Category: Explore

Explore: January 2018

Explore: January 2018

Andrew Neel

I don’t want to tie myself down to anything in particular besides doing book reviews at the moment so I may not do one of these every month; however, there have been a few links and posts of note that I wanted to write about.  I also have a draft for a review of The Underground Railroad but I want to take a little extra time to make sure that my language is culturally-appropriate, so there won’t be a book review posted today.  Instead, here are a few bookish things that struck my fancy of the last few weeks.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
If you’ve been around the last few months or poked around in my archives, you may have seen that I was less than enthused about Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine.  Part of the problem for me was that the book was overhyped and Eleanor felt overdone, like Honeyman was trying just a little too hard.  Though the book has been out for several moths, The Guardian recently did a post on the author and how Eleanor came to be.  I have to admit, it warmed my feelings towards Eleanor.

The full article can be found here.  I particularly loved her noting that Eleanor came out of a story she read about loneliness and that, even for all she survived, Eleanor retained agency over her own life.  Eleanor was many things, but she was never a victim.

My Absolute Darling
A few weeks ago the amazing Roxane Gay posted her wrap up of the best and worst books of 2017 on her Tumblr.  Her summation of My Absolute Darling made me feel vindicated– “The Book I Hated Most, For Excellent Reasons I Explain in My Goodreads Review and That I WIll Summarize by Saying NO NOPE NO Because For One the Protagonist Scoops Semen Out of Her Vagina With Alarming Frequency (WTF DUDE? COME ON)”  Roxane Gay agrees with me that you should just skip that one.

Her list also moved Pachinko up my on TBR and bumped Tom Hanks’s Uncommon Type down a few notches.  Gay’s own book remains on my TBR but I’m nervous about picking it up.  I’ve heard Hunger is amazing but brutal and I’ve got to be in the right place for that kind of book.

Beartown Sequel
I saw a post on Instagram this week announcing a sequel to Beartown that makes me simultaneously jump up and down and bite my nails for fear it won’t live up to it’s predecessor.  Us Against You returns to Beartown where the hockey team is being disbanded.  I’m thrilled to see that Amat and Benji will be back.  The book comes out in June 2018 and you can bet I’ll be trolling social media for advance copy giveaways.  (Sorry in advance when I tag all of my Instagram followers in the book giveaways.)

The Airing of Grief
Finally, in non-bookish news–Through a somewhat strange set of circumstances almost nine years ago now, I met musician Derek Webb and over the intervening years, he’s became something of a friend.  We wound up going through our divorces at the same time and I found that just knowing he was out there, going through both a physical and spiritual divorce at the same time to be comforting.  There is value in knowing we’re not alone in what we’re going through.

He’s taken his experiences and created a platform at The Airing of Grief to host diverse voices from people who have or are currently deconstructing/reconstructing their Christian faith.  Though I’m anonymous in the podcast and won’t be sharing widely that it’s me, I share a bit of my story on Episode Ten that went live this week.  Derek was gracious, even though I clearly talked over my allotted ten minutes (oops).  If you’ve been left wondering whether you have a place in the church anymore (or even want one), I would recommend The Airing of Grief to you.