As promised, I wanted to share my thoughts on the books that I read in December. Let’s jump right in, shall we?
1. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart – Hmm, this book is a little bit hard to describe. It’s set in New York City, takes place in the not-so-distant future, and focuses on the love story of Lenny (a middle-aged average-looking guy obsessed with staying young) and Eunice (a much younger beautiful Korean girl). In this future society, technology dominates- books are considered “artifacts”- and the youth are revered. Eunice’s youth is part of the reason why Lenny falls in love with her and when things are good between them, he feels younger and more alive. However, when the relationship begins its inevitable downward spiral (not that it started off on such a high note), Lenny really suffers and you feel bad for him. The story is pretty interesting; however, some parts of it dragged for me and on the whole it was rather depressing. My roommate quipped, “Couldn’t you tell that from the title of the book?” but I guess I was still naively hopeful that things might end on a happier note.
2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling- If you’ve read Bossypants by Tina Fey, then I can say to you that this book has a very similar style. Mindy shares some details from her life in a series of brief essays, like how she got started in the industry and her first work experiences when she moved to New York City. If you like Mindy and you’re looking for a light, breezy read then this book will be a good fit.
3. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson- When you find a book on the $1 shelf at your local bookstore, you’re taking a gamble because you may have just found it randomly without any prior recommendations. That’s exactly how I found this book- on a quick visit to the bookstore to pick up some reading material for my trip home to California. Well I think I gambled well because I really enjoyed this book. It’s a love story between a traditional English gentleman, Major Pettigrew, and Mrs. Ali, the local shopkeeper in their small village in England. It’s not love at first sight with these two, but you’ll want to follow along and root for them as they develop from acquaintances to friends to something more.
4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern- Eli tweeted that she was reading this novel at the perfect time for me. I was at home on break and looking for something to read since I had finished the books I brought with me and the local library was closed. First of all, there’s a mysterious circus that appears without warning and is only open at night. Behind the scenes, unknown to the regular circus-goers, two powerful magicians named Celia and Marco are involved in a battle. The problem is that neither of them knows how the battle will end or what the prize is. Also, although they know that they should be enemies, they can’t help but be drawn to each other. The ending isn’t particularly surprising, but Morgenstern’s descriptions are delightfully detailed and each character is carefully crafted. I had a hard time putting this book down and I could totally see this book being made into a movie!