Monday, February 02, 2015

December and January Books

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (library book) - This is the sequel to Ancillary Justice and the payoff for being a careful reader in the previous book is a delightful romp in Ancillary Sword. I am not sure I understand why our main character decided it was worth it to spend two weeks on a backwoods planet dealing with the equivalent of a slave rebellion. I'm not saying the slaves aren't important (they're all Citizens, after all), but I just don't completely understand why Breq is all hanging out there WHEN THERE'S A CIVIL WAR happening.  BUT.  I trust Leckie knows what she's doing and I will be waiting on tenterhooks for the next book in the trilogy.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (library book) - Ugh. I don't like memoirs and this was a memoir in free verse. I can't. National Book Award winner or not, this book was not for me.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (library book) -  Perfectly acceptable young adult literature, if somewhat boring after the first few chapters. The initial premise was interesting, but that premise just faded away into a generic novel.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (library book) -  The reason this book is getting a lot of attention is because of the format - it's told as a series of snippets from the narrator's perspective through stream of consciousness - not because it's terribly interesting or develops any new themes on love and life. It's terribly good at creating a sense of foreboding and melancholy, so much so that I was simply miserable when I finished, convinced that the sense of foreboding was realized in the end.  I don't know if I'd recommend it exactly, but if you're interested in literary experimentation, you might enjoy it.

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (library book) -  Pros:  The book has an interesting twist - it's told from the end of the story to the beginning, to the event that started the rest of the dominoes of the story. It's great at mood setting and it asks some interesting questions about being human (that's deliberately vague to avoid spoilers).  Cons: It was sold to me as something folks who liked Ready Player One would like and it's nothing like Ready Player One, although some of the gamer stuff was interesting.  Also, I just didn't care about the character, the BIG EVENT, or much of anything else about the world in which it was set. The ending/beginning was nebulous enough to make me want to hurl the book across the room.  So, I guess I'd give it an underwhelming positive review.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (library book) - This has been on my library list forever, at least since I regularly taught high school students who regularly suggested I read this book. I regularly put off reading it because it was recommended to me by high schoolers.  Anyway, of course, I loved it. The character was real, it showed how all that can be good can be bad, and although there was a bit of where the hell are the parents, it consistently showcased appropriate consequences for actions in way that resonated with me.  If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend that you do so.

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