Book List 60-80

by evanrosefowler

I’ve underlined the books that I think you should DEFINITELY READ. I’ve put an asterisk by the ones I wouldn’t spend time on. The rest are somewhere in-between. If you have an e-reader, can I suggest jumping on your FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY’s e-books? I’ve been able to read a lot of current books on my kindle lately thanks to the support of the American taxpayer and our great public library system.

  • The Wind-up Bird Chronicle,**** Haruki Mrakami
    • I heard a lot of wonderful things about this book, but honestly I was bored for most of it. It was too timid, and there wasn’t enough action for me. It was an interesting look into Japan, however.
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison
    • Wonderfully written and thought-provoking. Magical and scary. Read it.
  • All the Light we Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
    • Full of sensory details that will make you feel like you are fully participating in the book. I’ve never read something about a blind character that was so well written.
  • Ordinary Light, Tracy Smith
    • I didn’t really see what was spectacular about this book. It has gained a lot of attention and accolades, but to me it read like a kind of boring account of growing up—no earth-shattering insights.
  • Neuromancer, William Gibson
    • I liked this book because it really let you build your own world in your head, not giving too many details. While at times this could also be a bit annoying, I like books that give you a structure and let you fill in the rest.
  • The Peach Keeper, Sarah Addison Allen
    • Easy, cheesy read. If you’re looking for something quick and fun, go for it, but it isn’t anything special.
  • Gulag, Anne Applebaum
    • Explores the system of concentration camps that I think most of us know very little about. A depressing book, but I think an important one.
  • Refund, Karen Bender
    • A fairly non-memorable collection of short stories, although there were a couple of characters that made an impression. Overall, I’d say it isn’t a waste of time, but also not a priority.
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
    • There has been a lot of chatter around this book, and I understand why. The book concisely lays out a plan for tidying that will (supposedly) last forever because the upkeep will be intuitive. Basically you just have to get rid of all of the possessions that you don’t feel “that connection” with. Sounds easier said than done, but you feel empowered at the end of the book.
  • A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara
    • A beautiful, sad book about friendships and resilience and breaking and being picked up again. I can’t recommend it enough.
  • Hustling is not Stealing, John Chernoff
    • Extremely interesting true story of a Ghanaian bar girl (she is effectively a high-class escort/prostitute.) Because there are bar girls (high class and not) all over Benin, it was an extremely interesting book. It is written in her words and dialect so that takes a little bit of time to get used to. Highly suggested.
  • Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots,**** Jessica Soffer
    • This was a highly-dramatic young adult novel that I didn’t realize was a young adult novel when I started reading it. Perhaps I came in with the wrong attitude, but I needed it to be a little more subtle to really enjoy it.
  • The Tsar of Love and Techno, Anthony Marra
    • A delightful collection of short stories set in Russia. Quirky and fun, I highly suggest this book. Ties into the previously mentioned book, Gulag.
  • Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff
    • Perhaps if I had been married I would have liked this book more. It examines a marriage in exquisite detail, but I didn’t love it. I got frustrated by the characters at points. That said, this is a well-written book overall.
  • Dream Land, Sam Quinones
    • Extremely interesting look at the opiate epidemic in America. Sam Quinones has laid out the history of opiates in America and how several factors came together to form the explosion of heroin and pain pill use that we have seen in the recent past. I highly suggest reading this book because almost everyone has known someone who has been hooked on opiates.
  • The Turner House, Angela Flourno
    • A very good book about family and home. With just a touch of the metaphysical woven into the story, and a deep look at Detroit after the housing bust, I think you’ll find this a beautiful, poignant read.
  • A Strangeness in My Mind, Orhan Pamuk
    • Sometimes I know a book is good, but I just don’t enjoy it that much. This is one of those books. I liked that it was set in Turkey and that it talked a lot about street vendors (because there are so many street vendors here in Benin.) I think a chunk of pages could have been cut to make the story move a little bit faster.
  • The People in Trees, Hanya Yanagihara
    • This was a little bit of a letdown because I read this after I read A Little Life by the same author. This was not a bad book, but it didn’t hold a candle to A Little Life.
  • Spoiled Brats, **** Simon Rich
    • The author in this book sounds like a spoiled brat. The stories are thinly veiled complaints about millennials. There’s a way to critique and make really good points about the culture of the moment, but he clobbers it over the head. Don’t waste your time.
  • The Wives of Los Alamos, **** Tarashea Nesbit
    • I was really excited about this book. It got glowing reviews and had interesting subject matter. But I was disappointed. The whole book was written in a collective voice, which was grating. I thought the introduction was going to be written that way and then someone’s voice (one particular woman? A narrator?) would pick up the story. Instead, the whole book is told by all of the wives of Los Alamos, and it was extremely annoying and also prevented character development.
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