Tuesday, October 01, 2013

September 2013 Books

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (library book) - I'm in the minority on this one. This book was booorrring.  It took hundreds of pages and a narrator switch to a character with a confusing point of view to figure out the plot and by then, I was checked out. Major events are given the exact amount of descriptive space in this book as are lighting cigarettes and chasing chickens. I think it's possible I'm not the target audience for this one.

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (library book) - Dessen is just phoning it in now. I mean, Dessen's worst books, of which I would include this, are better than most anything else in contemporary YA and the book made the godforsaken miles between Iowa City and Des Moines fly by, but The Moon and More is no Just Listen or Dreamland, both of which I would put at the top of my favorites of all times lists.

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (library book) - The pages of this book were so physically heavy, I kind of felt like maybe the book was lined with lead. But I suppose that's an irrelevant tangent. It was a fine read. Actually, it was not until page 335 (of 354) that I really felt the narrator's angst.  At that point, it turned into a great read. Pages 335 - 338 represent my entire life from age 14 - 21, though, so I can't hate on the other 330 pages.

Perry's Killer Playlist by Joe Schreiber (library book) - You just have to suspend disbelief and go with the insane plot of this novel. This is not world-changing literature, but it is a fun, fluffy read.

 The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling (library audiobook narrated by Tom Hollander) - As a scathing indictment of the class system, this book really hits the mark. The novel details the events in a small English town after the untimely death of one of its most prominent citizens.  I guess it didn't surprise me too much that the most well-written characters were the teens, but it did surprise me that Rowling is as capable of writing about the dark side of teenage life as she did here.  It was long, almost 18 hours, but I thought the ending was worth the somewhat slow start. I've been thinking about the ending for weeks now and I can't get it out of my mind.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (library book) - I'm quite torn about this book. It is definitely timely and raises important questions about the liberty versus security debate that seems to be never ending in this country. I almost wrote "a never ending debate in the contemporary United States," but then I glanced over at the pocket Constitution/Declaration of Rights on my desk (thanks ACLU!) and realized it's a debate as old as time.


The characters are so superficial as to appear as caricatures of Good, Evil, and Sticking Head in the Sand to Try to Avoid Trouble.  When characters would talk to each other, it was like every polemical argument you've ever heard on CNN with no one struggling with their morals and the realities of the situation.

Chalk it up to great plot, bad characters.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy  and illustrated by Carson Ellis (book I own! on my bookshelf!) - A friend gave this to me as a gift and I just read it and it was...okay. I feel like I keep saying this over and over and over again, but the characters were just too superficial. The world setting was okay and I love, love, love the illustrations, but the development of characters was just too flat. For example, the whole book revolves around one character, Prue, getting her baby brother back.  But in the few pages before her brother was kidnapped, the author did nothing to develop the relationship between brother and sister so that I never understood why Prue literally went through worlds to get her brother back.  They just didn't seem to be that close.  Eh.  Your life will be just fine if you don't read this book.

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (library audiobook read by Jeff Woodman and Katherine Kellgren)  - I hate it when I devote road trips to dumb books. When I think back to my trip to Minneapolis in September 2013, all I will remember is how annoying the characters in this book were.

The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman (book I own! on my bookshelf!) - I am not usually a fan of historical fiction and this did not really make me change my mind.  I did learn a lot of new vocab in this book, so that was great. I went around saying "don't be flibbertigibbety" to Zelda a lot after reading it, so that was fun.

The Last Word by Lisa Lutz (library book) -  I think Lutz's writing is hilarious. I chortled a lot while reading this and I loved it. Yes, it's got some sad parts and the main character has some serious life challenges, but it's done with wit and grace.  I will read Lutz forever and ever.

Dolores: Seven Stories About Her by Bruce Brooks (library audiobook read by Suzanne Toren) -  This is seven short vignettes in which Dolores is a character from the time she is seven until she is eighteen. The title is misleading because although some stories truly are about Dolores, a few of the stories are centered around her older brother.  I understand what the author was going for her - showcasing a character's growth through time by showing her through the lenses of other characters - but the stories were so disjointed as to appear about a different family in each one.  It wasn't bad, but it didn't quite accomplish what I think it set out to accomplish.


  1. I'm incredibly amused by the (book I own! on my bookshelf!) interjections. I've made it a goal to start reading the books on my own bookshelf, the ones that must be wondering why they were ever brought here. And the many, many books I impulse bought during Kindle Daily Deals.

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