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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

(More) Books I Read in April & Whether or Not You Should Read Them.

Because when your library delivers, one book post is just not enough. 

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa by Michael Finkel

Plot: "The story begins in February of 2002, when a reporter in Oregon contacts New York Times Magazine writer Michael Finkel with a startling piece of news. A young, highly intelligent man named Christian Longo, on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for killing his entire family, has recently been captured in Mexico, where he'd taken on a new identity -- Michael Finkel of the New York Times.

The next day, on page A-3 of the Times, comes another bit of troubling news: a note, written by the paper's editors, explaining that Finkel has falsified parts of an investigative article and has been fired. This unlikely confluence sets the stage for a bizarre and intense relationship. After Longo's arrest, the only journalist the accused murderer will speak with is the real Michael Finkel. And as the months until Longo's trial tick away, the two men talk for dozens of hours on the telephone, meet in the jailhouse visiting room, and exchange nearly a thousand pages of handwritten letters.

With Longo insisting he can prove his innocence, Finkel strives to uncover what really happened to Longo's family, and his quest becomes less a reporting job than a psychological cat-and-mouse game -- sometimes redemptively honest, other times slyly manipulative. Finkel's pursuit pays off only at the end, when Longo, after a lifetime of deception, finally says what he wouldn't even admit in court -- the whole, true story. Or so it seems." -via Goodreads

Favorite quote: Mmm, not really a quotable book. 

My thoughts: I have no idea why I decided to read this book--I think that it was on a list I saw of books that were becoming movies this year, and the preview for the moving looked interesting. I finished the book in a day because I really just needed to know what was going on.

I had no idea about the real life trial this focused on, so it was fascinating to follow along all of the interviews and hearings. It was something along the lines of a true crime show, but written from a journalist's very unique perspective, which I enjoyed.

Should you read it? If you're into true crime stories, then sure, this one was interesting. But it's not a book to just sit down and enjoy. 

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Plot: "Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins this debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart."-via Goodreads

Favorite Quote:

“They never discussed it, but both came to understand it as a promise: he would always make sure there was a place for her. She would always be able to say, Someone is coming. I am not alone.” 

My thoughts: This book was stunning. The story telling, the prose, the tension, the way you got to peer into the life of a very flawed family while at the same time understanding them...all amazing. I loved it because while it was a mystery, the real story dealt more in the aftermath. I was more concerned with how the characters were all reacting than with figuring out the ending. 

My favorite part of this novel was that you got to understand all the characters at once--she flowed effortlessly from one person's thoughts to another, without saying "he thought this and then she thought this and then he thought this." It made me feel like I was sitting and listening to someone tell a story, and I could not put it down. It's Ng's debut novel and I cannot wait to see more from her. 

Should you read it? Yes.


  1. I already have Everything I never told you downloaded on my kindle. But this makes me want to put it on the top of my reading list!

  2. I have been on the fence about Everything I Never Told You but it seems like everyone really enjoys it when they read it. I might have to finally check it out!

  3. I wanted to yell COMMUNICATE! throughout Everything I Never Told You.

  4. I bought Everything I never told you the other day! Excited to read it now!

  5. These both sound riveting! I love your book reviews (:

  6. both of these sound really interesting, I'm going to have to check them out!

  7. I haven't heard of the first one, but I really enjoy Everything I Never Told You.

  8. I love these posts. I'm still writing my summer reading list... keep them coming!! :)

  9. I just listened to a This American Life segment on Michael Finkle. It sounds like an interesting case, but I didn't know he had written a book - thanks for the recommendations!

  10. I also enjoy your book reviews. Please keep them coming. I love your blog!

  11. I just put the second one on my holds list! Thank you so much for the recommendation I cannot wait to read it!

  12. Both of these sound really good!


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