Friday, 27 July 2012

books I loved and didn't love so much

I've been a flippin' reading machine lately. My library has a limited but still pretty good selection of digital books. You can place holds and they'll e-mail you when it's your turn to download your selections, you can add books to wishlists and you can check out up to five books at a time.

I always have books on hold, and recently they ALL became available. When they do you have a three-day window in which you can check them out or they go on to the next person. So each time I got an email I tried to stagger the downloading, because you only get the books for twenty one days and then it magically disappears.

So over the past month I've read:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein 
 (which was actually not from the library, a lovely friend emailed it to me a while ago and I finally got around to it). What a fantastic effing book, you guys. I am one for magical realism though.

Morgenstein's portrayal of this amazing black and white circus completely captured my heart and the story line had me wondering what would happen at the end through the entire book. I don't want to give too much away but seriously, read this.


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.
Nope. I mean, she's a fucking famous comedy writer for The Office and I liked Chelsea Handler's stuff better. Which is saying something because I find Chelsea Handler unnecessarily crude. I don't understand how this book fell off as badly as it did. Maybe she rushed it because to me it read like a first draft.

It's not the worst thing I ever read but not even close to what I was expecting. Especially after reading the Bloggess' book.


Speaking of that book ... Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.
 was so. Good. I laughed out loud probably fifty freaking times reading it. I had to ban myself from reading it on the bus because I looked like a crazy person smiling and laughing. Not even kidding. In case you don't know for whatever reason, Jenny is a hilarious blogger and you should definitely read this book.


Divergent by Veronica Roth. 
 Well, it had a pretty interesting story in a dystopian Hunger Games-esque way. The writing was a bit juvenile for my liking but then again it is a YA novel so I guess that's to be expected. And of course I hated all the talk about the tough guys having tattoos. That was stupid. Other than that it was okay. A good time-passer. I'm not going to continue the series though.

I read it at the same time as Ryan's 9 year old and was sort of screening it to see what he was going to come up against. There are some mildly adult-ish themes, but don't worry, they decide to wait until they're ready if you know what I mean.


The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.
What a depressing fucking book this was. And weird. And super dark. It's the story of a young girl's murder, a first-hand account from the girl herself. From heaven. And then it goes on and describes how her family and her friends and her murderer deal with life after her death.

I have to admit it was a pretty unique premise, but I really struggled to finish it. The entire book put me in a dark mood.


Feed by M.T. Anderson. 
 I really wasn't sure about this one when I started it. It's totally strange too. How to explain...? Well it's a story told from the point of view of a rich kid about 200 years in the future. Everybody with money has a "feed" implanted in their brains when they're babies, which is kind of like the internet that works with your thoughts. It advertises to you and you can buy things just by thinking about them, watch movies, play games, whatever.

The coolest thing, I thought, about this book was the writing style. I learned in my first year writing classes that one of the most important things you can do as a story teller is "show, not tell". Meaning you don't say "Bob was tired", you say "Bob sighed, and slumped down in his seat" or whatever, so the reader doesn't feel lead on, but they feel what the character feels.

Anyway Anderson really does a fantastic job of "showing" what life is like 200 years in the future. He doesn't explain what any of the slang means, or why the book begins on the moon, you have to kind of figure it out for yourself. It's a strange book but I really really enjoyed it.

Sorry Mindy.


A while ago I started reading The Magician King by Lev Grossman and was just so utterly confused. I felt like the characters were very complex and I couldn't understand what the hell was going on. So I quit the book after a few chapters.

WELL, the other day I received a notification that a book called The Magicians was available for me to read. By the same author. I didn't put two and two together until I started the book last week and was like "what the?" because it has all the same characters as The Magician King. At first I thought it was the same book but ... I didn't remember any of this ... wait a minute, this is the first book of the series!!! So now it all makes sense and The Magicians is pretty cool. I'm about 1/3 of the way through it, it's like Harry Potter goes to college? But darker and more mature.


One last thing...

 I accidentally stole a book once. I was working in a grocery store at the time which had a night staff somewhat strangely populated by intellectuals. Grad students and the like. And yes...we had a sort of unofficial book club thing going in the lunch room at all times. You take your break and discuss the book du jour with whoever was sitting in there with you.

Anyway everyone was talking about Life Of Pi by Yann Martell in the break room one day and I hadn't read it yet and made a big production about how much I wanted to read it, because everyone was saying how amazing it was. TIGERS? INDIAN KID? OCEAN? WHAT?

I pouted my way back behind the deli counter where I worked, and a few hours later one of my coworkers brought me the book, saying something like "Now you can read it" or whatever.

What I didn't realize was that the store we were working in had a new book section near the cash registers and he had just pulled it from there, meaning for me to buy the thing. I thought it was his own personal copy of the book he had graciously loaned me. And put it in my bag. And brought it home.


Anyway the point of this story is THIS!!! I almost cried when I saw it the first time. So. Excited.