niennie

twenty-something. girly girl. teacher. puppy-enthusiast.


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I read aloud an hour of Story Sisters to my cat and cried while doing it

11 – Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

A single mother is distraught when her only child commits suicide by jumping off the roof of her school.  Until she gets an anonymous message that she didn’t jump…

A very sad but captivating story.  At times there were parts of the school setting/protocol/administrative decisions made that I just didn’t believe could ever be true… but I was easily wrapped up in this story.

12 – The Bucolic Plauge by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

A true story of two NYC men decide to purchase a mansion in the country and become weekend farmers.

I loved this book.  At first I was reluctant to read it, thinking it was going to be kind of meh… It was a recommendation from my boyfriend’s mother.  But I was not disappointed.  One of the more interesting parts, surprisingly enough, was when Josh was recounting the harsh times faced when the economy tanked in the early 2000’s.  I guess I forgot just how bad it was… it depressed me.  I was so glad for the happy ending.

13 – The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

A magical realist story about a boy who gains incredibly acute hearing capabilities but loses the ability to use his voice.  Bonaventure’s father was murdered before he was born, but the ghost of his father comes to visit and through Bonaventure helps to accomplish his unfinished business.

At times I felt like the story was somewhat oddly written… Not disjointed, but just awkward?  I’m not really sure.  Regardless, I did love the story.  The characters were so interesting, the end was so satisfying (and shocking).  It was just a really excellent story.  Even through the awkwardly written parts.

14 – The Uncanny Valley by Gregory Miller

A compilation of stories about Uncanny Valley, PA, supposedly collected through a radio contest created by NPR.  The prologue states that the 33 entries from this one particular town came in with only the postmark “Uncanny Valley, PA) on them.  Perhaps it was an elaborate hoax, the author states.

I read the stories and I’m not sure what to think.  The prologue had me so intrigued and I couldn’t wait to read the entries.  As I read them I realized this whole thing was completely made up – based on both the content of the stories and the way they were written (the ones supposedly submitted by children: yeah, no.  Kids don’t write like that…).  The stories were short and eerie, but not really scary.  I read this book in a couple of hours, so it was a fast read.  But I don’t know that I would particularly recommend it.

15 – The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

I don’t know how to describe this book because it was so complex, but I really, thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is definitely a tragedy, and perhaps I’m just overly emotional at the moment, but I cried at many points throughout the book.  It was truly heartbreaking at times, surprising at others, and romantic in a very different way than you would expect.  Pete was probably my favorite character, and Mimi is the human form of Kevin Henkes’s Lilly.

Just read that book and you’ll understand what I mean…


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Dystopia and butterflies

9. The Island by Jen Minkman

A dystopian novella about an island where parents send their children away from the village at age 10, not to return until they’ve “grown up” and found a spouse.  No one ever leaves or comes to the island.

On the other half of the island, there is another village of people who believe there is something beyond the water. They are called the Fools by the first group.

I enjoyed this story a lot, although I wish it had been fleshed out more and made into a full novel. The idea is really intriguing.  It just went so fast, and I didn’t want to read sequels… I just wanted more out of the book.

10. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Quite the opposite of the last. Simply put, a group of monarchs winter on a farm in rural Tennessee, setting off a series of events that change the lives of many in the town.

This is the first Kingsolver book I’ve read and all I can say is her writing is dense! The story was excellent. It took me a minute to get into it, but once I did I got really swept up in the story.

Usually I am a fan of truthful, believable endings over happy ones, but I was slightly disappointed by Dellarobia’s decision in the end. It makes perfect sense, of course, but somehow deep down I wished she would’ve found a way to love and accept her husband for the man he was.

I finished this one last night, so technically I read 9 1/2 books in January. Off to a good start!