Book 8: In The Woods by Tana French

First off let’s acknowledge the obvious fact that I am behind in my book a week schedule. I’m not stressed about it at this point in the year though. Lately my personal life has been endlessly exhausting and finding the motivation to pickup a book has been near impossible. When I do actually have the time to read I end up watching tv instead because I can zone out while doing that. With reading, everything finds a way to be relatable and hits too close to home and that isn’t really something I’ve been interested in happening.

Anyway, this book was really enjoyable. In The Woods by Tana French is book two in the Dublin Murder Squad series. Detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox are given the case of a murdered 12 year old girl. The murder’s circumstances are very similar to something that happened to Detective Ryan 20 years earlier, in the same town. Now I loved Maddox and Ryan, I loved their partnership at work and their friendship. I was attached to both of their characters. It is to be noted that it is a slower moving book, but not in a bad way at all. The character development makes up for there being very little action in the investigation of the murder. Honestly at 100pages to the end I was concerned about how it was all going to be wrapped up because the murder was still basically completely unsolved. Tana French did it though, with out any feeling of it being rushed. While I didn’t “like” how part of it ended, it was one of those times where you know it’s the right way even though you wanted characters to do things differently.

Book 7: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Book 7 was another book club book. Now I joined my book club because I have very particular taste in books that I tend not to stray from and it seemed like a good way to force myself into being social all while exploring books I otherwise wouldn’t have. Occasionally I am surprised by how much I end up enjoying something I’d normally pass by, sadly this was not one of those times. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout is a book of “short stories”, each about a different person or point of time in small town of Crosby, Maine. In theory I really like the idea of this book, each chapter telling a small story of a just a fragment of time in the life of a person. Real life, regular people, all ever so slightly connected even if just because of the town, but something about this book just did nothing for me. In fact it actually frustrated me on numerous occasions. The sheer amount of adjectives and words I’d read on each page that were about nothing at all was mind numbing. I’d keep finding myself trying to skim through paragraphs to find some kind of information of importance. It felt like words for the sake of words, like if you needed to write a 600 word essay and did a final count only to realize you were only at 512. That added on to the fact that about halfway through I realized that not a single part of me really cared how the book ended, really made it painful to get through. I really wanted to like this book, especially because so many people do, but it left me feeling like there was something about it everyone else understood that I just simply didn’t.

Book 6: Shattered by Debra Puglisi Sharp

This a book

Shattered by Debra Puglisi Sharp is a memoir about how one person’s choices on a completely average day can forever change your life in an instant. The extreme damage done stretches further and deeper than you could ever imagine. One second your life is as it always has been and then it’s not. A stranger’s actions can destroy everything you held dear and for the rest of your life it will haunt you relentlessly. In April 1998, Debbie Puglisi was blitz attacked in her home, kidnapped, and brutally raped for 5 days. Her husband Nino was shot and killed instantly. The man responsible was a complete stranger, he picked them by complete chance. His crimes against them were horrific and are painstakingly described, as is the trial, but what makes this book so much more than a heartbreakingly sad and scary memoir is the attention payed to the complexities of human personalities and emotions. So. Well. Done. 

Book 5: The Secret Place by Tana French 

The Secret Place by Tana French is a detective novel about a dead boy found at an all girls boarding school. It begins in the detective’s point of view; Holly, a girl from the school, brings him a clue a year after the murder. The book jumps back and forth from his point of view to Holly and her friends. The girls’ sections start before the murder and meets in the middle with the detective’s. I enjoyed this book a lot. It felt like such a perfectly thought out book, every detail so intentional. Part of me wished this had been a book club book so I could discuss every little nuance with people. I’m definitely itching to read more by Tana French.

Book 4: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

 I read Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins two years ago I think, and it was not my favorite due to so much second hand embarrassment for the main character. Thankfully I didn’t feel the same way about Into the Water, though I still didn’t love it. It’s about a small town that has a river running through it that has a history of connecting everyone somehow and drawing people to it. I did like the stories of the “drowning pool” and the background it told with links to witchcraft or as one character said it, how it was a way to deal with women who were trouble. My issue however lay in that there were so many characters that regardless of how much character development there was I still never felt connected to any one person. I addition kept forgetting who was who. Now I didn’t by any means hate the book, but I also didn’t look forward to reading it. I probably could have stopped reading 50 pages from the end and still not have been curious how it was going to wrap up. Overall it just fell a little short in my eyes.

Book 3: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris was so much fun and so sneaky. Barebones summary, one stormy night while driving home from a party Cass takes a back road shortcut home and encounters a lady whose car is parked on the shoulder. Cass stops to maybe help, things get weird, and Cass ends up driving away. Next morning it turns out that lady in the car got brutally murdered. The guilt eats at Cass, she also lies about going down the road to everyone so nobody knows she encountered the lady. The extra zinger is Cass actually knew the lady but it was raining too hard that night for her to recognize her. On top of all that Cass may have early onset dementia; that plus the guilt she feels, PLUS these weird silent calls she keeps receiving completely brake her down as a person (oh hey book title). She becomes paranoid and really starts to lose it. Now I’m the kind of person who tends to accidentally guess the twist of a book in some random off hand thought I have, but this one I only guessed half of it and the other half was a complete mind fuck. I legit had to put the book down and half a moment of “holy shit what just happened”. For a little while I was torn between whether the twist was just way too over the top or if it was actually awesome. I settled on it being awesome because actually having a book’s twist shock me like that was pretty damn enjoyable and sometimes there are things in life that don’t need to be overthought.

Book 2: Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney was my January book club book. I’m going to be honest, I really didn’t like it. Let me give you some background story on myself before I continue though, I am an incredibly anxious person. I always have been. I also get major secondhand embarrassment in a lot of situations. All of that made this book hell for me to get through even though it was a fairly easy read. The book is narrated by Frances, a 21 year old who is so painfully 21. She has an affair with the husband of a lady who is writing a piece on Frances and her best friend, who preform poetry together. Her best friend is also her ex. Seriously the whole book was one painfully drawn out anxiety attack for me. I legit finished reading it seconds before book club started. Despite my anxiety, I didn’t feel like it was a badly written book and I thought Sally Rooney was very effective in her depiction of what a 21 year old who doesn’t really know who she is or what she believes in is like. This was Sally Rooney’s debut novel and I would be interested in reading more by her in the future.

Book 1: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, guys this book, I’m honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Up until the 65 page mark I really didn’t have an opinion on it either way, and then it just pulled me in. This book is about a grouchy, pretentious man who owns a small bookstore, who’s life had to completely fall apart before he could realize that not all people and books are always what they seem. He also finds a toddler left in the store but I almost wasn’t going to even mention that part. There was enough book nerd in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry for it to feel familiar and rose colored (plus the added fact I’m fairly certain at some point in every book lover’s life they have fantasized about owning a book store) but then the character development sneaks up on you and suddenly you are invested in the pages to come. There are some dark moments, a nice handful, but oddly it doesn’t over take the tone of the book. Final note; my favorite character was hands down Lambiase, the chief of police. I would totally read a sequel all about how his life plays out.

2017, why you gotta be so awful?

Looking back on the year I am disappointing that I didn’t continue writing about each book I read on here, it’s incredibly helpful when trying to remember what I’ve actually liked since my brain tends to push out one book to make way for each new one. I became a little too caught up in my head, per usual, and was feeling like my only defining trait was the amount I read. While I do take immense pride in what i accomplish in that area, I was also feeling as if there wasn’t all that much else to me beside being “you know Chelsea, that girl who reads a lot”. I attempted to find some balance but am bringing back the blog in 2018. Once again the goal of 2017 was 52 and I succeeded with 53 and am more than proud of all I accomplished.

2017 books read:

1. Burn baby burn by meg medina

2. Read between the lines by jo knowles

3. Every last word by Tamara Ireland stone

4. The last time we say goodbye by Cynthia Hand

5. Little peach by Peggy Kern

6. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

7. The serpent king by Jeff zentner

8. We are okay by Nina LaCour

9. Happening by Annie Ernaux

10. If you find me by Murdoch 

11. With malice by Eileen cook

12. Asking for it by Louise O’Neill 

13. Quiet by Susan Cain 

14. The hate u give by Angie thomas

15. What I know for sure by Oprah Winfrey 

16. My sister Rosa by Justine larbalestier

17. All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

18. The smell of other people’s houses by Bonnie-sue Hitchcock

19. Hold still by Nina LaCour 

20. The first time she drowned by Kerry kletter

21. Such a pretty girl by Laura wiess

22. Penance by kanae minato 

23. Commonwealth by Ann patchet

24. The memory of light by Francisco x. Stork  

25. Paperweight by meg haston

26. Not my fathers son by Alan cumming

27. Between two skies by Joanne O’Sullivan 

28. When breath becomes air by Paul kalanithi

29. Don’t you cry by Mary kubica

30. After the woods by Kim savage

31. How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran 

32. The perfect stranger by Megan Miranda 

33. Saving charlotte by pia de Jong 

34. American housewife by Helen Ellis will not have my hate by Antoine leiris

36. Where they found her by Kimberly mccreight 

37. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly mccreight 

38. Small great things by Jodi picoult

39. the end of everything by megan abbott

40. everything i never told you celeste ng

41. The museum of extraordinary things by Alice Hoffman 

42. The accident season by Moira fowely-Doyle 

43. The story sister by Alice Hoffman 

44. A head full of ghosts by Paul tremblay

45. The rules of magic my Alice hoffman

46. There’s someone inside your house by Stephanie Perkins 

47. Faithful by Alice Hoffman 

48. A mother’s reckoning by sue Klebold

49. The girls in the garden by Lisa jewell 

50. You better not cry by Augusten Burroughs 

51. One of us is lying by Karen McManus 

52. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara 

53. The Takedown by Corrie Wang

Goals of 2018:

1. Read at least 52 books

2. Write at least one paragraph about each book on here

3. Actually learn how to cook

4. Dance more with my man

2018, I’m ready for you.

2016 Resolution 

I completed my mission in 2015 of reading 52 books, though just barely. I may or may not have read 10ish books in the month of December, whoops. Anyway because of that I’ve decided to do a round two year of 52 books rather than increasing the amount (maybe in 2017 I’ll feel ballsy enough to read 53). So a new year, a new list of books. After a couple days off with no reading, i’m ready to get shit done.