The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee BenderPlot: "On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother—her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother—tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose.
The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden—her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern." -via goodreads
“We hit the sidewalk, and dropped hands. How I wished, right then, that the whole world was a street.”
My Thoughts: This is an extremely creative story. It's whimsical and magical and moving, and I think there is a certain type of reader that will fall in love with it. Just not me. The ending left me uneasy, unsatisfied in a bit of a depressing way, but I think that's what she was going for. I also hated the lack of quotation marks. I understood what she was going for, but it made me lose track of who was talking or if anyone was talking at all, and I didn't like that.
It's a story by an incredibly talented author who has a stunning way with words, and it does sweep you up. I just think it's a book for a very particular type of reader.
Should you read it? No. But that's just my opinion. If someone who knows you and your taste in books recommends it, then read it!
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, "The Opposite of Loneliness" went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.
Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Lonelinessis an assemblage of Marina's essays and stories that, like The Last Lecture, articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world."
“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating from college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”
My Thoughts: It's impossible to read this book without feeling incredibly inspired to get up and accomplish what you've always wanted to. This book is a beautiful way to honor her memory, but it's also full of really good stories and essays. It reminded me of the nights I used to spend swapping essays with other people from the English department, getting that small feeling of Wow, that's beautiful. Yes, I feel that way too!
If nothing else, at least read the essay that went viral. It's a heartbreaking reminder that every day should be lived, because you never know how much time you have to leave your mark. I wrote about that here right after finishing this book.
Should you read it? Yes.
Paper Towns by John Green
Plot: "Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew..." -via Goodreads
“This was the first time in my life that so many things would never happen again.”
My Thoughts: Paper Towns is absolute magic. Pure, wonderful, awkward, real magic.
There are three reasons you need to read this book:
1. It's becoming a movie and will be out in July. Read the book first, because duh.
2. John Green wrote it. Really, that could be reasons 1-3.
3. It perfectly sums up the awkwardness of growing up and the need for something different and the disappointment that is often life.
Hands down, my favorite read of April. It gave me major book-hangover. I couldn't read anything else for a few days because this one was just SO FREAKING GOOD.
Should you read it? Absolutely yes.
What have you been reading?