Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham:
When I picked up this book, I was hoping for so many things: I was hoping that it would be just like Mindy Kaling's book. I was hoping it would capture the same feelings for me that watching Girls does: a hunger to watch more, maybe not in my best interest. Watching Girls is like watching a train-wreck - You can't look away, but at the same time, wonder if you should. I had hoped that this book would paint a clear and brilliant picture of Lena Dunham. As an author, and as a woman who loathes her own twitter account, I am both intrigued and put-off by Dunham. She's a little too smart, a little too crazy, a little too much like myself at my low times. In the extras on Girls, she seems very in control of her career and her life, very unlike the Hannah-mess she portrays in Girls.
Sad news: this book only confirmed my worst fears about Dunham; she is JUST like Hannah. Over-analytical, a hot mess, the type of person who assigns the deepest meaning to the most meaningless events, Dunham barrels through this book (and her own life) fearlessly, like a toddler out of control, overtired and furious. On on hand, it's brave to write about the unflattering years of your youth. On the other hand, this book really needed an editor who was brave enough to cut out the sometimes repetitive stories and endlessly sad sexual anecdotes and put the rest of the book into a logistical order. There were times when I laughed out-loud, there were times I thought about throwing the book into a fire. I appreciate her commentary on tonsil stones (I have them too!) and loved her wielding of colorful language when she leapt off a cliff into a lake in a moment of youthful stupidity and glory. When she was good, she was really good.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey:
Could the authors name be any more magical? Not only does she have the name of an elven ice queen, but this book was the most delicious, wondrous little treat, my favorite of the books listed by far. I fell hard into it, totally losing myself in the myth and the wonder of this fairy tale for grown-ups. The descriptions of this ice-cold Alaskan forest are so keen and crisp that I can feel the ice cracking between my teeth. Ivey weaves a beautifully epic tale of love, loss and magic, and leaves the reader never quite sure which area they are in at any given time. The characters were fleshed out and real, the landscape harsh and chilling, and the Snow Child...well, she will leave you breathless with her beauty and her brutally sad story. It's a story about marriage, friendship, and the fact that love doesn't always look the way you want it to. This is the perfect read to welcome the holiday season, tucked safely under a blanket as you lose yourself in this unflinchingly lovely story. When you open it's pages, its a small wonder that whorls of snow don't come tumbling out.
Friendship by Emily Gould:
Your conversations with your girlfriends were NEVER this dicey. Meet Amy and Bev, two terrible people and even worse friends to each other. As they stumble their way through a life that is both ridiculously easy and terribly hard at the same time, we get to watch as they grow as individuals - and apart as friends. Emily Gould has obviously experienced both the decline of the adult female friendship and has experience working in the new world of content and blogs and - does this all even mean ANYTHING-ness. I admired Bev and loathed Amy by the books end, but its safe to say that I loved the book through and through. The plot is very lose and easy, with nothing big at stake, but that's why it's perfect. Female friendships are complicated and as we grow into adulthood, those friendships are routinely tested, the source of much happiness and stress. There was a moment in the book where I actually clapped for Bev and said "That a girl!" Anti-heroines are hard to do without the reader turning sharply on the author, but I personally would love be Emily Gould's friend.