Saturday, June 13, 2015

suyb - may and june

So it turns out I was too lazy to write this post last month, so this month you get twice the fun! (P.S.- I know I'm 4 days late this month too. Get off my ass.)

Life According to Steph

I sometimes go on these kicks where I read a ton of books by the same author and/or are in the same series. I did that this/last month. I love Robin Cook-- nerdy medical mysteries make my heart happy-- and so I went on a binge of his Jack Stapleton series. I didn't read them all, and I sure didn't read them in order, but I did read 5: Intervention, Cure, Foreign Body, Blindsight, Chromosome 6, and Critical. I love them all and recommend anything written by Robin Cook, although I will admit this is one series where you're left wondering how the protagonist ALWAYS gets out of these impossible (and impossibly dangerous) situations. If you're good at suspension of disbelief, though, they're quite enjoyable.

Before/after/during all that, I actually read some other books by some other authors! Here are my thoughts on those:

In One Person - So sorry to all of you SUYB-ers who recommended this book, but I found it to be a little bit of a slog. I can't exactly put my finger on why. I liked the story, and, being John Irving, it was obviously well-written. But once I hit about halfway through, I kept checking the TOC and wondering, "Is it done yet?"

After Birth - You know those books that you put on your to-read list or your library hold list and then, by the time you've gotten around to them, you forget what they're about or why you wanted to read them in the first place? This book was like that for me. When I first started reading it, I thought I had put it on my list as a non-fiction, birth-y book. This obviously is not that (judging by "A novel" on the cover). I think maybe if I had gone into it with different expectations, I wouldn't have been so disappointed. As it was, I spent most of the book confused and wondering "What is this book, and why did I want to read it?"

Food: A Love Story - This book is laugh-out-loud funny. And, of course, anyone who writes an ode to food is tops in my book. I read the book, but I can see this being a fantastic audiobook. One of my favorites for the month; in fact, I'll be reading his other book, Dad is Fat, next month.

Popular - I really liked this book. I wonder what it would be like to read it as an angsty teenager, one the age of Maya. If you would really get the book's lessons or brush it off like everything that grown-ups tell you. Reading it as an adult, you find yourself nodding your head a lot and remembering when middle school and all of its trials and tribulations were your whole world. I thought a lot about how brave this girl was while reading it. I never would have had the intestinal fortitude. As a humorous side note, my middle school cafeteria was also striated by popularity level (and a VERY strict hierarchy it was)... is that how all middle schools work?

Zero to Five - Look at me! I finally read a baby/parenting book! I really liked this book, and am pretty sure I'll be shelling out the cash at some point to buy it. It's like Freakonomics for parenting infants and toddlers, with a healthy dose of personal anecdotes.

Some Girls - This book is about a girl who goes to work in a harem in Brunei (non-fiction). I felt the book was well-written,  but I definitely couldn't identify with the author. Not in a judgmental way, just like I could never imagine making any of those choices for myself. I think that's what kept me from really getting into it like I do with some books.

The Martian - Go straight to this book. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. I devoured this book in 5 hours. Still on the fence about whether or not I'm going to see the movie, but I could read this book again and again.

Do No Harm - This book was good. Each chapter was a little vignette about his time as a neurosurgeon, and I found it interesting to read (even if tangentially) about the health care system in the UK. It wasn't my favorite book ever, but it definitely kept my attention.

Inside the O'Briens - To paraphrase Barney Stinson, I give this book the ugliest of cries. Uglier than TFIOS, which is really saying something. It's a (fictional, thank FSM) story about a family whose world is rocked by the father's Huntington's Disease diagnosis. All the feels. Highly recommend it.

tl;dr synopsis? Read Food: A Love Story, The Martian, and Inside the O'Briens. You won't be disappointed!


  1. I totally agree with Inside The O'Briens. Such a great book and felt all the feels.

  2. YES to The Martian!!! One of my top 5 of the year. Inside the O'Breins is on hold at the library and I can't wait for it to come in!!!

  3. I'm glad you liked Popular!! I really enjoyed it too and found myself also cheering her on. No way I woulda' had the guts (or even thought!) to do the stuff she did. Super interesting/humorous read. Also, I just got on the wait-list for The Martian after seeing a preview for the movie this past weekend!!

  4. YES to the martian!! i am so happy everyone is loving it. and yes you need to see the movie, it looks so good!
    i didn't go to middle school lol so i can't answer that ;)
    i finished still alice (did you read that one?) on the trip and i am definitely adding inside the o'briens to my list.. ugly cries but well written? i can't say no!
    totally checking out the zero to five book. no shame.