Paris Close’s February 2017 TBR: Celeste Ng, Jeffrey Eugenides and More
My February 2017 TBR list is going to zoom in on books about “losing yourself.” Whether it’s getting lost in the literal sense, or in cases of emotional or physical absence; I could really use the mental escape, nonetheless. Sleep has no longer become an option in recent weeks, what with all the upcoming projects I’ve planned with publishers lately. I’m just trying to get back into the swing of reading something I can really immerse myself in.
Last month, I ended up DNF’ing nearly all the books I set out to read. And while I did have success with In a Dark, Dark Wood, it was the only book on the list to jump-start my excitement in reading this year.
Despite how pathetic that is, I’m confident the four books I put on my reading queue this February will keep me motivated to tear through the pages:
The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides
Synopsis: The haunting, humorous and tender story of the brief lives of the five entrancing Lisbon sisters, The Virgin Suicides, now a major film, is Jeffrey Eugenides‘s classic debut novel.
The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters’ breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.
Thoughts: First confession: I watched the film adaptation of The Virgin Suicides before I ever knew there was a book. Now, here’s my second admission: I DID read parts of this book last summer—half of it, to be exact—but I DNF’d it. This wasn’t because I thought the book was no good but because I felt like there was so much stream of consciousness going on that I wasn’t interested in committing to something like that at the time.
However, the vantage point from which the story is told is what really kept me as interested in the book as I was. In fact, I could’ve finished it in a few days if I’d been more patient. But I think I’m at the right point in my life when I can devote the time and meditation this book requires.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, Cheryl Strayed
Synopsis: Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can’t pay the bills—and it can be great: you’ve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar—the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild—is the person thousands turn to for advice.
Tiny Beautiful Things brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond. Rich with humor, insight, compassion—and absolute honesty—this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.
Thoughts: Typically, I wouldn’t grab a book with a cover as bland as Tiny Beautiful Things. Okay, that was rude and maybe a bit meaningless, but you have to admit this isn’t the most appealing cover on the list. Thankfully, she has other editions that are much more gorgeous than this. But when I saw that this was one of Strayed’s works I didn’t think twice about picking it up. I fell so in love with Brave Enough last year; I already own a copy of Wild, and I checked out Torch from the library the other day. Case in point, I’m sold on anything this woman writes.
Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough
Synopsis: Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone. When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him? As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
Thoughts: I’ve been ogling this one for some time now, and so you can imagine my excitement when I noticed this was one of the books up for grabs for Book of the Month Club’s February 2017 selections. I even put a copy on reserve at the library! I’ve never been so anxious to read anything this much since Into the Water. People keep talking about the twist at the end, and you all know how much I like those fucking twists!
Not to mention, I’ve already flipped through some of the beginning pages and I’m VERY confident that this book will be something morbidly magnificent. I’m already Gone Girl vibes, you guys!
Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
Synopsis: Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
Thoughts: I don’t know why, but this book gives me very Thirteen Reasons Why vibes, which may have something to do with the fact that everything revolves around the secrets of a dead girl. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this book, and I owe much of my interest in this book to Joce of squibblesreads because she spoke so highly of it last year. I’m ready for it!
One of the Boys, Daniel Magariel
Synopsis: The three of them—a twelve-year-old boy, his older brother, their father—have won the war: the father’s term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave their Kansas home and drive through the night to Albuquerque, eager to begin again, united by the thrilling possibility of carving out a new life together. The boys go to school, join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile, their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. But soon the little missteps—the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters—become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching their father change, grow erratic, then violent.
Thoughts: Okay, I’ll be honest about this one: I picked this one up by accident the other day. Or maybe it could have been fate, who knows? Because as I was looking through my ARC shelf the other day, I noticed this tiny little orange book and thought, Hey, this little book doesn’t look intimidating at all! I was definitely mistaken, this book seems SCARY.
Reading the synopsis, this seems like one of those books that can take a quick left turn to Hell. And I am totally here for the ride. Plus, it’s not too often that I come across a paternal thriller, so it’ll be an interesting deviation from the thrillers—if I can call it that—I usually read.
*On a more unrelated note: Daniel Magariel‘s beard is quite handsome.
Have you read any of the books on this list?!
Tell us which books you’re most looking forward to reading in the comments below!
Be sure to keep up with the Paperback Paris Team’s monthly TBRs!
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