What I've Been Reading - January and February

2014 is starting out right. Exercise is getting done. Eating is healthy. And books are being read.

Here's a list of books I've completed recently:

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Lahiri is one of my favorites. I was upset that I wasn't able to see her when she visited Chicago recently to do a Q&A for her latest work, The Lowland. I read this one for my the book group I joined when I moved up and we had a great time discussing the characters, plot, and meaning of this heavy novel. Two bothers in India follow very different paths as young men and the shocking consequences of those decisions haunt all those involved for a lifetime.

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

Not for the faint of heart, this novel tackles some pretty disturbing issues and contains a fair share of graphic language. Another pick from my book group, some participants were a little uncomfortable reading, and I may have felt guilty suggesting it without knowing exactly what I was recommending. However, Abbott produces a story bursting with shock value and discussion-worthy material. Think Gone Girl relayed through insinuation rather than straightforwardness. Read it. 

The Apartment by Greg Baxter

I requested this novel after seeing it mentioned in the newsletter for my local library. I didn't know much going in other than it was an American man looking for an apartment in an undetermined European city. The novel is exactly that, but also very political. If you, like me, are cynical and love a good game of devil's advocate, check it out. Presented through stream of consciousness, the narrator muses on his former life in the military, his work as a contractor in Iraq, and the complexities of life. If you enjoy people watching, you'll definitely love it because Baxter's main man spends quite some time doing just that, and it's rather entertaining. Note: I spent nearly the entire novel trying to determine what city he was actually in, like wikipedia and google at the ready; however, I read an interview that suggested Baxter pulled from many European cities to create a fictional retreat for his narrator.

What have you been reading lately?

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  1. Oh, I have a copy of The End of Everything around here and you have me very intrigued--it was given to me, so I didn't really know anything at all about it.

    I'm hoping to start The Lowland soon myself (I have a library copy that is due back next week, so I need to get on that!), and it will be my first Lahiri. Shame on me, I know. In the meantime I'm working on the last book of the Wheel of Time series... which I've been reading for a year.

    1. Kerry, It's definitely interesting!

      And I'd love to hear what you have to say about The Lowland. My favorite Lahiri work is The Namesake, so it was hard to top that, but this novel hits deep.

      I'm popping over now to read your post on the Wheel of Time goodbye post! I've been trying to get my fiance to read that for years (even though I haven't).

  2. Kudos for the exercising and eating healthy! I think I'm doing ok with that on some days, but not so well on others!

    I keep seeing Megan Abbot on lots of blogs. Have you read her other books?

    1. Lindsey, Thank you! I'm trying slowly but surely!! And that happens but we just have to keep pushing harder!

      This is my first novel of hers, actually. I just got an ARC of her newest novel, The Fever, which comes out this summer. It's supposed to be equally interesting!

  3. I love Lahiri as well and have been putting off reading The Lowland - I'm not sure why. But, I'm thinking I need to get to it ASAP. I've been in a reading funk lately and Murakami helped me out of it - I'm thinking that Lahiri would, too. Enjoy the Moyes!

    1. Ok, so The Lowland is a slow read. I didn't feel that it was quite as engaging as her other work, but it was good. It's also very heavy, so I suggest throwing it in the mix once you've gotten back into your groove.

    2. Thanks for the tip! I've been reading lots of women's fiction, so I'm thinking that The Lowland will be great to read now - I need something with a bit more substance :)


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