The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

It took me a day to read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and three days to process it. A book like this one begs to be ripped apart, to be broken down into its component parts and examined carefully.

Continue Reading February 3, 2021 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

Our Year in Reading Part 4: Best of the Best Edition

Time for our annual year-end tradition of wrapping up our year of reading and reflecting on the good, the bad, and…well, the 2020 of it all. We’ll be presenting our yearly retrospective in four parts this year.

Continue Reading December 31, 2020 at 7:59 am Leave a comment

Our Year in Reading Part 3: Good Times Edition

Time for our annual year-end tradition of wrapping up our year of reading and reflecting on the good, the bad, and…well, the 2020 of it all. We’ll be presenting our yearly retrospective in four parts this year.

Continue Reading December 30, 2020 at 7:52 am Leave a comment

Our Year in Reading Part 2: Sad Trombone Edition

Time for our annual year-end tradition of wrapping up our year of reading and reflecting on the good, the bad, and…well, the 2020 of it all. We’ll be presenting our yearly retrospective in four parts this year.

Continue Reading December 29, 2020 at 7:41 am Leave a comment

Our Year in Reading Part 1: 2020 Edition

Time for our annual year-end tradition of wrapping up our year of reading and reflecting on the good, the bad, and…well, the 2020 of it all. We’ll be presenting our yearly retrospective in four parts this year.

Continue Reading December 28, 2020 at 7:51 am 1 comment

Companion Reads: ‘A Circle of Quiet’ and ‘The Country of the Pointed Firs’

Sometimes you come across books that are soulmates — they complement each other so that each is heightened by the other and you can’t imagine reading one without the other. We’ve dubbed them Companion Reads.

Things are rough out there and it is probably no surprise to anyone who knows me that I would turn to books during this especially challenging spring. What was surprising, to me anyway, was how I unintentionally ended up reading books focused on one theme: community.

I recently read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet, the first of a quartet of memoirs by her called the Crosswicks Journals. It is hard to peg this book as “about” any one thing; L’Engle is a meandering memoirist, which makes reading the book feel like you’re wandering about in her brain. Strictly-speaking, the book is an assortment of disjointed anecdotes about her writing, her family, her faith, and various seminars she’s attended, not strung together in any particular way.

This may well sound rather dreadful, but despite her lack of of focus on a sentence-by-sentence level, L’Engle somehow ends up producing a remarkably coherent manifesto about the power of community, the importance of connection, and the value of belonging. It’s hard to think of a more timely sentiment for this moment. (more…)

April 14, 2020 at 8:15 am Leave a comment

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

71OtRfWWYbL

A few weeks ago, I got into a disagreement with a friend about The New Me by Halle Butler. I argued that while it’s probably a good book, I couldn’t get over the feeling that it was more a short story than a novel, that the aimlessness and emptiness of the protagonist’s life couldn’t really hold up the weight of its nearly 200 pages.

Consider me vindicated, because Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener does precisely that, but better. While The New Me showed us one extreme—a 20-something woman working as a temp in a furniture store—and Uncanny Valley shows us nearly the exact opposite, they share at their core a general feeling of malaise that plagues perhaps the majority of young, relatively privileged white women. And while The New Me makes us want to shake the protagonist and tell her to get on some medication and pull her life together, Uncanny Valley leaves us with the feeling that no matter how far we get in life, even if it’s to a six-figure tech job, nothing can fill the void inside us or make us valid in the eyes of the men who run the world.

(more…)

March 10, 2020 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Companion Reads: Exploration Station

This January, quite unintentionally, I embarked on a bookish journey of exploration through three books that paired together beautifully. Taken together, they covered about fifty years of exploration history and took me from the heat of the Amazon to the denseness of the Congo to the frozen emptiness of the Arctic.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
by David Grann

Quick-moving, engrossing, and fun, David Grann’s book tells the tale of Edwardian explorer Col. Fawcett and his quest to find a mythical lost city in the Amazon. After decades of travel in the region, Fawcett eventually disappeared in the jungle with his son in the 1920s, never to be seen again. What happened to him? Did he find the Lost City of Z?

As counterbalance to this historical mystery, Grann shares his own experience attempting to answer these questions—Grann is clear that he wants to find Fawcett, and not just biographically. Grann goes into the Amazon, retracing Fawcett’s last known whereabouts and seeking the Lost City of Z himself. (more…)

January 29, 2020 at 8:27 am Leave a comment

A Statistical Decade of Reading

Since 2001, I have been keeping a list of every single book I’ve ever read. It started as a Word document with just a date and a title.

In 2006, I added authors. Shortly thereafter, my fickle laptop hard drive died and I lost many months of books. I filled in the gaps with guesses. In 2012, to prevent such a loss in the future, I migrated to Google Docs.

In 2014, I added genres and, with the document becoming ever-more unwieldy, I moved over to a spreadsheet.

In 2018, I reformatted it a little so I could more easily pull year-over-year data about my reading habits. Now, at the end of this decade, I can look back and see how my reading has changed over the years and how I’ve evolved as a reader.

This visual hindsight delights my little readerly heart (and, needless to say, the data nerd in me). I can see my dip in reading after the 2016 election. I can see my efforts to read more graphic novels starting in 2012. I can see my surge in finished books thanks to tons of rereadings in 2010. It’s fun to look back and view my reading journey from 5,000 feet via a nice, clean bar chart.

So, as we enter a new decade, here are my three big takeaways from the past decade of reading: (more…)

December 31, 2019 at 4:02 pm 1 comment

Our Year in Reading: 2019 Edition

Time for our annual year-end tradition: a look back on the books we loved, were confused by, and/or finally got around to reading this year! Here are the picks for our 5th Annual Literary Transgressions Year in Reading:

Best Reread
Corey: For whatever reason, I did a lot of re-reading this year and loved making that time to revisit old favorites. In terms of best, though, I have to go with Dracula by Bram Stoker. It’s a classic I only read once, and in high school no less, so revisiting it as an adult with some lit crit to help me truly appreciate all its facets was incredible. Also, the idea of Dracula the character being extra-terrifying for contemporary readers because Stoker was playing on anti-immigrant sentiments of the time made the re-read feel especially relevant to today (and especially scary!).

Kate: Jane Eyre, hands down. It’s more wonderful each time I read it–and I think this is read number three? The entire book is far more feminist than one might expect from the author of The Professor–Jane is a magnificent character whose actions and feelings still resonate with a modern reader. Who among us hasn’t been told to “calm down” by a man when showing normal human emotions? It’s a masterwork.

 

Most Fun Read
Kate: Corey brings this up later, but I love a historical mystery! Lyndsay Faye’s The Gods of Gotham and Seven for a Secret were so good that I’ve resisted reading the final book in the trilogy because I don’t want it to be over. Faye does so much research into the world of her characters, and it shows in every word. In addition, Anna Lee Huber’s The Anatomist’s Wife is everything I love in a historical mystery: costumes, nobility, large houses, slow-burn romances, an eccentric lady artist who knows her way around a corpse, and a splash of “I have to be in your bedroom this late at night for Reasons.” Pure unadulterated fun.

Corey: I read all of V.E. Schwab’s Darker Shade of Magic trilogy to start the year and they were delightful. I was so glad I waited for all three to be published before reading the second two books and had a ball galloping through them on a few dark January nights.

 

The Shock and Awe Award for Most Surprising Read
Kate: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. I’m not sure what I expected, but not this little jewel of a book. It’s so sharp and witty, very heavy on the cutting dialogue, and with a happy ending. A new favorite–and thanks to Corey for the recommendation.

Corey: I’m not sure how else to phrase it, but I was quite surprised at how Oscar Wilde-y The Picture of Dorian Gray was! It is chock-a-block, nonstop bon mots and witticisms. Slightly exhausting, but once I got into the groove with it, I enjoyed it. (more…)

December 26, 2019 at 9:39 am 1 comment

Older Posts


Connect with LT

literarytransgressions (Gmail)

@LitTransgressor (Twitter)

LT RSS feed (Subscribe)

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 123 other followers

Categories

LT Archives

In accordance with FTC regulations…

...we must disclose that we are independent bloggers with no ties to authors, publishers, or advertisers. We are not given books or monetary compensation in return for favorable reviews or publicity.

Where we have received advance or complementary copies of books, it will be noted in the body of the entry, and will not affect our review or opinions in the slightest.