Catching up with some mini-reviews! In order from the most recommended to the least recommended, with the last book rating quite far below the rest.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Smith’s wry, tumbling prose sucked me into this saga of two families living in England during the last few decades of the 20th century. It’s the writing style that I most loved – laughing as it blissfully skewered everything and everyone in sight and enjoying how it tossed around teeth metaphors like candy. I thought the plotting had its weak moments, particularly in the contrivances of the final climactic scene where everyone’s separate interests converge in one time and place. However, I would gladly read another book by Zadie Smith.
Crocodile on a Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1) by Elizabeth Peters
Fun, compulsively readable mystery set in late 19th century Egypt. Loved Amelia’s take-charge attitude and the way she acquires a companion and friend in Evelyn. Though I don’t have a great track record for following up with mystery series, I hope to read more of the Amelia Peabody series in the future.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
First Rainbow Rowell book I heard of, and the first one I’ve read. I liked Rowell’s choice to set the novel in 1999; it makes the small-town newspaper setting poignant, without being heavy-handed. The banter between the two friends over email is fun. The romantic plotline is sweet though far from untroubled. I rolled with it, but it’s vulnerable to astute analysis – as I’ve read in other bloggers’ reviews.
Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen
Listened to this book on audio while on a long drive up to Maine. In brief: a woman plots an elaborate revenge on her no-good husband who thought he had successfully murdered her. Skinny Dip is darkly humorous, baring its teeth when it comes to the destruction of the Everglades, which is a central part of the narrative. It went on a little too long, but the ending was satisfying.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
This fantasy novel had some great world-building especially the debauched kingdom city recklessly using defeated gods as their slaves. I enjoyed the matter-of-fact way the protagonist dealt with the fact of her likely doom at the start of the novel. As much as I enjoyed a number of the elements, however, I didn’t love the novel overall. By the time it ended, I didn’t feel the urge to read more of this series.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Budding cinephile Anna is sent to an elite boarding school in France for her senior year, to bolster her father’s conception of his own prestige. She is adopted by a small group of friends and falls in love with one of them. I enjoyed Anna’s inner monologue as she navigated the new school. The name-checking of translated fiction like Yoshimoto’s Kitchen was a nice touch. But the angst of Anna’s romantic adventures was more than I could take. The teenagers wander around making huge dramatic public scenes and my reaction was that they were embarrassing themselves and bothering strangers who were just trying to go about their day.