Friday, May 18, 2012

What I've Been Reading Lately

I was going to title it something cute about books I've read in 2012, but I started reading 77 Shadow Street on the plane over here, which was in December.  So not 2012.  And that bothered me.  So I stopped trying to think of a cute title and went with What I've Been Reading instead.

I was terrified that starting Zoloft would stifle the tiny bit of creativity I possess.

I think I was correct.  I can never think of anything to write anymore.

Hence the lag in blogging.

I will continue to take it.  Maybe I'm just boring right now.  But, if in a few months, when I sit down to write something else that I write (and never ever let anyone see)- if I cannot write, I cannot keep taking it. I love writing.  I can't give it up, even for sanity.

But.  This post is about What I've Been Reading.

Hence the title.

"Yeah, hence!!" 

Nine MILLION points if you can name that movie.

All right.  Like I said, I read 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz on the flight over here.  It was so-so.  Typical Dean Koontz, telling his typical story.  Lots of characters, human kind is on the verge of destroying itself, a few good people step up to save the day.

I like typical Dean Koontz though, so I liked it.  He always puts out a book right after Christmas, and it's always basically the same, and I always sort of like it.  What can I say, I'm a creature of habit.

His Odd Thomas books are different, and I wish he'd hurry up and put out another one.

After we got our new TV stand with flanking bookshelves, I went on and ordered a bunch of my favorites, which I previously only had in worn out paperbacks, for like two dollars and sixty cents.  I'm working my way through all of them (off the top of my head, I can think of ten Stephen King books alone I put up there that I want to re-read) but I keep getting sidetracked with new stuff, so thus far, I've only made it thru Jurassic Park and Carrie.

I think I've probably said enough about Jurassic Park on this blog to last a lifetime.  I loved it JUST as much this time I read it as I did the first time.  Which was about ten times ago.  Yes, I'm being totally serious, I've read this book ten times.  At the very least.

I have NO idea why I love it.  You barely get to meet the characters, it's a ridiculous story...I don't get it.  But I love it.  Again, I think it has a lot to do with how much I loved it the first time, and how fun life was back then.  Every time I read it, I feel like that again.  Maybe that's it?  Or maybe I'm just a weirdo, who knows.

This was only my second time with Carrie.  Still love it.  I LOVE the way SK writes women.  I just love it.  I didn't notice it until a few years ago when I read Under the Dome, with Sammy (was that her name?) but then, after you realize it, you think back on all his books, and there's ALWAYS a perfectly created, strong, sacrificing, amazing woman.  Always. Even if she's a background character, she's always there.  Carrie's not quite the same as his other heroes, but there's a few other women in there trying to do the right thing, you know?

This was about the time I finally made it into the library up the road.

And then my heart exploded and I died.

In Guam, I would say, without hesitation, that the hardest thing for me was the crap library.  Absolutely.  I missed having a library like you wouldn't BELIEVE.

But that's in the past, and the library here is amazing and magical and just perfect.  Know what I mean? When a library just has that magical feeling? I love libraries.  I hope all this Kindle business doesn't do away with libraries completely.

I got on the wait list for every book ever written, then I grabbed an old Dean Koontz, Cold Fire, to keep me busy till they called me.  Or rather, sent an email.  Remember when they used to call? FYI, I'm still waiting for a call from the Guam library that it's my turn for Game of Thrones.

I put my name on this list in July of 2011.

This was good.  Typical Dean Koontz, but it's one of the two-people stories instead of the big ensemble.  I really liked it, more than 77 Shadow Street.  I should re-read False Memory, that's my favorite Dean Koontz. In this one, there's a guy who has visions so he can save people (sort of) but then he decides he wants to get to the bottom of these sort-of visions, so he meets a plucky reporter and they fall in love and figure everything out.

Sounds lame.  But it was good enough for me.

If you ever meet Stephen King, PLEASE don't tell him I'm a Dean Koontz fan.  How embarrassing.  I would DIE.  Literally.  So keep your mouth shut.

Then they finally emailed and I got my  hands on this little gem. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. In case you live under a rock, this is the book that Hermione is doing for her first post-HP movie!!! She's Sam, and I knew that going in, so I guess I'm biased, but she is going to be PERFECT.  Absolutely perfect, I loved it.

It took me thirty six hours to read this.  It was THAT good.  I loved EVERYTHING about it.  Except I meant to write down all the songs on the tape he makes for Patrick, and I forgot.  So if you read it, do me a favor and snap a pic of that part.  Yes, I'm sure I could google it.  But it seems wrong to use google, because they didn't have the internet back then.

Back in the olden days.



Anyway.  After that, they called for Crossed, the sequel to Matched.

I didn't love it.  But I didn't love Matched, so my hopes weren't too high.  It's hard to explain, but here's the gist: it's a good story.  It's not a good BOOK, by any means, but it's a good story, and I was interested to see what would happen next.  I didn't really care one way or the other about Cassia (is that her name? Or is it just Cassie? This is how much it didn't matter to me!!) in the first one, but in this one she's a lot more likable.  

If you liked these, read The Giver by Lois Lowry.  These books (Matched and Crossed) are basically The Giver, but EXTREMELY dumbed down, and with a lot of silly hormones thrown in for no good reason. If I were going to die alone on a deserted island and I could only take three books with me, The Giver would be the first thing I grabbed.

I.  Love.  The.  Giver.
I don't know about the history of books, but I do know my history.  The Giver was the first time I'd ever been presented with the idea of a dystopian future.  Now, dystopian future books are ALL the rage.  So even though I don't know if it's true, I like to think of The Giver as the very first dystopian future book.  And the ENTIRE time I was reading Matched (the first one) I just kept thinking This woman read The Giver, thought it was awesome, ripped it off, and ruined it.

But it was still good.  I don't get it.  I liked it, despite all the bad things I just said about it.

Hey.  Speaking of weird dystopian future stories, have you ever heard of Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, by Kate Wilhelm?

I hadn't either.  My dad got it for me for Christmas because he was always nagging me to read it.  He's always nagging me to read things, and I never do, and then I finally do, and they're always good.

I should just listen to him the first time.

Anyway.  This is by far the STRANGEST book I've ever read.  Ever.  It's a little blurry, but here's what I remember.  There's like a farm in Vermont of something.  The world is slowly falling apart, people are getting sick and crops are failing, all that typical dystopian crap.  But someone this family in Vermont is a bunch of genius scientists who figure out how to clone? I think? So they start cloning people and animals to eat and stuff...and then tons of time goes by and now there's just all these clones walking around in their society? I can't exactly remember.  I know that's the gist of it, all these groups of clones.  I believe that they're only two people, this one boy and one girl, but there might be other people too.  I should reread it.  It's VERY weird.  Since they're all clones, they SORT of group-think, but not really...I need to google this.  Hang on.  Here's what's on the back of the book.
Now one of her most famous novels returns to print, the spellbinding story of an isolated post-holocaust community determined to preserve itself, through a perilous experiment in cloning. Sweeping, dramatic, rich with humanity, and rigorous in its science, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang is widely regarded as a high point of both humanistic and "hard" SF, and won SF's Hugo Award and Locus Award on its first publication. It is as compelling today as it was then.

Not that helpful.  It's weird.  That's all I remember for sure.  The clones only want more clones, they don't ever want to have a baby.  And they get dumb, they can't think for themselves.  Anyway.  Just thought I'd tell you about a weird book that I barely remember.

I'm helpful that way.

Anyway, halfway through Crossed, they called for The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.  I'd been waiting FOREVER by this point (at least ten days) so I finished Crossed in less than a day and dug in to this.

It was amazing.  I'll start with that.  By far, one of the greatest books I've ever read.

That being said, it was hard to read.  The language is REALLY rich, lots of words.  It's pretty long, five hundred pages in the version I got. It took me ten days to read.  I can normally read about a hundred pages a day, but this was just SO rich.  I know that's a weird word to describe a writing style, but I can't think of another one.  And it's accurate, it was a RICH story.

It's four different woman different parts of the same story.  It's amazing.  I don't know another word to describe it.  It's like in Bible times, 71CE, which I guess is the same as AD? I'm not sure.  They hint at John the Baptist getting his head cut off, and until that part, I'd assumed it was 71BC.  I don't know anything about history.  Any history.  But this was the Romans on these rampages to wipe out the lands where all the Jewish people lived.  And these four woman end up in this last stronghold, in what they believe to be an impenatrable castle on top of a mountain.

Spoiler alert- nothing is impenetrable.

It was amazing.  These woman, their stories, their raw brutality, their vulnerability, their strength...they're amazing.  All four of them.  They're the kind of women SK would get on board with.

I will be buying my own copy of this book soon, at full price if it doesn't go on super duper sale SOON.  That should tell you something, because I NEVER pay for books.  EVER.  I still haven't bought my hard back copy of The Passage, because I'm too cheap.  The Passage is one of my favorite books of all time, and I will pay triple for The Dovekeepers than what I would for The Passage.

It was THAT good ya'll.  It was THAT GOOD.

And I just got the call for this, Pure, by Julianna Baggot, so I picked that up earlier today.  I haven't even cracked it open, but apparently it's yet another YA dystopian future, but the main girl has a baby doll fussed to her hand? Does that sound right? Maybe there was some sort of nuclear explosion and instead of vaporizing her, it melted a doll to her hand? Now, I know that Nick is the nuclear engineer and I'm just the stay at home mom...but something about that doesn't sound right to me.  I should just look on the back of the book.  But I don't feel like getting up.

I am open to any suggestions, what are ya'll reading right now? I bought Blue October, but then my battery on my reader died so I just got a library card instead of hunting for the cord.  I just love libraries.  I mean, what could be better than reading great books for free?

I can't think of a single thing.  Maybe seeing a movie for free? That would be awesome.

But not as awesome as a library.


  1. I love a good reading list--thanks for this!! (I loved The Giver!!)

    And, I thought of you when I read this list, and I wanted to pass it along. I thought you might appreciate it as much as I did...I was going to link to it in my blog, but I realized that not everyone loves reading and writing, I thought you might...

  2. Thanks for some suggetions, I have been REALLY slacking on reading this year. It is my favorite thing but has getting pushed aside with school/work/internet stuff. Looking forward to a long lazy summer with some new books loaded up on my kindle!

  3. I hate our library. It's terrible. I've been on the wait list for a number of books for well over a year. And they don't even HAVE the Dovekeepers. Blech to my library, but so glad you've got access to a good one now!