• Book Update

    Date: 2013.08.13 | Category: Books | Tags:

    I’ve read tons of books since my last book post. Here’s a quick review of some of them.

    Wild by Cheryl Strayed

    I am not usually a non-fiction reader, but after hearing rave reviews on this book I borrowed it from the library. I absolutely loved it. It’s the story of a girl who lost her mother in her college years and married to early and how her life falls apart because of those things. To save herself, she decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (which runs from Mexico to Canada) alone with almost no backpacking experience. Was she an idiot? Yes, and she has no problem admitting it. But I challenge you to finish this book and not feel inspired to hike hundreds of miles in the wilderness. It was like Eat, Pray, Love, but grittier.

    Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

    This is my third of Kay’s books to read. All of them are alternate history style novels surrounding big events and times in the past, and all have a fantasy twist. In this case the setting was ancient China and the challenge of a young man to survive after receiving a gift of 100 incredibly valuable horses that could cause a war. Not normally my type of thing, but I love the author and gave it a chance. It could have been really good, but it got bogged down in length and details. Still, I give it credit because the writing was stunning.

    Looking for Alaska by John Green

    After falling in love with The Fault in Our Stars, also by John Green, I couldn’t wait to sample another one of his books. I was pleasantly satisfied with this installment about students in a boarding school who enjoy pushing the rules and planning epic pranks. I laughed so much in this book… and cried a lot too. Well worth the read.

    Wool by Hugh Howey

    This book is a gem of the self-publishing world. After the author self-published, it went viral and has become an eBook phenomenon. And I can see why. Set in a dystopian future where the earth has become uninhabitable, everyone lives below ground in “silos.” People all have different jobs and work on different levels. And when a crime is committed, the person is sent out to “cleaning,” ie, wiping off the cameras so the people inside can have a view of outside, before the cleaner ultimately dies. The story follows  a girl who is picked to become the new sheriff of the silo and her discovery of the dark secrets that surround silo life and sustainability. A different kind of dystopian novel and cheap to boot, this story is one I still think about.

    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

    A fan of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, I immediately saw the connection between it and this story about a golem (a woman made out of clay) and a jinni, called from a lamp thousands of years after he was entombed, both struggling to survive in New York City. Both are forced to  try to pass as human, despite having many obvious qualities that make them “other.” While the story definitely had it’s slow moments, I ended up enjoying it a lot as the plot picked up near the end.

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

    You should probably know I loved this book by sheer virtue of its writer. But the story itself was so creepy and fun and imaginative (though very short!) I’ve heard it described as a re-imagining of Neil’s own childhood and that makes me love it even more. Please go read this and then gush about how much you loved it with me.

    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

    This book was recommended to me by a friend and I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked it up. It is one of the creepiest, most disturbing dark “fairy tales” I’ve ever read. It had a knack of bringing up some of my old childhood fears that I had long buried, and doing so in great detail. I found myself at night praying that I wouldn’t dream about the scenes from this book. Despite all that, or maybe even partly because of it, I enjoyed reading it and couldn’t put it down. It’s kind of like Narnia on LSD.

    Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

    I adored this story of a curvy, red-headed girl who has an awful home life and is mercilessly bullied, slowly developing a romantic relationship with a thin, nerdy Asian kid who loves comic books. The story is so sweet and so sad. And while I can see Noel’s point about the relationship not being believable, I could so picture myself as the curvy girl and my husband as the thin nerdy guy that it made it all the more wonderful for me. Plus, great writing!

    More to come…