Beckie reads The Dinner by Herman Koch

Why did you read this book? It’s on The Morning News’ Tournament of Books shortlist. Also, it was described as “a European Gone Girl”.

Has Jeremy read it? No.

42-word review: More We Need to Talk About Kevin than Gone Girl. The titular dinner involves two brothers and their wives discussing their children. The (very) slowly growing creepiness was engaging enough to read it in one evening, but it wasn’t quite satisfying.

Overall rating: 3 wine glasses (out of 5)

Beckie reads The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Why did you read this book? It’s on the shortlist for The Morning News’ Tournament of Books.

Has Jeremy read it? No.

42-word review: The aftermath of one brother’s pro-revolutionary actions in 1960s India. I kept expecting new character perspectives to add emotional depth to the events previously just sketched out, but they all just continued in their unchanging insular states (even through major life events).

Overall rating: 3 ponds (out of 5) (I had trouble even thinking of something to use as a rating because I found this so bland)


Beckie reads The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman

Why did you read this book? It was on the kindle app, and it sounded interesting. The subtitle is “Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking”, and I certainly hate all that “anything bad that happens is your own fault for not being positive enough”

Has Jeremy read it? Yes.

42-word review: Author tries out stoicism, buddhism and other approaches to accepting uncertainty and failure and being happy anyway. It’s not anything groundbreaking, but it’s an easy-to-read summary of different perspectives on happiness. I found the parts on survivor bias and insecurity most interesting.

Overall rating: 3 smiley faces (out of 5)


Check this out

My favourite lolcat genre involves invisible props, so I enjoyed this compilation of cats who should be competing in the winter Olympics, despite their invisible equipment.

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, Divergent etc, catch up on all your dystopian YA reading in one post.

Another quality offering from The Toast: erotic NYT crossword fanfic (SFW).

Speaking of toast, apparently artisanal toast is the latest hipster craze. This article on the origins of the trend is surprisingly moving.

Jeremy reads The Last Dead Girl by Harry Dolan

Why did you read this book? I really liked this guy’s first book, Bad Things Happen. I didn’t like his follow-up so much, but still decided to give this a go.

Has Beckie read it? No, she’s not into crime stuff so much unless it’s Kate Atkinson or car reading.

42 word review: Guy’s girlfriend gets murdered. Turns out she was investigating another murder herself for university’s Innocence Project, and of course everything ends up connected. Twisty plot with more good twists than bad — but some are bad — and good-humored, better-than-pulp-but-not-that-much-better writing.

Selected quotes:

  • He glared at me. “You’ve dodged a bullet. Stop trying to get back in front of it.”
  • She put it back on the shelf and took down the empty pill bottle.
    “Ambien,” she said. “Is this another clue?”
    “It might be. It’s a kind of sleeping pill, isn’t it?”
    She nodded. “A strong one. It can cause sleepwalking. Blackouts. Memory loss. It’s nothing you want to mess around with.”

Overall rating: 3 discarded popsicle sticks (out of 5)