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Tag: fiction

The Girls by Emma Cline (Review)

The Girls by Emma Cline (Review)

The Girls by Emma Cline is the type of book that is so exceptional, I almost feel like I’m doing it a disservice by blogging about it. I don’t usually place too much emphasis on the literary versus the non-literary (e.g. genre works, or “just […]

10 Reasons to Read Outlander

10 Reasons to Read Outlander

Outlander was published in 1991, so while it isn’t a brand new book, it is currently enjoying a resurgence due to the TV adaptation of the series. The historical fiction novel is adventure, romance, and even science fiction all in one. My mom liked it, […]

Book Review: Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

Book Review: Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

I rarely blog about books that I read for school; although there probably is a niche market for Henry James reviews, somehow I think that the public is more interested in contemporary literature. However, Astonish Me is a 2014 novel that one of my professors used in the classroom. Even though it was required reading, it felt like reading for fun.

Maggie Shipstead wrote this novel in chapter installments, which show snapshots of a family’s drama. Joan, a ballet dancer and our protagonist, falls in love with the fiery Russian ballet superstar Arslan Rusakov. Joan helps Arslan to defect from the USSR, and the two share a tumultuous and brief romantic affair as Arslan adjusts to life in New York City. An unplanned preganancy  leads Joan to marry Jacob, her high school friend who has been in love with her since his teens. Together, Joan and Jacob raise Harry, whose aptitude for ballet soon involves all who love him. This novel investigates a series of generational romances and relationships, with characters who transform and grow before the reader’s eyes. With the beautiful backdrop of Paris, New York, and Southern California, the novel is a pleasurable piece of fiction with a literary twist.

This book was a page turner, and I loved watching the characters develop over the span of the story. There were some limitations to Shipstead’s style: the story was out of order, and it only showed pieces of the character’s lives over a few decades. There were times when I was left wanting more, but that ultimately speaks to how much I enjoyed the novel.

Backstage Pass: Stage Makeup for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Backstage Pass: Stage Makeup for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

My relationship with stage makeup has been going strong since I was in the third grade, and I performed in my first musical, Beauty-Loo and the Country Beast. I performed in a variety of theater productions until I completed high school, but after my graduation I […]

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Jessica Knoll’s 2015 novel Luckiest Girl Alive bears a quote from Megan Abbott, author of The Fever, raving “with the cunning and verve of Gillian Flynn but with an intensity all its own.” Gillian Flynn’s name is in large print, and sends an obvious message: read this […]

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines was the fifth and final John Green novel I have read (along with Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Will Grayson). I think it is one of his better novels, though all of his novels are good. (I might do a post ranking the John Green novels in my eyes another day).

An Abundance of Katherines is similar to John Green’s novels in a few ways; we see some familiar character types and themes. For example, the narrator is a romantically-frustrated, sweet-but-awkward teenage boy, and the novel discusses themes like sincerity and popularity within a high school context. However, this novel focuses on a different setting than any of his other novels, as it takes place in a small town. It is also a novel about summertime, and John Green’s other novels take place during the school year.

This is one of John Green’s most sophisticated novels in terms of formal devices. Green does an excellent job at incorporating fun and quirky footnotes into An Abundance of Katherines. The premise of the story itself is slightly fantastic, and this novel is slightly less realistic than some of Green’s other pieces. Green has a distinct style, and An Abundance of Katherines is similar in subject and tone to Green’s other works.

An Abundance of Katherines follows the adventures of Colin Singleton and his friend Hassan, an unlikely duo. Colin is a prodigy (not a genius, as he will tell you) who had a proclivity for Katherines. In fact, he has dated 19 girls named Katherine, but with a broken heart he sets out on a road trip that stops serendipitously in Gutshot, Tennessee. An unusual job opportunity and the promise of friendship lead Colin and Hassan to spend a summer in Gutshot, adventuring and, in true John Green fashion, coming-of-age.

 

This book gets  better and better as it goes, and I’m glad I read it. I think it is John Green at it’s best, and I would recommend it to anybody who enjoys a good YA novel or to readers who are interested in the use of formal devices in contemporary fiction.

 

Montana Sky by Nora Roberts

Montana Sky by Nora Roberts

I read this book over my Christmas vacation, and while I was never an avid romance reader I decided I wanted to start consuming more books in the genre, since I do love a good romantic story. I selected Montana Sky because I’m fascinated with Montana. I’ve […]

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You (Book Review)

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You (Book Review)

I had little to no expectations for Courtney Maum’s novel, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, but the interesting cover art and the promising synopsis (as well as the $2.00 used-book price I was offered) led me to purchase the novel. I was pleasantly […]