tasting a bit of each character’s perspective. Such a delicious read that I could not put down!

Memorable Quotes:

“Love, as most know, follows its own timeline. Disregarding our intentions or well rehearsed plans.” p. 21

“Fate. As a child, that word was often my only companion. It whispered to me from dark corners during lonely nights. It was the song of the birds in spring and the call of the wind through bare branches on a cold winter afternoon. Fate. Both my anguish and my solace. My escort and my cage.” p. 125

“I found it ironic that I should be blessed with wings and yet feel so constrained, so trapped. It was because of my condition, I believe, that I noticed life’s ironies a bit more often than the average person. I collected them: how love arrived when you least expected it, how someone who said he didn’t want to hurt you eventually would.” p. 173

“She’d never understood how some parents just lost it. Now she did; children betrayed parents by becoming their own people.” p. 230

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Publisher: Algonquin Books, 2014 (Hardcover, 258 pages)

Rating: 5owls

Thoughts:

This is one of the sweetest stories I have ever read. Kevin builds a quint island life with a lovely assortment of characters. The relationships that form throughout the story gave me life. I recommend this book if you are looking for something comforting and something to put a smile on your face.

Memorable Quotes:

“Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time.” p. 92

“A.J. walks over to the crime section. He looks across the spines, which are, for the most part, black and red with all capitalized fonts in silvers and whites. An occasional burst of fluorescence breaks up the monotony. A.J. thinks how similar everything in the crime genre looks. Why is any one book different from any other book? They are different A.J. decides, because they are. We have to look inside many. We have to believe. We agree to be disappointed sometimes so that we can be exhilarated every now and again.” p. 237

The words you can’t find, you borrow.
We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone.
My life is in these books,
he wants to tell her. Read these and know my heart.
We are not quite novels.

The analogy he is looking for is almost there.
We are not quite short stories. At this point, his life is seeming closest to that.
In the end, we are collected works.” p. 249

“We aren’t the things we collect, acquire, read. We are, for as long as we are here, only love. The things we loved. The people we loved. And these, I think these really do live on.” p. 251

The Color Purple

thecolorpurple5The Color Purple

Author: Alice Walker

Publisher: Open Road, 2011 (Ebook)

Rating: 4owls

Thoughts:

I loved the epistolary structure of the novel as it really helped me understand Celie’s perspective. Even though it was really hard to read what Celie and the other women in the novel went through, it was satisfying to experience their growth and the paths they chose to take. I could not put this book down because of the beautiful language.

Memorable Quotes:

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”

“…have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.”

“I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.”

 

Asking For It

Asking-for-it-Book-Cover-Louise-ONeill

Asking For It

Author: Louise O’Neill

Publisher: Quercus Publishing, 2015 (E-book)

Rating: 4owls

Thoughts: This was such a difficult and heartbreaking story to read, but I couldn’t put it down (I read most of it in one sitting). The writing portrays the complex emotions and actions of an 18 year-old who has been raped. She can’t grasp the idea and is left feeling separated from herself and those around her. The guilt she feels for complicating the lives of those around her is frustrating to read, but honest all the same.

Memorable Quotes:

“I live for bedtime. Some days it is all I can think about. That blissful moment when the sleeping tablets start to kick in, when I can feel my mind going loose, when there are no edges to hurt myself on and I can fall into my dreams. For that moment I can pretend that I’m dying, that I’m letting go of all this, slipping into the next world, whatever that might be.”

“I feel like I did when I was a very small child and I lost sight of my mother in a crowded shopping centre. I looked up at the lady next to me, putting my hand between her knees, but then I saw it wasn’t Mam, and panic began to pool in my throat. The seconds slowed down, everyone walking past me as if they were wasting through water, and I believed, at the moment, that I would never find my mother, that I would never see her ever again.”

“All I have now is a feeling of falling, like you do in a dream, where you are falling and falling and falling into a pit of nothingness, and you keep waiting to wake up before you hit the bottom, before your brain splats all over the concrete floor of your nightmare. But I don’t wake up. I’m falling, falling forever, always waiting for the ground to meet me.”