Today I am supposed to review something and I am totally blanking on how to do that. I could never be a critic. I am far too interested in being universally adored to ever risk offending anyone. So in lieu of writing a full review of one book, here are a few words about some recent faves*:
STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel – I’m not normally into post-apocolyptic stuff, (way more into the lead up to the apocalypse – give me some fire raining down and horses, right? Who wants to live in a world after something that exciting has happened? Like THE ROAD, oh God I couldn’t get through THE ROAD, but come one, how does that dude compare to Lester Ballard, there is no comparison, come on McCarthy) but I totally dug this story, in which a troupe of performers head out into a world ravaged by a flu to bring Shakespeare and music to the masses. And just like I will pick up any book that mentions any French artist, I am a sucker for people who walk hundreds of miles just to perform the works of the Bard. And also false prophets. Give me a false prophet and I’ll be all over it. And this book has both!
HOW TO BUILD A GIRL by Caitlin Moran – If you follow me on Twitter (hi, @morsini), you have probably seen me rave incessantly about this book, which was, hands down, my absolute favorite of last year. It’s a story I NEEDED in high school, though it’s definitely not a YA. It’s funny and the writing is beautiful and it’s about an outcast of a girl who wants to write about music. Guys! That was MY dream! I wanted to be William Miller before ALMOST FAMOUS was even released! Dolly (née Johanna) basically lived a very exaggerated version of my dream! But even if that were not the case, this book would still blow my mind with it’s humor and heart. It’s a story about growing up in a lower middle class family and knowing there’s more out there, about wanting something better, about not quite fitting in and trying to figure out where you do. It’s not an instruction manual or a self-help book. Moran doesn’t get to the end and tell you how Dolly figured it all out. I think what I love best is that she DOESN’T figure it all out. It’s a book that says, “we’ve all been there,” which is definitely the best kind.
ONE MORE THING: STORIES AND OTHER STORIES by B.J. Novak – Because the paperback came out this week and I love this book trailer so much and because the stories in this book ARE great. They are sometimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking in the way all the best stories should be. There’s robot sex and fable sequels and origin stories and coming-of-age stories about family secrets and a story about a poet/translator, which may be one of my favorite stories of all time with a twist at the end that made me so incredibly happy, I can’t even tell you. (It also convinced me to move DON QUIXOTE to the top of TBR pile and now I’m massively in love with a possibly clinically insane fictional character.) Basically, there’s something for everyone, even those of you who can only handle stories that are not even half a page long. He’s got you covered. Watch the trailer linked above (sorry I can’t add it to this post. I am not that gifted) and then come discuss with me your favorite books (probably on Twitter as I cannot be trusted to respond to comments on here even though I read them, promise)!
*I swear to God, if my computer autocorrects faves to faces one more effing time I’m throwing it through the window. Calm down, Apple. Some of us speak like twelve-year-olds.