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  • Writer's pictureEmily

Alphabet Reading Challenge: s, t, u, w

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

Strong, Anthony M- The Haunting of Willow House

Tarkington, Booth- The Magnificent Ambersons

Unsworth, Emma Jane- Grown Ups

Walker, Sarai- Dietland

I read/listened to The Haunting of Willow House back in October, so I wrote it up then in a post of my spooky season reads.

The Magnificent Ambersons: A fantastic portrayal of an awful spoilt brat, a boy so annoying that his entire town is watching him, hoping he gets it. An interesting story of change, as automobiles and factories upend one family's wealth and all the expectations of its youngest member. Occasionally very funny. It was written in 1918, but some of the conversations are exactly like those had whenever a town or an industry is dying. The main character honestly reminded me of Donald Trump sometimes. Inarticulate, arrogant, snobbish, image-obsessed, bullying. Some racist language. To be expected in a book of this time, but it's still disappointing in an otherwise enjoyable book.

Grown Ups: I had to give up on this book. Maybe it's a generational thing. The first 30 pages are mostly about a young woman obsessing over a social media post. I just can't.

Dietland: Audiobook narrator was Tara Sands. I watched a few episodes of the TV show based on this book and got curious. They invented at least one character for the show and made another minor character a bigger part of the story. The book is about a few different things. For one, the main character is overweight and constantly dieting; she's struggled with this since she was a teenager. She has decided to get her stomach stapled. Her job is to answer mail sent to the editor of a teen magazine. It's like writing an advice column but the answers just get sent to the girls and not printed. So she's also wading through a flood of teenage girl problems all the time. There's alot of cutting. At the same time, the big thing in the news is a terrorist group targeting misogynists. Usually bad men, but also the publisher of one British publication that always prints a photo of a topless girl. The plot for the main character gets going when she realizes that she is being followed. There's alot going on, and some of it's funny and some of the things that the bad guys are being punished for are hard to read. The cover of the book that I read was a cupcake with a cherry-colored grenade on top, which I thought was apt. It's pretty crazy. I listened to an audiobook and the narration was fine, but there were a few parts that would have been better in print, sometimes bc it was repetitious to make a point and sometimes I felt squeamish and could have gotten past it faster. In a way, this is like the books that get on my nerves because the MC does her hair a different way and gets a new outlook and everything is peachy, but it's turned around. The main character's new outlook is a feminist awakening and she starts to like herself and dislike everyone else more. I'm linking a paperback, but has the audio; it's just on backorder.

I'm still working on my book for V (On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous). I'm not enjoying it, but I don't want to quit it either. I like the main character and want to know what happens to him. I'm determined to finish it this month (Dec. 21) and write up the other three books I need to read to finish the alphabet reading challenge. I think that the other three books will be more enjoyable and/or easier to quit.


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