Here we go! Finally! I am plugging away at completing the reading list you helped me create way way way back in AUGUST. Oh my god, almost a year ago. Holy Jeebus, where does the time go? I added 1 book to the list and read it first because miss Maris wouldn’t stop poking me about it. See what peer pressure does to you? Book bullying is a thing, I swear.
First up, World War Z. There is a moving (coming?) out with Brad Pitt and I really don’t know how that movie is going to do the book any justice. I’m not going to tell you much about this book because part of the awesome is just diving in without a tun of information. You know it is zombies, but that just scratches the surface. This book is smart. Really smart. It isn’t just about O-M-G zombies, it’s about how the world would realistically handle it. It is seriously really really good. Go read it before seeing the movie – I think it will be worth it. My only meh issue? The ending is kind of like “Oh… it’s over? Ok.” So there’s that. But I’m still thinking about parts of the book to this day – it’s one of those reads (you know the ones).
Next up, The Magicians. Ok… a lot of people love this book and it took me a really really long time to get into it. At first I was like, “yeah yeah… a more adult Harry Potter, this will be fun fluffy magic fluff.” And I was ok with that, I really was. I love me some good old fashioned fluffy magic fluff. Bring it on. But the main character? I found incredibly difficult to life. I guess that goes for all of the characters except 1. I wanted to shake their stupid entitled little heads until they figured out they were just stupid and entitled and should maybe shut up already. But then! I realized! (And maybe you realized this too when you read it, or will have a headsup when you read it and will possibly spend more time enjoying it and less time annoyed with the characters) I think the whole “un-likeable” part is the point. I think that this book is more complicated, character-wise, than I gave it credit for until the last chapter. I saw it as wizardry-in-the-normal-world (seen it, been there, done that). And it was, but it wasn’t. This is magic as if it was ACTUALLY happening to real people. Not gold hearted heroes, not evil-for-pure-evil’s sake. This book isn’t about misfits or the underdog, it’s about really really smart kids who are used to being the best and the brightest and how they are pretty much whiny entitled shit-heads who drink too much and don’t understand consequences. Plus magic. Right up until the end I was like “WHY is there ANY hype about this book at ALL? UGH!” But then I finished it and texted Maris, “You kind of have to read this book immediately,” because I got it. Whoever has read this book before – what was your take? I want to hear what you thought because this is by far the most up and down I’ve felt about a book in a really long time.
So after two semi-fantastical worlds, I needed some real life-ness. Enter: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Are you a literature nerd? Do you love books… especially the kind you read in college and senior year of high school? Do you dig stories about weird families? There is something about graphic novels that are really really intense for me. The visuals paired with the story, the total big picture of it all, it’s a totally different and really intense experience. If you have never read a graphic novel before I suggest starting with Blankets. Fun Home is both a coming of age story, a memoir of a family affected by a father’s inability to come out, and about a daughter coming to terms with her father’s death. It’s deep and intense and littered with amazing literary references. It took me longer than usual to finish it because the emotional weight left me needing to take moments to stare out at the world zooming past me while I sat in the train. This is a piece of art. I would really love to hear what people think of it if they pick it up having never experienced a graphic novel before.
Annnnd coming in at #4, Never Let Me Go, and I had 0 inkling of what it could be about before I started reading. So, I’m not going to give very much away, because trying to figure out what the eff is going on was the best part of the experience for me. I will say this: even though I understand why Kazuo Ishiguro used a very child-like, surface-level narrator for this story … it got boring. Is that weird? I don’t think this book was intended to be boring. I’m pretty sure my front cover says “couldn’t put it down!” or something very similar. But… I ended up skimming giant paragraphs of back-story that doesn’t move the story along AT ALL and only goes into details that an immature child-like story teller would focus on. And I GET IT, I get why the narrator is like that, but who can sit and listen to a character like that tell a long drawn out history of some such thing for the length of a novel? Classic example of what I’m talking about (this is not actual text, just the general concept of how it’s set up):
“And that leads me to a really interesting story about when so and so and I had a huge falling out that changed our relationship forever. But first I have to tell you about the duck pond.”
Ahhh! I don’t want to hear about the duck pond! I want to hear about the big revelation that you just teased! Why are we going 2 steps forward and then 10 steps back? <– frustrated reader.
Good things about the story: It reminded me a lot of A Handmaids Tale and that is a very good thing. But, I also couldn’t get The Handmaid’s Tale’s voice out of my head and I kept wishing it was MORE like The Handmaid’s Tale. I am a freak for Atwood, I can’t help it. Oh, and it definitely pulled at my heart strings. I almost cried.
Weird thing about the story that may only have to do with me and my weirdness: It totally grossed me out and made me woozy. I’m especially sensitive to medical-type-stuff. And even MORE SO when it is just hinted at and my brain has to do all of the filling in, because wow my brain does some EXCELLENT filling in and ew. I had to stop reading it on the train several times because it was making me so woozy. So beware, if you are someone who had to leave health class because they were going to pass out.
**Now then… Who has read these? What did you think? I’m dying to have someone to talk about them with! Round two of reviews will be up in a few weeks! Annnnnd a used-book giveaway coming soon. Yay!