The week in review

My best friend had a baby this week! It was otherwise uneventful. Next week my kids are on spring break, and it’s my birthday, AND Jami Attenberg is doing a reading here, so I’m not sure how much reading time I’ll get in. But I love birthdays and school holidays and visiting new babies so the trade-off will be worth it.

I finished Little Deaths, and even with low expectations, it was a disappointment. I had been wondering why it was set in the 60s but then I found out it’s based on a real case, so that answers that. The setting, both time and place, still felt very off. The second half of the book was focused on a trial, but the opening chapters showed the main character in prison, so there was not much suspense about how the trial would turn out. I never like to give spoilers so I’ll just say the resolution was not believable. This was a big miss for me.

I was much more pleasantly surprised by Swing Time. I was not expecting to get into this one at all but it was completely absorbing. I love her writing style here even though I can see why some people found it a little slow. There were definitely some plot points that didn’t make a ton of sense to me, but for me this was like listening to someone who’s got such an engaging way of speaking that you don’t even care what they’re talking about. I was so happy with this one, and I love that a main character was named Tracey with an E. You usually see it as Tracy but I have a soft spot for the E.

The Animators seemed like a slam dunk to me. It has a lot of buzz around it, I love contemporary women’s fiction, and it just looks like something I’d like. (Yes, I do judge books by their covers, you know you do too!) There is a good book buried in here somewhere but it’s badly in need of an edit. It reads like the author didn’t know where she was going with the story, meanders all over the place, then wraps up somewhat hurriedly. This is a weird blend of tedious and melodramatic at the same time. I would put this in the interesting failure category but I’m very interested in what she does next. There is some good writing and characterization along the way, I’d like to see that cream rise to the top next time.

I have three books out from the library right now and had some Sophie’s Choice-level angst about which to start next, but I settled on The Life-Writer and I’m already starting to regret it. The writing style is a little dense, and so far the story is very claustrophobic for me. I like the premise and I’m only 50 pages in; I’m hoping we will soon venture outside of this main character’s head. I’m going to stick with it, mostly because I have a race this weekend so a DNF would feel like a jinx. I hope it picks up!

 

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