I should preface this review by stating I am a recently engaged young woman. Naturally, the title of Jo Piazza’s How to be Married caught my eye. I’m about to get married and have no idea “how to!”
I truly enjoyed traveling all over the world with Jo, and seeing that she asks the same questions I do. I loved hearing from other cultures about what is important to their relationships and keys for success. At times in the book, I wholeheartedly disagreed with the advice given. Nevertheless, I suppose it’s still useful to hear other people’s perspectives.
One thing I wish was different: the amount of time Jo and her husband have been together. As a woman about to marry my high school sweetheart who I’ve dated for seven years, I find it very easy to dismiss some of Jo’s personal advice. I know it’s her life and so she can’t change the amount of time she’s been with her husband… but I think I would have found more validity in someone whose relationship wasn’t quite so new.
Still, I thought it was fun and will be passing it along to some of my engaged friends!
Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.
“The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.” – Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
This was a quick, fun “read.” I put read in quotes because I actually listened to this on Audible, who produced a special performance of it, which was fantastic and really added to the experience. Murder on the Orient Express is witty, thought-provoking, and even a little bit scary at times.
Christie (obviously) does a wonderful job with character development. This novel has many caricatured characters. They are dramatic and opinionated, which makes the novel a little bit funny at times. I laughed out loud at this line: “If you will forgive me for being personal-I do not like your face, M. Ratchett.” Just picture Christie sitting there and typing that one out…
A good portion of Murder on the Orient Express takes the format of an interview between the detective and the various suspect allowing for Christie to create really vivid descriptions of each character for the reader. Because there were so many personalities, the story did get a little confusing at times. However, Christie creatively recaps the conversations, further clarifying and reiterating who each character is and their role in the story.
As in all classic detective novels, the big AHAH! moment came in all its drama and glory. I literally had a smile on my face during this part because it was so classic and yet so clever. Overall, Christie was able to invent funny and interesting characters who she brilliantly wove into a thrilling plot.
I got this novel to my “already read shelf” quickly because I am so excited to go see the movie in theaters now. Here’s the full movie trailer, you’ll see what I mean about all the characters:
A Man Called Ove (pronounced oo-veh) by Fredrik Backman tells the story of a “curmudgeon.” He’s a stickler for the rules, keeps a strict and simple way of life, and is quick to lose his temper. This is a tale of unlikely friendships and their profound impact on one old grump’s life. It’s a heartwarming novel that reminds us not to judge a book by its cover (or a person!).
“You only need one ray of light to chase all the shadows away.”
The novel illustrates some of life’s most important lessons, especially the importance of kindness. The above quote is a major theme in A Man Called Ove, reminding us all that compassion and patience can make the world of difference in someone’s life – and we might not even realize it. I think we all encounter a person like Ove in our lives and it can be difficult to show compassion for such personalities. However, A Man Called Ove shares how sometimes the oddest friendships are exactly what we need in life. From his belated wife, Sonja, to his pushy neighbor, Parvaneh, Ove’s path in life was forged by keeping an open (even if rigid and grumpy) heart. While Ove comes across several new and unlikely friends, my particular favorite is the relationship he forges with a neighborhood stray cat, who seems (to me) to be a symbol of Sonja.
Throughout the novel, we meet Sonia in flashbacks. In my opinion, this was the best part of the novel because Backman so beautifully articulates just how much Ove loved Sonia. I’ll leave a few of my favorite quotes describing her here:
“People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had.”
“Ove had never been asked how he lived before he met her. But if anyone had asked him, he would have answered that he didn’t.”
“He went through life with his hands firmly shoved into his pockets. She danced.”
This is probably one of my favorite books of all time and definitely a top read of my 2017 bookshelf. I read a digital version of A Man Called Ove for free from my local library, you can also get it here.
After reading the very intense Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I looked for a light-hearted love story – but apparently I didn’t read the description of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine carefully. Neverthless, I’m happy about the oversight.
Eleanor’s pretentious and witty attitude makes for a really funny and interesting character. Her rigid behavior acts ask both comical relief and and insight to the depth of her state of mind and past. I really appreciate the complexity of her personality. She’s funny and silly about romance, but at the same time she deals with an impossible mother, resulting in substance abuse and depression. I think the many facets of her personality are something many can relate to – a girl who splurges on a new look from “Bobbi Brown” excited about the prospect of meeting a cute musician could very well be the same girl who binge drinks herself into a suicidal state all within a week.
I also absolutely love Eleanor’s new and unlikely friend Raymond. Genuine and easy-going, Raymond is the kind of person I’d want to have as a friend too. It seems so important, considering Eleanor’s life, for her to meet a truly kind person. There’s comfort in a friend that understands the level of complexity of your past without needing all the details. Raymond gives Eleanor that space, but it doesn’t affect their friendship. Raymond also makes it easy for Eleanor to make new friends, another good trait to have in a loved one.
A love story of a different kind doesn’t come around as often as it should. This one is worth the read.
I listened to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine on Audible, also available at other bookstores.