Monday, September 01, 2014

August 2013 Books

Xenocide by Orson Scott Card (library book) - Ugh. I loved Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead and there were some elements of both of those books that I thought Card replicated in this book, but there were also some problems here that I didn't detect in the first two in the series. There are some characters who are developed magnificently. In the first SEVEN pages, Card introduces two characters we've never seen before and manages to make us fall in love with both of them. But then there are pages and pages of internal dialogue of other characters that make me just want to fall asleep. It's an interesting book full of ethical dilemmas, but it's also a book full of unnecessary judgment and hatred directed at people who aren't society's definition of "normal" (from Card's obnoxious overdefensive stance that a blind fellow could raise surprisingly happy children and keep his wife satisfied to a character who so hates his own disability that Card created a plot device to allow him to get rid of the disability).  Until this point in the series, I thought I could have read the books without knowing about Card's personal life, but Card's own personal stances intrude in this book. 
From the brilliant xkcd, of course. If you don't read this web comic, you should.
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe (library book) - This book had a great premise and a great last chapter. Everything else was promising, but not executed well. I wanted to like it, but I'm not going to finish this series.

Heft by Liz Moore (library book)- I quite enjoyed this. It was like two separate books in some way, but I thought Moore handled both of them quite well. I don't know if it's going to make any lists of my favorite books of all time, but it's worth a read if you see it at your library.

Memory Boy by Will Weaver (library book) -  This book was fine if you didn't stop to think about any of it. The plot holes are enormous and the characters are poorly developed. I don't know. Maybe read Ender's Game instead.

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (library book) -  I thought this was fine, just fine. The characters weren't too annoying, the alternating points of view were okay, and I read it one morning when I was feeling a bit bleak and it went just fine with that mood.  I will admit that I totally and completely disagree with the premise though - men and women can be just friends without romance. One of my best friends is a man I've known since we were children and I think his wife and my husband would agree that our friendship is in no way jeopardizing our romantic relationships. But I don't write young adult novels, so I guess you have to create fictional tension where you can get it.

 The Candymakers by Wendy Mass (library book)  - I really, really, really loved this book. It's a young reader chapter book about a group of four kids competing at a candy competition, but it's so much more than that. I can't write about it without giving away the surprise, but every section introduced something a little new while building on the previous plots.  It was genuinely pleasurable to read and surprises kept popping up every time I turned the page. I will be recommending this book to every young reader I know.

Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card (library book) -  I read this out of order. Apparently I should have read Ender's Shadow first, but I didn't, so apparently I missed a lot of subtext in this one. I will read Ender's Shadow and then give this one a try again.  It seems very much like trying to replicate the brilliance of The Speaker for the Dead while keeping the tone of Ender's Game and it really just came out as a muddled mess (admittedly a muddled mess I couldn't stop reading, but I should really have a tattoo that says Wiggin 4 Lyfe on my arm).

Since You've Been Gone by Anouska Knight (library book) -  This is an acceptable romance. I'm a little over the billionaire alpha male comes in and saves the day, but the writing was fine. You probably will read this and forget you read it by dinnertime.

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