Sunday, October 13, 2013

9 Books You Should and Shouldn't Read

I've read nine (NINE?!?!) books since my last book review post and I'm about to finish two more, so it's been far too long, I realize that. Thus begins my promise to write at least weekly, so it doesn't get boring around here.

I read Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown. I thought it might be a book that I would skim through, but I read it cover to cover, laughing all the way. Not only was it fascinating for me as a twentysomething, but it was very funny and helpful. Some points that Brown made were things that I really connected with (putting the address for where you send your rent on 12 envelopes and pre-stamp them) and have put into practice. Other things I'm moving towards (creating a dinner party for your friends! Super easy only if you know how to cook, I'm pretty sure a dinner party that I gave would turn out a la Bridget Jones). All in all, a fascinating book on how to grow up little by little by making life easier for yourself. I loved it and realized how many things I've already done (amazingly..)

I read Big Brother by Lionel Shriver.(CAUTION: SPOILER ALERT) I didn't like this book quite as much as I thought I would. It was pretty interesting until the giant twist near the end where the reader finds out the entire book is actually just something the main character daydreamed about, which really just made the whole book incredibly anticlimactic and sad. I hate endings like that. (See Margaret Atwood's book The Handmaid's Tale).

I read (because I watched the ENTIRE show and did so in less than a week because I am the kind of person who eats up Netflix shows like pie at a pie-eating contest where first prize is holy matrimony to Alexander Skarsgard) Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman.
Loved the show and then I read the book and of course the book is SO much better (are you surprised? I wasn't at all). In the book, Piper isn't quite as crazy/stupid as in the show and she's also not in prison with her ex-lesbian lover, so that makes it much less dramatic in some ways. All in all, the book was a fascinating reflection on just how convoluted and broken our justice system is. (Again, unsurprising, but enlightening to say the least). The book has much less drama than in the show, but of course, the book doesn't need to sell seasons to hungry Netflix viewers.

I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple. Incredible book about a smart kid, her intelligent parents and some not-so-intelligent neighbors. Not only is her mother hilarious and witty (which she passes onto her daughter) she also disappears when things in her life go horribly awry. I don't want to give anything away, but I truly enjoyed the characters. Bee and her mother are so fantastically given life, it's incredible.

I read the first volume of The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman.
If you know anything about me, it's that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the television show of The Walking Dead (similarly to about a million other Americans) and I've been DYING to read the comics. The first volume did not disappoint and I aim to read the rest ASAP. If you have twenty minutes in your day for reading, read this. It's gory and beautiful and better than the show (obviously).

I read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. I have a confession, I saw the movie first. Terrible, I know. But the book was so much better! I hate when movies aren't as gritty as the books and this one took the cake. SPOILER ALERT: I love John Malkovich, but I thought the character's descent into madness in the books was spot on and thus he did deserve to die, but that's just me. SPOILER ALERT ENDED. This book was poetic and that's what I loved about it. The prosy paragraphs waxing philosophical about life. Fantastic.

Ten Things I've Learnt About Love: A Novel by Sarah Butler was a prosy novel (my favorites) and it dealt with memories and relationships (also my favorite subjects). It's told from the point of view of two characters, Alice, a young traveler and Daniel, a homeless man in London. Alice returns from abroad to see her father whose health is failing - her two older sisters are already there caring for him. Alice has always felt a separation from her two sisters and doesn't quite know why. I won't spoil it, but I will say this: I love books that use lists. This book uses a lot of lists and it makes me happy. 

Okay, this was my light read for the month. It's about a wedding and the craziness that, inevitably, surrounds it. What made it interesting (and also very sad) was that the mother of the bride had passed away years before the wedding, but left a notebook filled with all of her wedding advice for her daughter. Of course, the daughter holds it very dearly and wants every aspect of the wedding to be straight from the notebook. Hilderbrand did an incredible job of creating characters that all had interesting relationships with each other. Everyone had an interesting point of view. Again with the relationships, I know, but that's what I like to read! This would be a great beach read (if you're in a warm area of the country...)

I have been waiting to read the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns for ages, now. My coworker advised me not to read this sequel until the third in the trilogy had come out and, amazingly, I kept myself busy with other good books until I could wait no longer. If you haven't read this trilogy yet and you love fantasy, strong female main characters, and badass adventure, pick it up immediately. It's YA, but it's still fantastic. The main character, Elisa, is burdened with the Godstone, a very rare gift of a jewel where her bellybutton should be that connects her with her God. This makes her valuable and under constant threat of kidnapping and killing. Everyone wants the Godstone for himself (or herself) and Elisa is constantly running and/or fighting to keep herself alive. 
If you like YA lit, this is really a fantastic story - and I cannot wait for the third!

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