Year 18, Book 3

3. Wannabe: Reckoning with the Pop Culture that Shape Me by Aisha Harris

NPR pop culture correspondant and co-host of the Pop Culture Hour Podcast, Aisha Harris writes about the pop culture of her childhood of the 90s in a series of essays. She examines how it has influenced her and how she pushes back against some of the messages it portrays even as she still loves it. I thought it was a really enjoyable book that will appeal to pop culture lovers, especially those people with a special love of 90s pop culture. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 18, Book 2

2. Honor by Thrity Umrigar

I liked Meena and Smita’s stories. I got annoyed at the end though when the author turned it into a love story for Smita and Mohan. It was sort of clear that it was going to go there from the beginning, but it felt very unnecessary and unrealistic to me as if it was added just to make the horrific things that happen in the rest of the story more palatable. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 18, Book 1

  1. Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, & Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott

Journalist Andrea Elliott followed a young girl, Dasani and her family for eight years of their lives first writing a feature in the New York Times and then continuing to follow their story and turning it into this book. It’s a really well written book, but it’s also entirely depressing how intractable the problems highlighted in it are. Jonathan Kozol was writing about the same things back in the 80s and it seems like no progress has been made. It may be an eye opening book for some people, but I have read a lot of similar books and this just made me depressed that nothing has changed. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 100

100. I Dare You to Love Me by Lori G. Matthews

This book was terrible and the only reason I even finished it was because it got me to my reading goal for the year. I guess it was supposed to be cute, sexy banter between the characters, but it just felt mean and in no way like these people would want to be together. I also hated that everyone was so obsessed with these characters getting together when it didn’t make any sense, especially when Danielle was already engaged to a man. It’s like none of them had any lives of their own. And I didn’t like the way that Danielle was cheating on her fiance who was barely a character. I’d make a hard pass on this one. I give it a 2 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 99

99. Murder in Miniature by Margaret Grace

I’m not usually one for cozy mysteries, but the title of this book reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books, The Dollhouse Murders, so I picked it up. I didn’t particularly care for it, but I’m not sure how much I can adequately review it since I don’t read a lot of books in this genre. I can’t say that I liked it that much, but it might be something that people who like cozy mysteries find enjoyable. It’s hard for me to say. I give it a 5 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 98

98. Camp Lost and Found by Georgia Beers

I usually really like Georgia Beers’ novels, but I thought this one seemed very boring and repetitive. There’s only so many times I need to read about people putting on joggers and drinking hot chocolate. Unfortunately not a very good book in my opinion. I give it a 5 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 97

97. These Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett

A really great book of essays by Ann Patchett. I definitely recommend reading if you like Ann Patchett, essays, or just good books. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 96

96. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

I absolutely adored this book. I was annoyed every time I had to put it down and go do something else. Sam and Sadie are childhood friends who lost touch for 6 years until they run into each other a T station near Harvard Square during college. They reconnect and begin a long friendship and partnership in which they design video games together. Although I’m not sure these characters are entirely believable as real people the way that they and their relationships are written feels so lived in. I loved spending time with them and in their world. I’m already sort of dreading what I think is the inevitable adaptation of this into a tv show or movie that is in no way going to capture what I loved about this book. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 95

95. The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

I read A Visit From the Goon Squad a long time ago and remember loving it, but remember literally nothing about what happens in it. I did not re-read it before I read The Candy House, so I’m sure that I would have gotten more out of this book if I had been able to make the connection between the two. I do remember feeling the exact same way about that book as I do about this one in that it’s really a series of interconnected short stories rather than a true novel, but the stories were intertwined in such a way that the narrative still feels compelled forward even though you are constantly switching characters so I didn’t mind even though I’m not a huge short story fan. I felt that way for most of the book anyway. About 3/4 of the way in it sort of jumps the track to a different narrative before circling back around at the end, but by then I had sort of the lost the thread and didn’t really care that much. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 94

94. A Tale of Two Princes by Eric Geron

This entire book was preposterous from the overall premise to the individual story parts. I would have quit reading it multiple times except I’m desperately trying to get to my goal of 100 books before the end of the year and didn’t want to waste any of the pages I had already read of this dumb book. I give it a 3 out of 10.