I was itching for a classic fantasy read so it only seemed natural to pick up one of the most classic books in the genre – Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. She gets a lot of love on /r/books so I figured it was as good a choice as any, but it turned out to be just meh for me.
I listen to a lot of podcasts – a lot! – so I started a series rounding up the most interesting episodes I’ve heard recently. There were some great shows this week! Among others, there was America’s high school math curriculum and whether it works or not, the history of a polygamous “utopia” that turned into a famous tableware company (seriously), and the massive problem of millions of feral hogs running loose in the country. Yep, feral hogs.
I love this prompt since it forced me to go through my GIANT TBR shelf on Goodreads and really think about the books I added. More often than not, I’ve long forgotten why I added something, so if I rediscover and am still excited about it, there’s a good chance it really belongs! This week, I picked an action-filled classic, a natural history book, and finally a cult-favorite cookbook despite having no photographs.
I did not enjoy this book and don’t understand the praise it got, but you have to admire Elif Batuman for having the panache to give her debut novel the same name as one of the most notable Russian pieces of literature.
It’s not often I get book hangovers – usually instead of dwelling with the characters a little longer, I’m ready to get going on the next book already. BUT sometimes there are a couple of arresting works that simply demand to be analyzed more thoughtfully, that require a few more days of sitting on everything that happened and letting the story soak into your bones. Typically my hangover process is: have a good cry over it (even if the book isn’t outright sad, great books often make me feel so much emotion that I need to let it all out somehow), furiously google critics’ reviews and interviews with the author, read all the posts I can find about it on /r/books, and then maybe write a review if I want to spend a little more time with it. The last three books I felt this way with:
I liked this sequel, but sadly it wasn’t as good as the first one (then again, how often IS a sequel as good as the original??). This book is just all over the place, introducing tons of new people, places, designer names, family ties, etc. I couldn’t keep track of them all and after a while just rolled with it and enjoyed the story lol. I was surprised by how little the plot centers on Rachel and Nick – instead of being the main focus, their story is just one of several throughout the book. Absolute favorite chapter was the notes Corinna sent Kitty about how to look and act more high-class 😂
Something that REALLY annoys me about both books though is how there’s always 1-2 women who turn into shrieking bitches over some dumb plot point about social status/prestige/reputation. In Crazy Rich Asians it was Eleanor, and in this book it’s Mrs. Bao and Colette. It’s sooo not a look and I hate this stereotype that Chinese women can just go off at any time. Why is it never one of the men, who are invariably all calm and collected?!
I really wanted to like this more! I’ve been seeing it pop up a lot on Bookstagram and I wanted a light, cute read, so this was seemingly the perfect choice for a chilly winter weekend. The book goes by quick, and while the concept still is really cute to me, the characters and constant POV flip-flopping could’ve been better.