I’ve been steadily plugging along at reading for fun when I can, so I thought it was time to do some mini-reviews of the books I’ve finished over the past few months.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green
This book was so much fun to read! It follows two boys named Will Grayson whose lives eventually collide. Levithan writes one Grayson’s voice, while Green writes the other, which really was a treat. There is an online romance aspect of this story which totally won me over more than anything else because it brought back such fond memories of chatting with my future husband, but even beyond that it’s just such a happy, feel-good story which is still so real in that way that only John Green can capture.
Every Day by David Levithan
After reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson I wanted to read some more David Levithan, so I picked up Every Day. The basic premise behind the book is that A is a…soul I guess would be the best word, who inhabits a new body every day. Because of this, every single chapter is him in a new body, although the narration stays consistent. I thought this would annoy me more than it did, thankfully. This is a fun, cute, and sometimes bittersweet read but not the most groundbreaking novel ever.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Somebody told me that I just HAD to read this post-apocalyptic novel because I had just read The Road for class and was utterly devastated by it, and said person told me that The Dog Stars was even more horrific. Katie, I respectfully disagree. While I did like this book, and I do still find myself thinking about it, it’s no The Road. It has way too much of a perky, optimistic, happy post-apocalypse ending for my tastes. I need the doom and gloom, Heller. The narrator of The Dog Stars is really likable, though, and the book was well written, although at times it seemed a little too obvious that Heller is typically a journalist for outdoor magazines and this is his first piece of fiction.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Like Oprah and most of America right now, I’m wild about this book! (see what I did there?) I was unsure at first if the whole concept of here’s-me-telling-you-about-my-long-and-agonizing-hike would wear on me, however Strayed mixes in enough of her other life experiences at the time which were fueling this hike to keep me interested and even empathetic. Naturally, I finished this book and proclaimed to Ryan that we should totally head out tomorrow, overweight and underprepared, and hike the Appalachian Trail or something, which I know is utterly ridiculous but Strayed just got me THAT pumped up for a life-changing, hiking experience. Look for my hiking memoir in a few years…or not.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K. Dick
Yeah, of course, this is a sci-fi classic, but I’d never read it and decided it was time. I really love Blade Runner, so of course it’s ridiculous that I hadn’t read the book, and also my professor this semester had recommended it since I was/am going through this post-apocalyptic literature phase. I really am not a sci-fi reader, so I was kind of scared to pick this up, but naturally I loved it. It’s just so…genius? Is that the correct word? I think so. It was also interesting to see how many other authors have copied Dick’s genius. I’m still thinking about a lot of aspects of the novel. If anyone would like to have a discussion group, I’m game!
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Boo! Hiss! Boo! Hiss! for Reconstructing Amelia. I had heard from Jessica (by no fault of her own) that this was the “it book” of the summer and was being liked to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Insert choking and sputtering noises here. This book was capital-A Awful. Sometimes I feel as if my true calling was to be an editor, and had I been McCreight’s editor I would have skinned her alive. The concept here is good: girl goes missing, mom is retracing her activities, it becomes apparent she was involved with a secret skull-and-bones type society at her private school, but then it becomes a train wreck: numerous loose threads which were never tied up, completely stupid resolutions to all conflicts, somewhat implausible political agendas thrown in the reader’s face. Let me just say one more time an emphatic Boo! Hiss!
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
This is a YA sci-fi/dystopian novel, and after reading it I think I simply need a break from that genre. They are all starting to feel the same. This book features split narration which I increasingly can’t stand unless it’s really well-done, which in this case it was not. The main characters were tolerable but not anyone I actually cared for. I could see the solution to the “big mystery” a mile away. However, I think my biggest problem with this book is that they were stuck on a spaceship for the entire thing, and it literally made me claustrophobic. I become uncomfortable simply reading the long descriptions of how they had to breathe in the stale air and look up at the fake ceiling. Not my idea of light, fun reading material.
Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent
This novel is a piece of historical fiction about a female undertaker in Victorian London…which is interesting enough until it’s not. Again, can we find an editor, here? Did they all go on strike? I seriously think 150 pages could have been cut from this novel. While I found the descriptions of Victorian London interesting and the information concerning undertaking and embalming utterly fascinating, the rest of the book kind of sucked. It almost felt as if Trent was simply trying to show off how much research she had done. Also, the narration often focused on several other characters who were seemingly pointless. When the big climax finally came and the mystery was solved, it was literally so ridiculous and implausible that I was tempted to giggle rather than feel engrossed or relieved. I was glad when this book was finally over.
I feel like the last few books I’ve read have been really terrible. My Shelfari “To Read” shelf is heavy with titles, but I’ll always take more suggestions. Read anything amazing lately? Know of any post-apocalyptic titles which I must peruse in order to continue to satiate my appetite?