Since this was the last week of school/first week of summer vacation, I had a strange (but lovely) week of reading.
What I Read This Week:
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a really fun read. I read Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist at the beginning of the school year, and LOVED it, so I was excited to read another book by the same authors. While I think I prefer Nick and Norah to Dash and Lily, there was a lot that I really enjoyed about this one. First of all, it was set in and around my neighborhood. A few pretty memorable encounters take place in Washington Square Park (which I walked through twice today) and Dash even goes to my supermarket (Morton Williams) on an ill-fated yogurt run.
I liked Dash and Lily--I feel like I would really have loved them when I was in high school, especially Lily--but I found that I liked the supporting characters better. I especially liked Dash's exuberant friend Boomer (I'm pretty sure at least 3/4 of his sentences ended with exclamation points) and Lily's great-aunt Ida, aka Mrs. Basil E.
This is a great Christmas story, and a great New York City story. If you're in the mood for one of those, you can't go wrong with this one.
Persuasion by Jane Austen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After reading For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, I decided I should re-read the source material. I like Persuasion better every time I read it, which I think has everything to do with the fact that the first time I read it, I was in college. As Goodreads points out, Anne Elliot is the oldest of Jane Austen's heroines. She's in her late twenties, and had an Austen-esque love affair when she was younger--but it didn't have the traditional happy ending. Persuasion picks up several years later, when Anne has had some time to reflect. Many of Austen's heroines are marked by greater thoughtfulness and maturity than those around them, but they still get to experience the first-big-love thing on the page. Anne's story is a bit different, which I think is why it took me a while to warm up to it. Now, though, I really enjoy Anne's sightly older and wiser take on everything. In particular, I think Anne's relationship with Lady Russell is really interesting. Anne's always looked up to and respected Lady Russell, especially because Anne's mother died when Anne was 14. Lady Russell is presented as a generally sensible, likable character--but we get to see Anne realize that that "sensible and likable" does not equal "infallible".
And of course, there's all the usual Austen: a whole range of goofy, outsized, occasionally vile, occasionally wonderful characters, and a slow-burning, swoonworthy romance. Oh, and an amazing letter. I definitely recommend this to Austen lovers...just know that it's a quieter novel than her others.
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