Read These

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng | “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

This book snuck up on me and I didn’t realize how affected I was until it was nearly over. Each member of Lee family became my favorite as they took turns sharing their perspective. Again and again, around and around, I found myself sympathizing and understanding and wishing they were better at communicating with each other. Honestly, this book really broke my heart, so if you decide to read it, I’d advise you to grab some tissues beforehand.

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud |  David Smith is giving his life for his art—literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding  what  to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the 11th hour isn’t making it any easier. 

I haven’t read many graphic novels. Actually, this is one of only a handful that I have read total, and one of only two I read last year (the other being Saga.) I was moved by The Sculptor more than most of the stories I’ve read recently, and anything that moves me will likely leave me recommending them to anyone within earshot.

The Sculptor is about a guy who is struggling to become someone great. He wants to make great work, and he wants to be recognized as Someone Who Makes Great Work. Many people will tell you that creative work should be done for its own sake, and while I definitely agree, I can also admit that sometimes I only wish that were the whole truth. For many, respect and earning a living and achieving celebrity are also important aspects of creative ambitions. This book gave me a lot to think about in that regard.  But, as per usual, I’m also a sucker for a love story, and the love-tinged, tragic plot line is what drew me to this story in the first place. Boy has dream. Boy makes deal with death to achieve dream. Boy meets girl. Boy regrets said deal instantly. Hijinks ensue. I really loved this book.


The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. CareyMelanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The less you know about this book, the better, so I won’t say much except that I absolutely devoured it.


All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam ToewsElf and Yoli are sisters. While on the surface Elfrieda’s is an enviable life (she’s a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, and happily married) and Yolandi’s a mess (she’s divorced and broke, with two teenagers growing up too quickly), they are fiercely close—raised in a Mennonite household and sharing the hardship of Elf’s desire to end her own life. After Elf’s latest attempt, Yoli must quickly determine how to keep her family from falling apart, how to keep her own heart from breaking, and what it means to love someone who wants to die.

This is my favorite book that I read in 2015. If you’ve ever grieved someone who has taken their own life, I implore you to read this beautiful story.

What books have you loved lately?


Link Love

Here are some of my favorite things I found around the internet this week:

  • I’ve spent the past year or so on a de-cluttering kick and was greatly inspired (like everyone else) by The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpA natural side effect of clearing one’s space is the desire to clear one’s mind, and that’s where this book will hopefully come in handy. After all, I’m already finding this chart to be very helpful:

  • I’m so sad about David Bowie and was moved to tears by his last music video. I’m enormously inspired by such a provocative and fearless artist whose creativity lasted until the very end of his life.
  • I also really love to find out the favorite books of people I admire, so I was excited to see which books he recommends.
  • I’m also so sad about Alan Rickman and got all weepy while reading this article, which turned into ugly tears by the time I got to this:

    Alan Rickman’s goodbye letter to Harry Potter

  • I got a kick out of this fun video of a couple guys snowboarding through the streets of NYC during snowmageddon this past weekend.

Happy perusing and happy weekend!

Link Love

Here are some of my favorite things I found around the internet this week:

  • If you are a fan of Bravo and a fan of podcasts, you’ve probably heard of “Watch What Crappens.” If not, this interview provides a nice introduction. I do a happy dance every time a new episode is released and it makes me laugh out loud in public (never a good idea on the quiet car of the MARC train) and watch more Bravo shows than I already did just to get the context of their jokes. I like it so much that I recently became a patron via Patreon for the very first time to show support and get access to the bonus content. It’s hilarious.
  • I actually found this last week, but I have a feeling I will be revisiting it for a while. Each year, NPR puts out their best-of lists, and they are always chock full of excellent recommendations. If the library revokes my card for placing too many holds at once, this list is to blame.
  • I really enjoyed this article about Jane and Kurt Vonnegut and how she helped his writing ambitions come to fruition.
  • Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple weeks, you’ve likely heard of the Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer. If you haven’t watched it, here is a nice intro and I seriously recommend that you check it out. I won’t go into where I landed on Steven Avery’s guilt, but I will say that it literally kept me on the edge of my seat and I’ve thought about it every day since.

Happy perusing and happy weekend!

2015 Reading Resolutions: A follow-up

Well, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted any book-related content to this blog, now hasn’t it?!

I was going through old posts and stumbled across my 2015 Reading Resolutions:

Let’s see how I did, shall we?

  1. Cut back on buying books. Either check them out from the library or read books I own but haven’t already read. I did very, very well on this one! I think I only bought a handful of books total, which is pretty much unheard of. I did pay a tidy sum in library fees, but… no one’s perfect.
  2. Join BookTube! (I actually wanted to join last year but I’m waiting for my husband to get a new laptop instead of buying a webcam and editing software.) My husband did get a new laptop but I didn’t make any progress on the BookTube front. Maybe 2016?
  3. Host a monthly book club. This one failed spectacularly, though not for a lack of trying on my part.
  4. Read 100 books. I logged 75 into GoodReads, but probably read around 100 if you count the books I’m too embarrassed to admit having read.
  5. Read In Search of Lost Time series. Nope.
  6. Read A Hundred Years of Solitude. This is my husband’s favorite book and I’ve been meaning to read it since he finished it a couple years ago and continues to rave about it. I’d like to attempt to read it in Spanish, but we’ll see how that goes. Nope.
  7. Read a poetry collection from an unknown to me poet. I read Rupi Kaur’s entire Instagram feed. That counts, right?
  8. Read a biography. Nope.
  9. Read a Sci-Fi novel. (I’m leaning toward The Martian by Andy Weir.) I read The Martian and Ready Player One. Liked the former and INHALEDLOVED the latter.
  10. Read 1 book each month from the Modern Library 100 Best Novels list: sigh.

All in all, I’d say I did slightly less than alright. And really, all of the things I didn’t do in 2015 are things I’d still like to do in 2016, so I think I’ll just extend this list for another year. That way I’m already about half done, which is pretty nice. Heck, maybe I won’t even apply years to it! Just call it Reading Resolutions.

After all, as Calvin so wisely said…