Attachments

Several months ago, I inherited my grandmother’s Kindle. While I have my fair share of mixed feelings about e-readers, there are some books that are just suited to the quick-click nature of a Kindle. Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments is one of those novels. I absolutely devoured this one–started and finished in less than twenty-four hours. It’s ever so consumable, which makes Attachments the perfect book to take with you poolside or to the beach this summer.

Beth and Jennifer are two friends on the cusp of their thirties, working at their local newspaper. Lincoln is the internet security officer tasked with monitoring the paper’s emails for inappropriate conduct. The girls are constantly breaking the rules by gossiping and sharing personal emails on the company’s time, but Lincoln can’t bring himself to send the pair a warning. Though he feels a dreadful amount of guilt over reading their emails, Lincoln feels a friendly connection towards Beth and Jennifer. His guilt ratchets up another notch when he realizes he’s falling for Beth without ever having met her in person. As Lincoln works up his courage in order to introduce himself, Beth and Jennifer are struggling to figure out what they want from their own lives.

 

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Despite the potentially off-putting topic of company surveillance, Attachments is one of the most adorable office dramas I’ve ever read. Set on the eve of Y2K fever, the novel still captivates those of us trying to define living in the digital era. Making connections through computers is something that many can relate to, though usually not without an online profile. It helps that the characters are also endearingly neurotic. You read their emails or their inner monologues and think to yourself that you’ve been there, you’ve had those conversations.

The chapters are pleasantly short, which enables the novel’s consumable quality. The perspectives alternate between Beth and Jennifer’s emails and Lincoln’s narration. As you read the girls’ emails, you know Lincoln has read them too, making the readers complicit in his prying. In a way, Attachments reminds me of one of my favorite Meg Cabot novels, The Boy Next Door. Cabot’s book is a longer read and is carried out entirely through emails, but the humor is something that both novels share. I snorted, chortled, and cackled through this book. The kind of involuntary laughs that take you by surprise and show that you really enjoyed something.

One of the things I appreciated most about this novel was that it was a coming of age story for all three main characters, and that they’re not teenagers. Too often when we hear the phrase “coming of age” in literature it is applied to teens, and while that may be an accurate experience for some, others take a bit longer to come into their own. At twenty-three, I’m still trying to figure things out for myself, and it was comforting to read about characters in their late twenties doing the same. Lincoln’s still living with his mother, Beth is stuck in a dead-end relationship, and Jennifer is battling the societal pressure to become a mom. Each character makes strides in discovering what it means to be in a family or a relationship, but they make mistakes too. As with life, their mistakes are just as important as their successes.

In terms of trouble spots, I only had one major problem throughout the story. Most authors give you sufficient character description to bring a person to life without being too explicit. Rowell didn’t give me enough physical description, or rather she gave me conflicting descriptions. One character would describe him/herself and it would be laden with their own insecurities. Then the character would be described by another as really attractive. While this duel expression is likely honest to how we see ourselves, it threw me off. I struggled through most of the book to get a firm image of Beth and Lincoln in my mind. Obviously I got through the book just fine, but this one little snag drove me nuts.

At the end of the day, Attachments is fluff. If it were food it would be meringue: melt in your mouth sweet. It’s not enough to fill you up, but you’re glad you ate it. This is Rowell’s first novel, so I’d like to see how she has developed her style since Attachments‘ publication. Her other titles include Eleanor and Park and Fangirl. I’d expect them to be equally engaging.

Read in the Sun, Read in the Shade

One thing I always associate with summertime is the leisure to read what you please. During the school year, I try to read for myself a bit, but my time is dominated by what I need to read rather than what I want to read. This week’s Broke and the Bookish meme is dedicated to the books we aim to read this summer. This summer feels like it’s going by faster than ever, so I’d better get started.

*All links from here on lead to Goodreads.com*

Ready Player One

  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: This has been an intriguing item on my TBR list for many months. It’s set in a dystopian future where people plug into a virtual reality to live a better life. Inside this virtual utopia are puzzles made by its 1980’s obsessed creator; puzzles that could lead to a vast fortune if solved. So it’s a pop-culture themed mystery. I’m already excited.     shadow-of-night
  2. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness: I can hardly wait to crack this one open. Harkness’ first novel, The Discovery of Witches, was one I happily devoured this spring in my limited free time. The story thrives in both past and present with a paranormal bent, as lead character Diana Bishop is both a historian and a witch. There’s also a decent romantic sub-plot. I patiently waited for Shadow to come out in paperback and even pre-ordered it on Amazon. This novel should pick up where the last left off, and I cannot wait.AFeastForCrows
  3. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin: If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ve been able to track my obsession with this series. It’s been about a year, and I’ve gone through the first three books. I’m really drawn to Martin’s characters–even the ones that are deplorable–and am always ready for a return journey to Westeros.

    (borrowed from Ms. Rowell's site)

    (borrowed from Ms. Rowell’s site)

  4. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell: This next book seems like the epitome of summer fluff. Two female coworkers know better than to share personal emails through their work account, but just can’t seem to help themselves. Security officer, Lincoln, discovers the ladies’ interactions and knows he should report them, but he’s unaccountably charmed by their banter and starts to fall for one of them. See? Fluff! I love it. And it seems like the perfect book to take to the beach.Three Musketeers
  5. The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas: Oi. I realize I’m reaching high with this one. It’s another hefty book, but I’ve always wanted to read Dumas unabridged. As a kid, I was familiar with the basic story and it always captured my imagination. As an adult, it continues to hold a special place in my heart. So if I’m feeling brave, I’ll tackle Dumas’ first in the series this summer.FilmClub
  6. The Film Club by David Gilmour: A wonderful nonfiction piece about a father making a bargain with his fifteen-year-old son. Gilmour had no idea how to reach his son, who was failing out of school. The only thing he knows is film, so that becomes the author’s solution. His son can drop out of school if he agrees to watch and discuss three films a week with his father. Gilmour’s memoirs cover the three-year span of their agreement. I picked it up at a bookstore and haven’t had the time to dedicate to it since.Y the Last Man
  7. Y: The Last Man, Vol.1 by Brian K Vaughan: Recently, I got back into comic books, and the clerk at my local store suggested I check out this series. It chronicles the adventures of Yorrick, who is apparently the last man on Earth after a disease wiped out all those with Y chromosomes. If it’s good, then I’ll have an awesome new series to get into.World_War_Z_book_cover
  8. World War Z by Max Brooks: Several of my guy-friends have been after me to read this one for a good long while. Plus the film comes out soon. Most of what I’ve heard about the film is that it is nothing like book. With that in mind, I’m not sure if I want to read the book before or after I see the movie. Either way, the idea of the zombie apocalypse will probably terrify me.The_Notebook_Cover
  9. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks: This is another one of those books I just feel compelled to read. I loved the movie, and now feel like I ought to read the book. I tried reading it many years ago–high school, maybe–and it didn’t grab me at the time. But my taste as a reader has grown since then, so I thought I’d give it another try.SpoonRiver
  10. Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters: Every character in this story is dead. And, no, it’s not related to zombies. This is a poetry collection where those buried in Spoon River have the chance to tell their stories. Originally published serially in 1914, this collection still holds its own. I want to get back into reading poetry more frequently, and this will be my start.

There is my TBR list for the summer. I’ll likely diverge from it as the mood strikes, but I hope to get a few of them crossed off. When I created a fall TBR back in September, I ended up reading four of the ten I named. The other six are still books I’d love to turn the pages of however. I’ll get around to it all eventually; at least, that’s every reader’s favorite little lie. We’ll see how many books from this list I can get through this summer.

Good luck on your summer TBRs and enjoy!