Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Laurealism Library: Volume 5

It's been awhile since I've clued you in on what I've been reading... Here are my favorites since I updated you last.

For reference, my personal scale:
1- Couldn't get past the first chapter
2- Finished it, but not for me
3- A solid, entertaining book, but didn't resonate with me
4-Worth reading in a liftime
5-All time favorite books

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A NovelGabrielle Zevin
Pick this up if: One of your favorite genres is "books about books."

About via Amazon: A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over--and see everything anew.

Notes: I just loved this story. I highlighted so many passages, and just fell in love with the characters.

My rating: 5/5
Goodreads rating: 3.96/5

Quotes: "They had only ever discussed books. But what, in this life, is more personal than books?"

"My life is in these books, he wants to tell her. Read these and know my heart."

"There ain't nobody in the world like book people. It's a business of gentlemen and gentlewomen."

You might also like: Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

Tuck EverlastingNatalie Babbitt
Pick this up if: You're looking for a young adult book, or something to read with your kids.

About via Amazon: Doomed to―or blessed with―eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem.

Notes: You could probably read this in a day, it's simple but intriguing and begs the question, "what would you do in that situation?" Which would make it a good discussion book with youngsters.

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.84/5

Quotes: "They peered at her anxiously over their shoulders as they tiptoed out of her bedroom, as if they sensed that she was different now from what she had been before. As if some part of her had slipped away."

You might also like: A Monster Calls, 13 Clocks

Pick this up if: You want a rather long book to curl up and fall in love with.

About via Amazon: A GOD IN RUINS tells the dramatic story of the 20th Century through Ursula's beloved younger brother Teddy--would-be poet, heroic pilot, husband, father, and grandfather-as he navigates the perils and progress of a rapidly changing world. After all that Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is living in a future he never expected to have. 

Notes: I just love Kate Atkinson's writing and how she tells a story. Her characters are so realistic and developed, I want to meet more and more of them.

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.92/5

Quotes: "The earrings had begun their life in a goldsmith's atelier in 1899 and, in the manner of objects, lived on long after the people who had worn them."

"People came as they were, she said, all packeted up complete, waiting to be unwrapped."

You might also like: Life After Life, All the Light We Cannot See, The Goldfinch

Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders: A NovelJulianna Baggott
Pick this up if: Again-- you love books about books, and a book presented from different perspectives.

About via Amazon: The reclusive Harriet Wolf, revered author and family matriarch, has a final confession-a love story. Years after her death, as her family comes together one last time, the mystery of Harriet's life hangs in the balance. Does the truth lie in the rumored final book of the series that made Harriet a world-famous writer, or will her final confession be lost forever?

Notes: This was an interesting read. Interesting people, interesting lives... just interesting. And you really get the feel of the different perspectives through the writing (a challenging feat!)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.76/5

Quotes: "No one can know someone else. We can't even know ourselves."

"One day, Ruthie says, but she says it like a wish, not a promise."

"I have a life within myself, an inward life that can't be expressed."

You might also like: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Life of Pi

Pick this up if: Twin brothers, mental illness, a lot of family history. There is a lot that goes on this book, and it's so worth the read.

About via Amazon: On the afternoon of October 12, 1990, my twin brother, Thomas, entered the Three Rivers, Connecticut, public library, retreated to one of the rear study carrels, and prayed to God the sacrifice he was about to commit would be deemed acceptable. . . .

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.15/5

Quotes: "Things get clearer when you're older. Of course by then it's too late."

You might also like: Middlesex, A Trip to the Stars

Station ElevenEmily St John Mandel
Pick this up if: You like post-apocalyptic novels. Also if you're looking for a quick and entertaining read.

About via Amazon: Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end. Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive.

Notes: I finished this book and wished it had been three times as long. I love post-apocalyptic and this was a great one!

My rating: 5/5
Goodreads rating: 4.01/5

Quotes: "After she got up he always liked to see how much of the bed he could sleep on at once."

"He felt extravagantly, guiltily alive."

"There are certain qualities of light that blur the years. Sometimes she would glance at him as the sun rose and for a fleeting instant she could see what he'd looked like as a boy."

You might also like: The Stand, The Road

The Bone ClocksDavid Mitchell
Pick this up if: You're cool with using your imagination.

About via Amazon: Following a terrible fight with her mother over her boyfriend, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her family and her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

Notes: This book is about a world very different from our own, and you have to just sort of accept everything that is going on. This was a book club read for me and it was funny because half of the group loved it and half of the group did not at all. Those are always the greatest to discuss!

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.8/5

Quotes: Lost book alert! I can't find my copy to go through my highlights.

You might also like: The Magician
Pick this up if: You're looking for a change of pace. This book is definitely on the magical side, and likely aimed at young adults, but we can use a little imagination in our lives, right?

About via Amazon: As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar.

Notes: The author used old images (which appear in the book) to create this story- a unique idea.

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.82/5

Quotes: "I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. The first of these came as a terrible shock and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After.

You might also like: The Thirteenth Tale, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Runners Up

The following I rated 3/5-- which is a solid rating for me meaning I enjoyed the book and it was entertaining, but these weren't books that will stay with me. But you may still want to check them out, because sometimes a light-hearted or simple book is a good break. I've included their Goodreads rating below-- because as you'll see my 3/5 differs greatly from the average opinion in some cases!

Sharp Objects  3.9/5
The Girl on the Train 3.14/5
Big Little Lies 4.16/5
The Invention of Wings 4.22/5
The Dovekeepers 4.01/5
Love Medicine 3.97/5
Let the Right One In 4.06/5
We Were Liars 3.86/5
Dark Places 3.91/5

Which books did you love in 2015?


  1. Love your book posts! I've been waffling on "station eleven," looks like I need to pull the trigger! I had to look up to see if I read Big Little Lies, lol, apparently I did, can't even remember if I was a fan. "What Alice Forgot" and "All Fall Down" were my favorite books of 2015/14. Didn't finish "Me Before You." Read "Red Queen"...suuuuper predictable YA. Currently reading "The Nightingale"...verdict is still out!

  2. Yes, I loved it! And I loved What Alice Forgot, too. I've added "All Fall Down" to my list. Keep me posted on Nightingale... Its rated so highly!