Mini-Reviews #5: Klara and the Sun, No One is Talking About This & Norse Mythology

Mini-Reviews is a blog series where I’ll be sharing mini reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately.  Each post will include 3 books I’ve recently read and will be grouped by genre (though we’re bound to get a hodgepodge post every once in a while!).  Let me know if you’ve read anything I’ve talked about or if you feel inspired to pick anything up after hearing my thoughts!  I also want to note that I’m attempting to do away with half stars this year and I’m going to use the official goodreads rating system which is based on enjoyment level (1 star = didn’t like it, 2 star = it was okay, 3 star = liked it, 4 star = really liked it, 5 star = it was amazing).

No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood – I always tend to read a literary fiction book right at the beginning of the year and the jacket copy on No One is Talking About This totally grabbed me.  It asks the question “are we all just going to keep doing this until we die?” in relation to posting on the internet (or the “portal” as it’s called in the book).  The book is written in a series of short paragraph sections which makes it a very quick read.  There were some passages in the first half of the book that really resonated with me and I so appreciate what the book was trying to do, but overall this one didn’t work for me.  I found the very specific style of portal prose to convey the point well, but it left me feeling exhausted and ultimately unsatisfied.  Going in, I knew that something awful would happen in the main character’s life causing her to return home to her family and disconnect from the portal.  I did not know it would involve her sister’s pregnancy.  I feel like it should be advertised more for those who need trigger warnings.  I do believe that what happened in the book happened to the author’s sister in real life so it’s hard for me to criticize the plot since it’s depicting someone’s actual experience.  But I can say that I did not enjoy reading about it.  This book is pretty depressing and it wasn’t the best start to the reading year in all honesty.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – Wow, can you tell from my last post and now this one that there’s a clear theme in the reads I’ve been choosing?  This is my first Ishiguro book and I’m so excited to read more of his work.  I really enjoyed Klara and the Sun and its examination of what it means to be human as told from the point of view of an AI named Klara.  This book was completely different than I was expecting and while there were some heavier themes within the story, I still found it to be compulsively readable.  I was very invested in Klara, the family she lived with, and the world around them.  If you’re a character driven reader who doesn’t mind going with the flow and accepting not having all the answers when it comes to worldbuilding, I would recommend this book.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – I can’t believe I let so much time elapse before finally reading Norse Mythology! I used to read Neil Gaiman books within days of publication but alas, this one came out back in 2017.  Andrew and I listened to the audiobook on a recent road trip and since it’s read by Neil himself, it’s absolutely delightful.  I even agreed to slow down the speed to 1.25x.  Norse Mythology is a collection of Norse myths retold in Neil Gaiman’s enthralling whimsical style.  Growing up, my grandfather always prefered Norse mythology to Greek mythology so I’ve been familiar with many of the stories since I was a kid.  That being said, this is a really accessible place to start if you don’t know anything outside of what you’ve seen in the MCU.  In this book, you’ll get to hear stories involving Loki, Thor, Odin, Freya and other lesser known gods.  Since it’s a collection of tales, there are some hits and some misses but overall I loved the collection as a whole.  Oh, and I especially enjoyed the introduction!

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