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New Year, New Books

Here we are, two weeks into the New Year. And here I am, blogging again (yay!) and two weeks into my New Years Resolution!

I never keep resolutions, so this year I thought long and hard about something I really thought I could keep, something that would be good for me. With no immediate travel plans on the horizon this year (thanks grad school for making me hella broke), I've decided to travel the world through books this year!

That's right. Yours truly has decided to read a book a week this year, each one in a different location, so I can travel all over the place without having to actually pay to go anywhere!

The only rules I set for myself in this 52 traveling book resolution is that they have to be books I haven't read before. No revisiting old favorites, only expanding my horizons with new literature.

So, the New Year is two weeks young, and I am two books in already! It's been a challenge to put my phone down and pick up a book, but I've loved exploring two new cities in the two books I've read so far! So, without further ado, let me introduce Skippy and Eleanor, the two protagonists I've spent the past two weeks with!

Book 1. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

Main Character: Daniel "Skippy" Juster

Location: Seabrook College, near Dublin, Ireland

Skippy Dies, a novel in 3 parts, is a trage-comedy about the students in a prestigious boys school in Ireland.

With the main character, Skippy, dying in the very first scene, the reader knows the story will not necessarily end happily, but the journey to Skippy's death is one that is filled with equal parts laughter and sadness. Filled with true Irish touches, Skippy Dies is a times a history book, a romance, a comedy, and a tragedy, set against the metropolitan backdrop of Dublin.

It was great to start by year back in Ireland, re-exploring parts of Dublin I've been to before, and getting to experience what life is like in an Irish boarding school.

I don't normally love novels with male protagonists, but with a point of view that switches between multiple characters, it was actually nice to get into so many different minds and explore so many different situations.

I thought Skippy Dies was a great way to start the year. It was quirky, written beautifully, and took my back to explore a country I love so much!

I give Skippy Dies a 4 out of 5!

Book 2. Eleanor Oliphant in Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Main Character: Eleanor Oliphant

Location: Glasgow, Scotland

I was so excited to read this since it was recommended by the fabulous Reese Witherspoon (she's also turning it into a movie and I am beyond excited to see it!). I bought this book for a friend for her birthday, and loved how it sounded so I got myself a copy too!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine follows the story of Eleanor Oliphant, a recluse living in Scotland. She works in finance and is completely fine. Until she meets the Musician and falls madly in love. It's clearly destiny. This leads Eleanor to begin a self-induced makeover so she's prepared to meet her one true love. But Eleanor has a scar on her face and some deep-seated trauma that she refuses to acknowledge.

After things with the Musician go sour, Eleanor contemplates ending her own life, but with the help of her new friend Raymond (yay, she has a friend), she begins to recover, see a therapist, and deal with the trauma of her past.

This book was a delight to read. It was equally hysterical and poignant. I laughed out loud at times, and cried right along with Eleanor.

I thought this was a fantastic read, and while Eleanor spends more time indoors than exploring Glasgow, I loved getting to know Eleanor, and watching her heal. I highly recommend this book, giving it a very enthusiastic 5 out of 5!

So far, the New Year is off to a great start with two great books! Tune in next week to see what scary book I'm reading this week!

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