If I had not received this book free via NetGalley, I would not have finished it.
Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka sounds promising, but the reveal is badly paced with obvious red herrings. Even though the mystery lost my attention, there’s potential in Kukafka’s prose—it’s occasionally lyrical with unique imagery. read more
I requested a collection of short stories by Joshua Ferris from NetGalley months ago (I’m running behind). I was familiar with Ferris from two of his earlier books: The Unnamed and Then We Came to the End. In both cases, the premise was sound but the main plot was rehashed repeatedly until I throttled the book and said: “I’ve got it. Can we get on with the story now?” My experience with Ferris’s long fiction is what made me excited to read a collection of shorts. He’s a witty writer who goes for dark humor (which I like). My hope was that the limited page count would leave room for his originality but curb his tendency to wax on. Yet most of the stories in The Dinner Party follow a similar arc despite their range of subjects. read more
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is misery porn. This isn’t an insult; it’s a descriptor. Misery porn is a sub-genre of memoir built around the thesis: My childhood was worse than yours, but I’m going to be cavalier about it so you know how tough I am. Memoirists can paint their histories however they choose, but it’s near impossible for misery porn to not be a self-indulgent humble-brag: Look how independent I was; look how I persevered; would you have survived my obstacles? True to genre, The Glass Castle is a litany of obstacles in the form of abusive, neglectful parents and grinding poverty. read more
The first Stephen King book I’ve ever finished! The Stand, The Shining, and The Dark Tower all remain half-finished in my queue, but my love for the latest film adaptation of It propelled me through the 1,100+ page book. read more