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Capsule Book Reviews No. 3: February 2015

I finished reading eight books in February (one was a graphic novel, one was a coffee table book), which means that I’ve caught up on my 2015 Reading Challenge! 0 to 8 books in 28 days is kind of pretty good, yeah? I haven’t done one of these posts in quite a while. I put book-ish thoughts in other list posts, but I feel like I should just lump them all together here. It’s a pity I’m only up to the third post as I enjoy writing them, but now’s a good a time as any to start again.

1 | The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

A proper review is in the works, but here are a few thoughts: a series of essays—a bulk of which examine our different capacities, in relation to other people—The Empathy Exams is an exploration of the human condition and how we treat, perceive, empathize with the “Other.” This appeals to the Atenean in me, but also the more human part of me.

Though there were some mediocre/slow-going pieces in the book, it’s become one of my favorites. I found myself wanting to re-read it in the middle of reading it. And if these words aren’t enough proof of my unwavering love for this beautiful book, here’s how much of it I’ve marked off as “important:”

CapsuleBookReviews3 - The Empathy Exams detail

2 | To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Man, this is what I mean when I say “good YA.” Like most other genres of books, YA is populated with trash. This is a gem among the garbage. Han’s protagonist, dreamy-eyed high schooler, Lara Jean, is humorous, kind of awkward, unfailingly romantic, and endearing in her naivete, and Han’s male characters/romantic interests (yes, plural!) are both charming and disarming, despite being foils of each other. The portrait of Lara Jean’s family is both painful and heartwarming.

I can’t wait for May, which is when the next book in this series comes out. Han left her readers with a cliffhanger. Luckily, someone pointed me in the direction of a blip of the continuation of that cliffhanger over here. Thanks, Lin!

3-5 | The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han

Inspired by Han’s inspired TatBILB, I purchased this series to read at the beach. Awful, awful, awful. I’m not sure why this got so much praise, but perhaps the reason why I hated these books so much is that I’m simply too old for this shit. If you want to hate-read something, the upside to this series is that they are page-turners.

For specifics, I’ve posted reviews on my GoodReads account: The Summer I Turned Pretty | It’s Not Summer Without You | We’ll Always Have Summer

6 | Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

This is a page-turner, and I finished it in two days. Sarie called it an “airplane book” and “Asian Gossip Girl,” which I suppose are accurate descriptors. Though I enjoyed reading, I’m not sure I’m invested enough at this point to read the sequel.

My GoodReads review of Crazy Rich Asians

7 | The Sandman Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman

The penultimate volume of Gaiman’s beloved classic series, The Kindly Ones fits all of the pieces from the last eight (TKO is the ninth) installments, and shows us the big picture, making the long and tedious journey worth the eventual heartbreak.

My GoodReads review of The Kindly Ones

8 | The World of PostSecret by Frank Warren

I’ve reviewed this here, but a few words: It’s been 10 years since PostSecret’s birth, and it’s still cathartic, familiar, and at turns, beautiful, horrifying, and sometimes both.

And those are my February reads. My favorites are The Empathy Exams, To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and The Kindly Ones… though I think you can tell by reading this post. Do share your favorite reads this year, so far. :)