Wednesday, January 02, 2013

December 2012 Books

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (library ebook) - My husband very rarely knows what I'm reading.  I read books and I thumbs up or thumbs down them in silence, most of the time on my Kindle, so there's not even a dust jacket he can approve of/take note of/mock.  But he heard about it every damn time I picked up my Kindle and realized that this book was still on it.  "Oh, nooooo...." I would wail, as a grown ass adult woman should, "it's the bee book!!"  I had to finish this book because it's a modern classic and I didn't finish so many books in November, I felt like I had to have some stick-to-it-ness with this one.  Suffice it to say: I would like the hours I spent reading this returned to me.

Crush by Lacey Weatherford (library ebook) - Maybe when I was a teenage girl I would have liked to read about grown ass men falling in love with girls who are of not quite legal age, but as an adult, I find it all kind of icky.  Plus it reminded me of Wake by Lisa McMann and so I figured out the plot super early on.  Also, lots of typos of the two/to/too, there/their variety which made me absolutely crazy.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (library ebook) - Cute. Funny.  (Okay, fine, I can't really leave it like that. It kind of drove me mad that the boyfriend and boy next door were such caricatures, just absolutely surface with no depth at all, but I really loved all the other characters here - Lola, her dads, even the boy next door's evil sister - so I'm going to let all that go and say it was cute and funny.) P.S. Stephanie Perkins, I assume you will be telling Calliope's story next because I want it!!

The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (library ebook) - This is the sequel to The Dairy Queen and tells the continuation of D.J.'s story.  I think these books are the best undiscovered jewels in the young adult world and every midwestern teenage girl should be reading these. The development of the character of D.J. is absolutely phenomenal and I hope that someday Murdock gets her dues for the awesomeness of it all.  Plus, it doesn't hurt that these books are set in Nowhere, Wisconsin and regularly references the Packers and Vikings.  Yay for Murdock!!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (library ebook) - No. No, no, no, no, no. Every plot device I can't stand is in force here.  A simple conversation would clear things up many things for our main character and us as readers. Does that conversation happen? No, of course not.  A kid is told to absolutely, positively not do something so he absolutely, positively does do that because it was never explained to him why he shouldn't do it because he never had that simple conversation with somebody.  There are NO parents because all these kids are orphans and of course they are going to end up saving humanity.  I will have nothing more to do with Dashner ever again.

The Last Apprentice (Revenge of the Witch) by Joseph Delaney (library audiobook read by Christopher Evan Welch) - Right. Same deal here. Kid is told not to do things, so he does them.  Argh.

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (library ebook) - Can we all agree that the male protagonist of this story would be dead in real life and that this is a silly book? Okay, then.

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris (library ebook) -  This was weird. It was ultimately satisfying because I don't think the author used any cheap tricks and made some tough decisions at the end of the novel.  But it was weird, so be forewarned about that.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (library ebook)- This one will make you side-eye your spouse a little bit.  It was definitely a fast read and it did not end up how I thought it would (or should), so it's worth a read. I'm seeing this on a lot of "Best of 2012" lists and it certainly wouldn't be on mine, but you might want to read it to see what the hype is.

Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas (library ebook) - I have a standard response to memoirs which is that I dislike them on principle.  This one came highly recommended and I rolled my eyes through the first half or so.  Also, I found the switching narrators to be a confusing conceit of this memoir.  But then I started to find it riveting and I was unable to put it down and I could see why everyone told me to read it.  Should you read it? I would only recommend this if you're willing to put up with a great deal of bullshit early on.

P.S. Dear Chef Achatz, Grand Rapids is NOT in northern Michigan as you write in this book. It is most definitely in southern Michigan.  Also, Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan - it's not fucking Siberia.  Yours, NGS

The Selection by Kiera Cass (library ebook) - The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games.  I think this is perfectly acceptable young adult fluff.  I read it and enjoyed it. I was a little ticked off that there was absolutely no resolution, but was a set-up for a sequel, but I got over it.  I also enjoyed all the Goodreads kerfuffle over this book. It made for a diverting few minutes of Internet controversy fun.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of the President by Candice Miller (library ebook) - You know what? I knew just about nothing about Garfield except that he was killed or about Chester Arthur except that he had great facial hair. I learned a lot, was properly disgusted by the state of medicine in the 1880s, and enjoyed this nonfiction tale.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (library ebook) - Okay, this author has some misplaced modifier issues in his writing.  It was distracting to try and figure out what introductory phrases were introducing.  I am NOT a grammarian, but "Out the window by his desk, propped up with an old Stephen King book, were Chabot's other buildings" is about as clear as mud.  Yes, I enjoyed the atmospheric descriptions and Southern "charm" in the book, but the writing was just plain sloppy.

I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak (library ebook) - I finished this book weeks ago, but I had to sit on it to think about it.  I think, as my friend Tammy would say, this author takes himself a little too seriously. I loved The Book Thief and will definitely read more Zusak, but the ending of this book was a ham-fisted and unnecessary attempt at a sermon. No need to get preachy on us, Zusak, we understand that you are the omnipotent author. 

But the characters were divine.  The scene at the beginning with the bank robbery was hilarious.  I just wish the last 15 pages were different. 

1 comment:

  1. I felt the exact same way about I Am The Messenger! Then I went on to read other Zusak - because I do enjoy his characters so much - and came to the conclusion that he just cannot write an ending that satisfies me. :(

    Lolita was my version of Crush. Sure, the man can write, but the icky feeling was too much. I think I made it to page 45? Thanks for the warning :)


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