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2014 October 14


Before I get to the book I just finished, let’s talk about the one I read before it: The Goldfinch.

Ah, The Goldfinch.

I resisted it for so long. Too much hype. Too much talk. Some of it good, some of it bad. But all of it, simply too much.

There was no possible way this book could live up to my – or anyone’s  – expectations with all the anticipation that came along with it.

And it didn’t. At least for me, it didn’t.

With the writer’s previous book, The Secret History, which I chose to read first just to be an “against the mold” kind of gal, I felt like I invested time and energy and lots of “what the…?” moments but was given a gift in the end. The gift of an intriguing, well-written story that captivated me – and lost me a few times along the way – with its narrative, its writing and its conclusion.

With The Goldfinch, I felt like I invested a lot of time and energy and “what the…?” moments and in the end, I felt like I didn’t get much from it at all. Maybe it took me too long to burrow through it. Maybe it was all the talk, though I tried to ignore most of it going in. Maybe The Secret History was that much better.

And hey, maybe you will think – or did think – the opposite. Because a lot of people did.

Which brings me to the next read I checked off my list: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. This story became an “instant New York Times best-seller” largely in part to its origins: the young, esteemed writer passed away suddenly in a car crash in her early 20s and her family, mentors and writing teachers pulled together a collection of her fictional and non-fictional short stories into this posthumous collection.

Some of them are good, some of them are great. Some of them are just so-so. Of course you feel terrible saying that when you know the tragic ending behind the stories, but the reality is that some of them are good, some are great and some are so-so.

Do I suspect Ms. Keegan would have grown to have an incredible career as a writer? Absolutely. Was she a better writer than I will probably ever be? Yes. Should you run out and pick up this book? Maybe.

It won’t change your life, necessarily, but it changed hers and her loved ones’ lives with considerable measure, I am sure.

So perhaps that’s the best ending anyone could ask for?

Next up: Brain on Fire. I have had this one on my list for a long time and I am really hoping for a read that is going to rock my world. Hoping this is it. Will report back.

As always, please leave your favorite reads of the moment in the comments so I can add them to my list. And you can always see the ones I have on my radar on my Pinterest “books to read” board here

*disclosure: this post contains affiliate links

16 Responses
  1. October 14, 2014

    I always love to hear what others are reading. I liked The Goldfinch – I didn’t love it. There were some fabulous passages in that book, but they drowned in an overwritten and too long story. It’s too bad, because it really could’ve been spectacular.

    I’m reading The Signature of All Things right now. It’s good, although I feel like it suffers from the same lack of editing and too grand a scope as The Goldfinch did. My most recent favorite was All The Light We Cannot See, and I liked The Invention of Wings too.

    • WWGD permalink*
      October 14, 2014

      Awesome, will check them out Mary! Agreed – there were some amazing passages in Goldfinch. Just wish the story overall had captured me a little more…you should read The Secret History, if you haven’t!

  2. Pamela permalink
    October 14, 2014

    I am reading Station Eleven right now and can hardly put it down. Part if the reason may be it’s close connection to what’s going on right now with Ebola. It is not inconceivable that what happened in the book, could actually happen. And that’s scary.

    • WWGD permalink*
      October 14, 2014

      Ooh, thank you. Will check it out! Though ebola and enterovirus already keep me up at night 😉

  3. Erin permalink
    October 14, 2014

    I felt the same way about The Goldfinch. Meh. In some ways, I felt I was robbed of my precious time: I could have read two great books in the time I spent on Goldfinch. My book wraps up The Invention of Wings next week and we too tackle Brain on Fire for November.

    • WWGD permalink*
      October 14, 2014

      Nice, let me know what you think!

  4. Brynn permalink
    October 14, 2014

    I loved the Goldfinch. I loved how I just couldn’t put it down, and although the book was so long it didn’t feel that way to me.

    I just finished All the Light We Cannot See and felt like it was tough for me to get through. I’m reading Big Little Lies now, which is really easy and fun, but have already bought Brain on Fire as my next book! I can’t wait to discuss it with you when we’re both done.

    • WWGD permalink*
      October 14, 2014

      I love how much you love to read and to talk about what you’re reading. xx

  5. October 14, 2014

    I loved Marina Keegan’s book. Loved.

  6. October 14, 2014

    I felt the exact same way about the opposite of loneliness and also felt funny saying so. Awkward!

  7. October 14, 2014

    The Goldfinch and The Opposite of Loneliness have been on my to-read list for quite some time, but for some reason I continue to put them off….perhaps because I, too, am slightly turned off by too much hype. It so often leads to disappointment. Brain on Fire I HAVE read, though, and I could NOT put it down. Fantastic. Mesmerizing. Quick, fascinating read. You’ll love it, I am sure.

    • WWGD permalink*
      October 14, 2014

      Yay, excited to hear that. Can’t wait to dive in.

  8. Renée permalink
    October 16, 2014

    I was also very underwhelmed by The Goldfinch.

    The series I can’t put down is Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad – the first one is “In the Woods” and it is SO good. Her latest just came out last month and I haven’t started yet because I want to devote a weekend to devouring it.

  9. Lindsay permalink
    October 17, 2014

    I absolutely loved The Goldfinch, but I benefitted by really not hearing any hype (save Amazon reviews) before I read it. I loved it all but for me the opening scene at the Met was worth the price of admission – just an incredible piece of writing. Thanks for recommending The Secret History, it’s next on my list!

    I’m curious to see what you think of Brain on Fire. It was an interesting and quick read, but overall just didn’t do much for me. As a nurse I think I wanted it to be from a more medical point of view so the ‘meh’ factor for me is certainly not the author’s fault. (Though is it wrong for me to admit that I was also distracted by the fact that she worked for the New York Post?)

    Have you read The Dog Stars by Peter Heller? It’s quick and riveting, and set in the aftermath of an Ebola-type pandemic. I was not expecting to enjoy it and then couldn’t put it down and thought about it for months after I finished it. I’d highly recommend it!

  10. Kristin permalink
    October 18, 2014

    I agree about Goldfinch. Totally. I just finished Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng which I really enjoyed. I’m still thinking about the characters and find it hard to believe that they aren’t real people. I had the same experience with We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. Finished that about a month ago and am still thinking about the family.

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