Which of my friends do I read the most like?

I haven’t done a non-review post in ages but this seemed like too much fun to pass up.

I got this idea from Ally, Sarah, and Naty, make sure to go check out their posts.

Here’s Ally’s explanation of how this works:

So on Goodreads, you can compare your books to someone else’s books. Essentially, Goodreads will look at the books on both of your shelves and compare them for similarities. I’m not entirely sure how it works, but it’s a general look at how similar your reading is.

So, I thought it would be fun to compare my reading tastes to those of some of my friends to see who I read most similarly to.

I’m only including friends who have a blog and who I’m also friends with on Goodreads. But please note that I follow a lot of blogs and have 1,173 Goodreads friends, so I think it’s inevitable that some people get left off; let me know if I should do a part 2!

Laura @ Reading In Bed: 71% similar

Pretty big disclaimer here that Laura hardly uses Goodreads, but still, I couldn’t resist checking, could I! Anyway, I think this data is too inaccurate to be taken seriously. Laura and I agree much more often than not.

Books We Both Loved:

  • In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne
  • The Idiot by Elif Batuman
  • Young Skins by Colin Barrett, which Laura hasn’t even logged because she’s a fake fan

Books We Disagree On:

  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton: to be fair, I haven’t read this book since I was 15, but 15-year-old me hated it
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: Laura loves, I do not
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville: basically the only books we disagree on are WH and a bunch of books I hated in high school, not too bad

Emily @ Literary Elephant: 73% similar

This one is genuinely shocking to me, I thought Emily would be in my top 3. I’m still not totally sure what’s going on here!

Books We Both Loved:

  • The Fire Starters by Jan Carson
  • When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy
  • A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride

Books We Disagree On:

  • The Girls by Emma Cline: 5 stars from Emily, 2 stars from me
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown: I think Emily loves this series, and I only read the first book and hated it
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: 5 stars from Emily, 1 star from me

Naty @ Naty’s Bookshelf: 73% similar

Naty included me on her list so I already knew where she’d end up on mine, but still, surprising! I feel like we agree more often than not (which, to be fair, I suppose 73% does indicate).

Books We Both Loved:

  • Daughter from the Dark by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko
  • Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
  • In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

Books We Disagree On:

  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro: Ishiguro is my favorite author but I hated this one! I’m actually surprised Naty rated it so highly, based on what I understand about the intersection of our tastes
  • Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff: the less I say about this book, the better for everyone
  • milk and honey by Rupi Kaur: Naty is kinder than I am, basically.

Rebecca @ Bookish Beck: 74% similar

Rebecca is about where I expected her to be on my list — I think we’re very hit or miss!

Books We Both Loved:

  • Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler
  • Real Life by Brandon Taylor
  • Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Books We Disagree On:

  • Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi: 2 stars from me, 4 from Rebecca
  • Days Without End by Sebastian Barry: 1 star from me, 5 from Rebecca (I wanted to love it, TRUST ME)
  • Dominicana by Angie Cruz: 1 star from me, 5 stars from Rebecca (this one surprises me, I don’t think I realized Rebecca liked it so much!)

Eleanor @ Elle Thinks: 75% similar

Again, not too surprising; we agree most of the time with a few random wild cards every now and then.

Books We Both Loved:

  • The Madonna of the Mountains by Elise Valmorbida
  • This is Shakespeare by Emma Smith (the queen!)
  • Tender by Belinda McKeon

Books We Disagree On:

  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward: 5 stars from Elle, only 3 from me
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers: again, 5 from Elle, 3 from me, I just don’t like reading about trees, literary prowess be damned
  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: Elle loves, I hate

Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction?: 76% similar

This is a fun one as Ren only reads nonfiction (though she has some fiction logged in her Goodreads from years past, which is where most of our disagreements are!).

Books We Both Loved:

  • The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien
  • But You Did Not Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens
  • Dopesick by Beth Macy

Books We Disagree On:

  • The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith: I love it; only 3 stars from Ren
  • The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides: 4 stars from Ren; once more, I do not get on with Eugenides
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: Ren rates it highly; I wanted to love it but had a lot of problems with how the female characters were written

Laura Tisdall: 76% similar

Laura was just a tad lower than I expected her to be; she’s another one where we have some random wild card disagreements but where our tastes mostly align.

Books We Both Loved:

  • A Natural by Ross Raisin
  • Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon
  • The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

Books We Disagree On:

  • Disobedience by Naomi Alderman: 2 stars from me, 4 from Laura
  • Sight by Jessie Greengrass: Laura loved it, I had mixed feelings
  • Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday: again, Laura loved it, I had an almost incomprehensibly negative reaction to it (as in: I kind of want to read it again because I still can’t make sense of why I disliked it so much–but I doubt reading the audiobook helped, it’s not a great format for me with fiction)

Marija @ Inside My Library Mind: 78% similar

Marija, why are you always saying I hate everything you love! We’re 78% ok!!!!

Books We Both Loved:

  • Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
  • How We Disappeared by Jing-jing Lee
  • Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Books We Disagree On:

  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater: if my friendship with Marija ever ends, know it was over this book
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman: Marija really likes it, I hate it
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: I love it, Marija 3 starred it

Ally @ Ally Writes Things: 78% similar

This is actually a little higher than I expected but I think our mutual love of Lisa See carried us through.

Books We Both Loved:

  • Sabrina by Nick Drnaso
  • Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton
  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Books We Disagree On:

  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne: I loved this book and Ally 3-starred it, but I’m no longer interested in supporting John Boyne so whatever, you do you Ally
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare: only 3 stars, Ally?! 😦
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: to be fair I disagree with almost everyone about this book, seeing as I hate it

Sarah Ames-Foley: 81% similar

I’m honestly surprised Sarah is in the top 3! (Tied with the next person.)

Books We Both Loved:

  • Eden by Andrea Kleine
  • When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn
  • The Body Lies by Jo Baker

Books We Disagree On:

  • If, Then by Kate Hope Day: Sarah loves it, I found it a little underwhelming
  • The Summer Children by Dot Hutchinson: ok but 4 STARS, SARAH?
  • Luster by Raven Leilani: another one Sarah loved that I found a little disappointing (but it’s not a bad book and I wish it well)

Hannah @ I Have Thoughts on Books: 81% similar

This is probably the one I was the most curious about, because when Hannah and I hit, we hit big, and when we miss, we miss big.

Books We Both Loved:

  • Medea by Christa Wolf
  • Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson
  • The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy

Books We Disagree On:

  • Bluets by Maggie Nelson: I am not a huge fan
  • My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout: still the only Strout I’ve read, which did not make an amazing impression on me; Hannah likes it
  • All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood: Hannah rated it highly, I hate this book

Callum McLaughlin: 83% similar

I really thought Callum was going to win it all, tbh. SO CLOSE.

Books We Both Loved:

  • A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore
  • All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan
  • Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

Books We Disagree On:

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: 5 stars from Callum, 2 from me; I don’t get on with Gaiman’s writing at all
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: LOL I KNOW but I literally can’t find a single contemporary literary book on our lists that we differ on beyond a 1-star difference?! Anyway, 4 from Callum, 2 from me on Mockingjay. To which I say… EXCUSE ME, CALLUM? 4 STARS?
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck: this list is legitimately hysterical. I don’t even remember reading this book though I have a VAGUE recollection of having done so in middle school. 2 stars from me, 4 from Callum. I hope our friendship will survive this.

And — drumroll — the person I read the most similarly to:

Chelsea @ Spotlight on Stories: 85% similar

I’m not surprised. Though Chelsea reaches for fantasy most often and I reach for literary fiction, when we converge, we almost always agree.

Books We Both Loved:

  • Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants by Mathias Énard
  • Vita Nosta by Marina & Sergey Dychenko
  • Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Books We Disagree On:

  • Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee: 2 stars from me; 4 from Chelsea
  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater: this book continues to haunt me
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: a well-deserved 5 stars from Chelsea; a ‘this wasn’t written for me and that’s ok’ 3 stars from me

That was fun and mostly unsurprising. Yay Chelsea!

P.S. I know I am horrendously behind on blogging and replying to your lovely comments — thanks for bearing with me!


book review: No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

Riverhead, 2021

I thought this book was brilliant but as I was reading, I found myself a little dismayed at the way I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it. So much has been made of the fact that this is a book in “two halves”–the first is an irreverent stream-of-consciousness-style series of pithy observations that mimics the experience of scrolling through Twitter, and the second is much more serious, focusing on a family tragedy. The temptation to explain this division away by describing the first half as Online and the second half as Real Life is understandable, but I think it does a disservice to what Lockwood has actually attempted and achieved here.

I don’t think it’s about the division of Online/Real Life as much as it is a commentary on the inextricable fusion of the two. The narrator’s framework for viewing the world through a heavily Online lens is established in the first half, and then the second half shows that in times of grief and hardship, she’s still existing within that same framework even while being forced to participate in “Real Life” with more immediacy than she had been used to. While I certainly agree that this is structurally a book made up of two halves, I thought the second half of the book was such a natural continuation of the first that I really admired how Lockwood managed to achieve such a natural coherence of two completely disparate narratives. 

And as an Extremely Online Person myself, I loved how much nuance Lockwood brought to this commentary. I feel like so many books and articles and essays about The Internet fall into one of two traps, either extreme reverence or utter condemnation. The reality is so much more nebulous–The Internet is this bizarre world that we all live in separate to our real lives but an intrinsic part of our real lives and I thought Lockwood captured that beautifully. 

This is absolutely not a book that I’d recommend to everyone (frankly if you aren’t interested in Online Culture, stay away), but it really struck a chord with me and I admired it so much more than I had expected to.