Vacation Book Reviews: Part Two

I’ve been home for a month now, and I have finally completed my second round of vacation book reviews! If you want to read part one, click here.

My second round of vacation books were little bit denser, and as such, I made my way through them at a much slower pace. And then, of course, took a whole month to write about them. Tada! Here we are.

In total I was on vacation for 5 weeks and read 13 (well, 12 and a half!) books! Not bad. The first two weeks were much more concentrated with reading time. Hopefully I can continue to carve space in my brain for more books throughout the year! 

Call Me By Your Name by Andrรฉ Aciman

Lols: not many

Tears: a lot- at the end

I hadn’t seen the movie before reading the book, however, I have now, and spoiler! I liked the book better. Though the movie was beautiful. Itโ€™s written quite differently from the rest of the stuff that Iโ€™ve been reading, but done in a way that isnโ€™t presumptuous or ostentatious- it just fits that the language used is the kind the main character would. I liked how this book took romance and spun it in a different way: great love stories can be fleeting, but that doesnโ€™t make them less great. Still not sure how I feel about the age gap- Iโ€™m sure Elio was above the age of consent, but it still feels a little squidgey that a man in his 20s would be interested in him. Thatโ€™s the point that I get stuck on sometimes- it just feels like there is still a power dynamic on hand at times, even if it is simply that Oliver has a bit more understanding of the world. Either way, still a great read: passionate, engaging, and full of delicious tension.

Rating: 8/10

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Lols: some small titters

Tears: nope

Okay, Iโ€™m a little nervous to say this but- I donโ€™t love David Sedaris. Iโ€™ve read a few of his books, can power through them quite quickly, laugh a couple of times, and then Iโ€™m done, feeling no different than when I started. What am I missing? Is it just that I dont want to hear about how bitter middle aged people feel about computers? Iโ€™m sorry everyone else, but I think the guy is just okay. That being said, itโ€™s nice to have a chill, funny book to read at the beach.

Rating: 6/10

Liminal by Jordan Tannahill

Lols: some chuckles

Tears: lots at the end

Recommended by: my friend Michael

It took me a while to get into this one, because I found some of the language a little more extravagant than necessary, but once I sunk my teeth into it, I was hooked. Jordan Tannahill is a playwright, and my partner loooooves one of his other books- Theatre of the Unimpressed. I really enjoyed falling into his mind, for this half-fictional tale of a man who is contemplating death and life and presence, reliving key moments in his life as he waits to discover whether or not his mother has died. It was a journey, and I loved it. Not every minute of it, but once I got over the โ€œsmart peopleโ€ talk, I started to really understand what it was all about. I donโ€™t think this book is for everyone, but for the people it is for, it is exceptional.

Rating: 8/10

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Lols: it was funny but not in an lol kind of way

Tears: yuuuup

Recommended by: My friends Laura and Asia

This book was very cool. I’m not always a huge fan of fiction, because I find it at times to be unrelateable. This story, although based on an ancient tale, managed to weave incredible characters built out of the skeleton of Socrates’ Antigone. I’ve read Antigone but didn’t remember anything about it, so whether or not you are a fan of Greek classics, this is a great book! I enjoyed entering the heads of a few different characters, and seeing the tale pan out from a couple different perspectives. My favourite part of this stylistic choice was how completely jarring one of the shifts in narration was, which just showcased how committed the author was to showing us what goes on in these people’s minds. It’s a love story, it’s a commentary, but most of all, it is a great book!

Rating: 9/10

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel

Lols: a couple

Tears: a lot

Recommended by: My friend Laura

I powered through this one, because not only is it easily digestible writing, it also boasts a plot that leaves you desperate for more. It’s an absolutely beautiful story about family, love, and what those things look like when things don’t go exactly as planned.. While it verged on being a little bit too touchy-feely at times, I was all in for it. The characters are dynamic and beautifully written, and the subject matter needs to be in more mainstream books! Definitely recommend!

Rating: 9/10

My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper

Lols: every page

Tears: nah

I love memoirs written by comedians because they are easy to read. inspirational, and hilarious. I laughed out loud at this book so many times, my family started getting annoyed with me. Ellie Kemper shows that there is a lot more to her sense of humour than portraying wide-eyed innocents that we see on screen, while still gamely poking fun at the tropes that she portrays in real life as well as in fiction. I also related to a LOT of her stories, so there is a solid chance someone less Ellie Kemper-esque might not find it so relateable. In any case, it was so charming, and so funny. I loved it and read it in less than a day.

Rating: 9/10

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