Mini-Reviews – Scott Hawkins & Jenny Lawson

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mini-Reviews – Scott Hawkins & Jenny LawsonThe Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Published: 2015 by Crown
Pages: 388
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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So, it’s been a while since I blogged.  The space bar on my computer was broken, and I know y’all don’t want to read anentireblogpostthatlookslikethis.  That would be painful.  Now that I’m back, I’m going to dive in with some mini-reviews of books I’ve read semi-recently but haven’t gotten a chance to write dedicated posts for.  We’ll start with The Library at Mount Char.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins is a horror-ish novel that starts out in our own time.  We’re introduced to the protagonist, a young woman named Carolyn who has spent most of her life at the Library, along with several other children, under the tutelage of a man known only as Father.  But now, Father is missing, and Carolyn must figure out his secrets in order to discover his fate.

At first, it seems as if Carolyn was raised as part of a strange cult, bringing to mind a situation like in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  But as the story progresses, we begin to see that Father is more than he appears, and so is Carolyn herself.  Carolyn and her compatriots each have access to knowledge that most mortals don’t, and they must use their supernatural abilities in order to make things right.

My only real complaint about The Library at Mount Char was the unreliability of the narration.  There are things revealed later in the book from Carolyn’s point-of-view that we don’t know at the beginning of the book, but it seems from the way the story is told that Carolyn doesn’t know them either, even though it’s later revealed that she does.  Normally I love unreliable narrators, but in this instance it felt strange since there were so many point-of-view characters.

I read this book in one (very long) sitting, because once the mystery began to unravel, I couldn’t stop reading.  The Library at Mount Char is dark and gruesome, yet filled with magic.  If you don’t like gory scenes, you might have some issues reading this one.

Definitely recommended.

 

Mini-Reviews – Scott Hawkins & Jenny LawsonLet's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson
Published: 2013 by Penguin Group (USA)
Genres: Nonfiction
Pages: 370
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
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A few months ago, I read Lawson’s memoir Furiously Happy, which chronicled the author’s struggles with depression and mental illness in an irreverent yet thoughtful way.  It made a profound impact on how I think about my own life, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  It also left me wanting more, so I went back and read Lawson’s first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

While Furiously Happy focused almost entirely on Lawson’s battle with depression, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is more of a traditional memoir—if, of course, a traditional memoir involved taxidermy, fights against carrion, and having wild animals randomly thrown in your face.

Lawson talks about her childhood, beginning with her eccentric family, progressing all the way through high school, college, marriage, and children.  Her life is both ordinary and wonderful, and is a joy to read about.  She’s got an extremely positive attitude no matter what life throws at her, and she manages to find the absurdity in every situation she encounters, including the mundane details of daily life.

But really, the most telling thing I can say about the book is that the entire time I was reading it, I sat on my bed giggling maniacally.  Mike was very confused as to what I was reading that was so funny.  This book will make you laugh, as well as pull at your heartstrings.  I loved it, and can’t recommend it highly enough.

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