I’m writing this month’s Show Us Your Books link-up post because I’ve been without cable and internet for a week now (THE HORROR!). Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been reading lately!
Year of No Cluttern by Eve Schaub
This book will be published in March 2017. I received an advance review copy from Netgalley.
This is a memoir written by a woman who decides to finally deal with the huge Hoarders-ish room in her otherwise normal-looking house. As you can imagine, this also includes dealing with all of the mental stuff the physical stuff brings up.
This was such a fun read. The author has a talent for sharing personal stories with a lot of humor, and let’s be honest, it’s a total guilty pleasure to get a peek into someone else’s home, even in text form. It’s interesting to watch her journey, including the realistic reaction to reading Marie Kondo’s advice. Although this isn’t a how-to book, it’s hard not to be tempted to go dig through some of your own stuff as you read!
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
I’m not usually into short stories because I don’t feel like they give the opportunity to dive into a world and its characters in a real way. Roxanne Gay does the total opposite in this collection, though, developing interesting, layered characters in a matter of pages. It’s bittersweet, because I left pretty much every story wishing there was more to it. I think of them characters as “difficult” women as in “the opposite of simple”, but then – aren’t we all?
I should mention that many of the women in the story have dark stories, so I could definitely imagine some being triggering for those who have experienced abuse or the loss of a child. Despite the darkness, I found this tough to put down. I didn’t love every story, but overall the collection is great. (Bonus points to the author for RT-ing my tweet about a story!)
Just read @rgay ‘s story about a miner so empty after years of cold and darkness that he swallows the sun.
— Crystal Ward (@Crystal11) January 5, 2017
(Difficult Women was also a complimentary copy in exchange for review via Netgalley!)
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
We all know that throughout history, men have often gotten credit for the accomplishments of their wives or other women, and this book is an interesting fictionalized version of the story of Einstein’s first wife Mileva, who was also an accomplished physicist. She must have been a fascinating woman, studying such a complicated subject at a time when almost no women attended university, especially in what we’d now refer to as STEM fields. There’s an obvious current cultural tie-in, and I could say all kinds of things about women often having to work twice as hard as men for half as much credit, incredibly talented and qualified women being overlooked for certain jobs, etc etc etc but I think we’re all depressed enough about that right now, right?
The other main thing this story made me think about is how little we know about the private lives of beloved historical figures. The author had letters between Albert and Mileva to refer to, which were especially helpful for finding her “voice”, but the home life and romance and ultimate end of their time together all had to be created for the story. I don’t want to get all spoilery, but it did make me think about how early reality shows like the Osbornes were our first look at what celebrities are like outside of interviews, the red carpet, etc. (I mean, reality tv obviously has its fair share of fakeness, but it opened that window of “Oh, this famous singer hangs out on the couch eating tuna sandwiches, although she’s not quite sure that it’ fish.”)
I’d recommend this for fans of books like The Paris Wife (about Hemingway’s first wife). There’s a lot of struggle in Mileva’s life (I mean, it’s about Einstein’s FIRST wife, so we know from the get go that things don’t end well) so I wouldn’t really call it a light/upliting read, but it’s definitely an interesting portrait of a woman mostly forgotten by history. I hate giving things ratings, so I’ll go with “Worth reading, but not an all time favorite”.