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pithypants's books

Currently Reading (View all 25)

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2023 Reading Goal

25% complete! pithypants has read 13 of 52 books.

Lucy by the Sea (Hardcover, 2022, Random House) 4 stars

Too soon!

3 stars

Hmmm. I usually love anything Elizabeth Strout has written. She does a great job creating characters so real you feel they live in your hometown. And yet, I did not love this book. In part, probably because it's too fresh. All the events of the last three years are there: the pandemic, the 2020 election, the Jan 6 coup attempt. I've experienced fictional re-tellings of most of these events (eg. The Morning Show) and generally haven't been put-off by them, but this one was different. Maybe it's because Lucy isn't that relatable? Despite being a successful author who has spent most of her adulthood in NYC, she's some cross of naive/disconnected from reality. Watching her grapple with disbelief, denial, boredom and frustration makes her hard to like. It's been a while since I read "My Name Is Lucy Barton" or the other two books directly related to this story line, …

Mad Honey (2022, Random House Publishing Group) 5 stars

Well done collaboration

4 stars

This book was a collaboration between Jodi Picoult and Jenny Finney but you wouldn't know it based on the Goodreads entry... makes it sound like it's all Picoult. It's a shame, because it's one of the more effective collaborations I've read, and I appreciated the authors' notes at the end that explained their process.

I'm deliberately not sharing details about the plot or any of its twists (which anyone who has read a Picoult book knows to expect) because I don't want to spoil the surprises, but I appreciated this book and the issues it took on. I hope it lands in many small town libraries and cultivates a bit of empathy and compassion among those who read it.

Demon Copperhead (EBook, 2022, Harper) 4 stars

Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, Demon Copperhead is the story of a boy …

Review of 'Demon Copperhead' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Calling it now: this is going to be my top read for 2023. Lit classes are going to study this book for Kingsolver's ability to craft an authentic voice, tease out the most telling details, and somehow keep a book that should be wholly depressing (TW: drugs! addiction! orphans! death! abuse!) moving along at a break-neck pace with incisive, laugh-out-loud observations and dialogue. Any curriculum that is still using (fraudulent loser) JD Vance's "Hillbilly Elegy" to teach about Appalachia should go ahead and upgrade to this book, stat!

The magic of this book is that you root for Demon even though you know the odds are stacked (and STACKED) against him. He's lovable despite his flaws, and you just want to see him beat the system.

Nightcrawling (2022, Knopf Incorporated, Alfred A.) 4 stars

Review of 'Nightcrawling' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

3.5 rounding up for originality. A compelling picture of a girl who does her best with limited options. So often, it's easy for people to read a headline and jump to conclusions about the decisions that led to the outcome. Mottley does a good job showing how circumstances can pile up and one simple move can have consequences beyond anything imagined or intended. There were aspects of the story that felt a bit stilted to me, but that might have been (or likely was) a product of my own inattention rather than any fault of the author. I especially appreciated that this book highlighted another aspect of police violence, and one that's often under-reported. Infuriating.

The Maid (Paperback, 2022, Random House Large Print) 4 stars

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the …

Review of 'The Maid' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

3.5 rounding up. Some aspects of the plot and character development are a bit lumpy in execution, but I'm giving the author points for crafting a fast-paced mystery with an unlikely protagonist.

Now Is Not the Time to Panic (2022, HarperCollins Publishers) 4 stars

Review of 'Now Is Not the Time to Panic' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

3.25, rounding to 4 because I like coming of age stories about misfits who find their thing. While I enjoyed this book, I didn't feel deeply connected to any of the characters. There were some fun and clever moments, and some sentences that really showcase Wilson's skill as a writer. My challenge is that I still felt arms-length to the players, rather than fully immersed in their story.