Reading List: January 2020

I’ve started the year strong with some delightful books. Forgive my tardiness, but here are the books I read in January.

  1. We Have Always Been Here (Samra Habib)
  2. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman)

Curiously, I just realized both authors are not American (Habib was born in Pakistan and lives in Canada, and Honeyman lives in Scotland). I haven’t read many works by non-American authors recently, so this was an excellent exploration to start the year.

We Have Always Been Here is Habib’s passionately told memoir. I did not enjoy the disjointed narrative arc of her story, however. I felt she detailed some timeframes of her life well, but others seemed unpolished in comparison. I read this for my book club and really enjoyed hearing others’ perspectives on the narrative. Most of the group considered that the author might have decided to keep private, or at least mostly hidden, the facets of her life in the periods she grazed over. I still feel that it was odd that she would move forward with a memoir if that were the case,  but do not judge the story Habib shares (a compelling journey to understand her identifies as both Queer and Muslim), only how she told it.

A friend gave me her copy of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and assured me I would find it an enthralling read. I asked her what made the title character so interesting, but she only responded that I would find her “quirky” (a very apt description). I found the book enjoyable because Honeyman spent particular attention on character development. She plunges readers into an intimacy with Eleanor and her mundane life in a way that made me feel connected to her. It’s also good to note that I laughed out loud easily and often when reading, which made me realize I haven’t had that response to a book in a long time!

February is almost over, so know that I’ve got some great books to share about next time 🙂

[I am not compensated for my unsolicited opinion. Links are not affiliate.]

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