January 5, 2015

Recent Reads

185. This is Where I Leave You
Tropper and Tolstoy agree on one thing: All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. 

In this story we meet the Foxman family in all their glorious dysfunction. The Dad has died after a long lingering illness, and the family is all back together. Sitting Shiva. Under one roof. For seven days. 

The author is a really talented writer, and the writing is often both funny and snarky, and while I enjoyed it overall, it felt more like the author was writing a movie script. A little too cliched, with great one-liners, but without any real deep exploration of the myriad issues faced by the characters. I get that the author might have been going for a comic touch, but the narrator got on my nerves after a while. I got a bit tired of all that BOY angst, jokes and one liners. And the way Judd thinks about and treats women? Maybe he should be alone until he grows up.

Still, this is a quick read that might be the perfect book for the holiday season while visiting family. It can be very therapeutic to be mired in someone else's dysfunctional family for a while, can it not? Rating: 3 stars.

186. Little Humans
I am a huge fan of the Humans of New York (HONY) blog, and loved the book of the same name. This one however is not what I expected. It is a very thin collection of photos of my fave segment on the blog - Today in Microfashion, but with such forgettable, pat, one line text per page. Why? Maybe this was a fundraiser for some project, and I missed it. Maybe it a book targeted for the very, very young. Anyways, color me disappointed. Skip this one, and check out his blog instead. Rating: 2 stars.

187. A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart
Book blurb: A Year of Mornings collects 236 images, always taken before 10 am without discussion between the two women, from this uniquely 21st-century artistic collaboration. 

I love the idea of this project. Two bloggers, one living in Portland, Maine, and the other in Portland, Oregon capture daily morning photos, pair them up, and post a diptych on their blog. It is a wonderful reminder to slow down and notice what we see in our ordinary daily routines. 

This is another blog to book venture, and while many of the photos are lovely, this probably worked better in blog format as opposed to this book. Most of the diptychs in the book are too small to really work in print, and I found myself squinting a lot while looking at the tiny photos. Rating: 2 stars.

188. Smile (Smile #1)
Middle school is tough enough without falling down and losing your two front teeth. In this coming of age graphic memoir, the author tells the story of that period in her life. In addition to all that dental drama, there are the typical things going on in her life - boy crushes, her changing body, transition to high school, and finding your tribe. This is a cute story targeted at young adult readers. Rating: 3 stars.

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