A Little Life Review

Title: A Little Life
Author: Hanya Yanagihara
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday

Blurb: When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

Me: This 720 page wonder has consumed my thoughts awake, my dreams asleep, and every single thing in between for the last week that I read it. It was the fastest I have ever devoured a book this length in a long time, and I have officially been blown away and completely crushed into a million emotional bits. 

Pakistan: The Reluctant Fundamentalist Review

Title: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Author: Mohsin Hamid
Publisher: Harcourt
Genre: Contemporary

Blurb: At a cafe table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful encounter...

Changez is living an immigrant's dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by an elite valuation firm. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore.

But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned and his relationship with Erica shifting. And Changez's own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.

Me: Unbelievable writing. It was so tense and easy to fall into (I read it in 3 days) but still explored complex ideas- phenomenal. 

I want to be bored


Hey guys! Today isn't a bookish post, but rather just a gathering of thoughts. It's summertime, I've been incredibly busy, and I want to be bored. 

I know, I might sound crazy. I'm sure we've all experienced the drowsiness of summer break, feeling sluggish and bored out of our minds and almost- almost!- wanting to go to school. It's not a fun feeling. But here's why: 

Creativity flourishes in boredom. Without a list of things you have to complete or get done by a deadline, you have the freedom to think and reflect and wonder until your brain gets sick of talking to itself. Some things I've done during summer when I was extremely bored: 

on the road review (aka the longest rant about a book i've ever written)


Title: On the Road
Author: Jack Kerouac
Genre: Classic, Beat Generation

BlurbOn the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.
Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "Beat" and has inspired every generation since its initial publication.
Me: This book has overtaken my life. I have spent so many hours just reading random research articles and arguments about the book and the Beat generation in general. I am fascinated by these writers and their movement that they kind of lost control over and what they meant to their generation and me, now. ANYWAY. After reading it, I wrote a HUGE, LONG, like SUPER loooong rant about all my feelings about it. Here it is, slightly edited: 

Summer Author Adventures


It's summer!! Watermelon, pool parties, and for me, more frequent visits to the indie bookstore in downtown Austin, BookPeople. BookPeople is the biggest indie bookstore in Texas and it brings a ton of authors on tour for various events every year! 

Just this summer, I have seen three authors speak already. Lizzie Velasquez, Samantha Irby, and Roxane Gay. Here's what I felt: 

We are never meeting in real life review

Title: we are never meeting in real life.
Author: Samantha Irby
Genre: Essays, Humor
Publisher: Vintage Books

Blurb: Sometimes you just have to laugh, even when life is a dumpster fire. With We Are Never Meeting in Real Life., "bitches gotta eat" blogger and comedian Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form. Whether talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making "adult" budgets, explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette--she's "35-ish, but could easily pass for 60-something"--detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father's ashes, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms--hang in there for the Costco loot--she's as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths. 

Me: Look at that cover. How could you not read this book??!!

italy: my brilliant friend review

Title: My Brilliant Friend
Author: Elena Ferrante
Publisher: Europa

Blurb: Beginning in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Ferrante’s four-volume story spans almost sixty years, as its protagonists, the fiery and unforgettable Lila, and the bookish narrator, Elena, become women, wives, mothers, and leaders, all the while maintaining a complex and at times conflictual friendship. Book one in the series follows Lila and Elena from their first fateful meeting as ten-year-olds through their school years and adolescence. 

Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists.


Me: This book (and the other ones in the series) has had quite a lot of hype. Elena Ferrante is incredibly famous, and this series in particular has been noted as unique and revolutionary. Going in, I had high expectations and unfortunately, My Brilliant Friend didn't blow me away like I hoped it would.