Monday, September 3, 2012

What I've Been Reading Lately

Well I didn't read as much as I normally would over summer for two reasons.  The first was that my mom was here and we stayed BUSY.  Like, seriously busy.  As you might have noticed.  The second was that I tackled the Pillars of the Earth, which is a thousand pages.  Meaty, savory, intense pages.

But I started with Pure.  And I gotta say, I loved it.  I really did.  I wasn't going to read it, because someone or another who like produced a Twilight movie or something talked about how good it was, and I think we all know how I feel about those books.  And movies, for that matter.  But then Justin Cronin actually did a blurb for it, and you KNOW how I feel about him.  So I got on the list, and eventually they called and I sat down to start reading. 

Two days later, I stopped.  It was good.  It was WEIRD.  It weirded me out a lot more than I ever thought it would.  I don't know, I think I have a thing for nukes, you know? Did you ever read that book about the ten thousand paper cranes? She had leukemia from the bombs in Hiroshima.  And then I read about the shadows being burned into walls there and then I married a guy who does nuclear engineering for a living and even though he spends hours telling me that nuclear power isn't the same as a nuclear bomb, you know, you hear the word 'nuclear' and you basically think one thing: people being vaporized, or people with an extra hand growing out of their forehead.

Or maybe that's just me?

Obviously, it's not, because Pure has both- people being vaporized AND people with an extra hand growing out of their forehead.  Or rather, people with their little brothers fused into their backs and poking up over their shoulders.  Or people fused with birds flapping in their backs.  Or tiny little menopause fans fused into their throats, spinning when they breathe.  Or baby doll heads fused into their hands, and when they try to cut the baby doll head out, they realize that it's not just MELTED into their hand, it's FUSED, like it's part of them.  So when the baby doll head gets sliced, the girl feels it, it hurts and bleeds.

Like I said, WEIRD.  But it was a good story.  Nothing too spectacular, I called most of the 'surprises' well before they happened.  But it was pretty well written.  A little unbelievable for me.  I mean, aside from the fusing bruhahaha.  I just have a hard time believing people, no matter how desperate and desolate and beat down and scared, would let their kids be taken off to be either hunted for target practice or turned into killers.  You know? At least not the way she wrote it.  That whole part just didn't seem very real to me.

But I liked Pressia enough, and I really liked Bradwell (was that his name? I don't have a copy, it was from the library) but I didn't care one way or another for Partridge.  He was sort of a sissy.  And not in a badass Peeta sort of way.  You know?

Next I came up for Blue Like Jazz at the library.  I'd seen the movie preview with LJ from Prison Break, and it looked good.  I got about halfway through and bailed.  I have no idea what it was supposed to be about.  I don't typically read non fiction, but if that's how it's usually set up, I don't think I'll try anything else.  As far as I could tell, it was either about how he found God, or how he left God.  I'm thinking the former.  It was slow and boring and had a lot of simple grammatical errors, and you KNOW how I feel about that.

Then I started Pillars of the Earth.  I've stopped twice for other things, so I'm saving that review for when I (finally) finish, but I wanted you to know that I'm reading it, and it's phenomenal. 

The first time I stopped was because my name came up for Divergent.  Now.  I had no idea what this was about going in.  I'd heard people talking about it, it seemed all right, so I got on the list.

It would not be overly dramatic to say that this was one of my favorite books of all time.

I don't know why.  I truly don't.  It was well written, but not absurdly so.  It was fast paced and had action, but no more than most other books I read.  I'm almost ashamed to say this, but...I liked it better than Hunger Games. It's not like, the next Hunger Games, or another Hunger Games, it's definitely its own type of story.  But...I didn't particularly like Katniss, and I was head over heels for Tris.  I felt like Katniss only ever did anything heroic because she had to.  She had to save her sister, that's how it all got started.  But Tris...she was just better.  She wanted to do the right thing.  She has to make DIFFICULT decisions, where Katniss doesn't really have to decide anything, it's "do this or die." Tris is quite and calm and so so smart, where Katniss is just a whirlwind.  I dunno.  I talked Yvonne into reading it, and I think she was scared to tell me that she'd liked it, but she wasn't obsessed with it.

I was obsessed.  I dreamed about Four for weeks.  I can picture the Dauntless headquarters PERFECTLY in my mind.  I know what all their voices sound like.  I was just so immersed in this story- I can't think right now of one single example where this has ever happened to me before, even though I know it has.

I just loved it.  If you're interested in a plot summary, I'll try to sum it up.  Hmm, is that where 'summary' comes from? Weird.  Anyway, in this future Chicago, everyone is divided into factions based on their traits.  Well, they're born into their factions, and then they get to decide if they want to stay, or move to a new one.  There's one for super smart people, one for selfless people, one for what, peaceful calm people? They're just sort of high and love everyone or whatever.  There's people who are always brutally honest, and there's brave.  Not just brave, but sort of reckless, but I guess it didn't start out that way.  So anyway, Tris grew up in the selfless faction, and she truly is selfless.  However, she's also super smart (but I don't think she's realized that, just the reader) and daring.  Brave.  Dauntless.

Man, I'm getting all excited talking about it!! Anyway, after her test to see where she should go, SPOILER ALERT she decides to leave her family and head for Dauntless, where she meets Four.   And then it just goes into her training and all and the story, which is one faction trying to take over all the others.

It's just good.  You'll have to trust me.  And the scene where she climbs up the ferris wheel? Be still my heart.  I have a thing with heights, and normally I would have had to skip those paragraphs, but I stuck through it, sweating bullets and having heart palpitations, and it was awesome.

So obviously, as soon as I was done with that one, there was NO WAY I was waiting on the library for number two, so I downloaded it.  Sadly, it wasn't as good.  You could tell that Veronica Roth had spent her entire life (all twenty four years of it!!!) writing Divergent, and less than what, a year, writing the sequel.  There were simple errors (calling a character the WRONG name, that whole thing with the windows, when she blows them out, then she hears the rain on the window, get with it lady!!) and I wasn't at all surprised by the surprise ending, but it was still really really REALLY good.  The toughest part for me was that now we don't call him Four, we call him Tobias.  Gag me.  No offense if you named your baby Tobias or anything, but that has got to be the lamest name in the history of ever.

Then I went back to Pillars of the Earth for a while, until the new Odd Thomas book came out, then I quit to read that real quick.

It wasn't stellar.  I love the Odd Tomas books, I really do.  They're some of my favorite stories of ever.  But this one was so much like so many of his other books- I'm getting a little sick of the future folding back on us, the Frankenstein angle, and the whole mad scientist who tries to make a better world and ends up with scary monsters and nano swarms that destroy the entire planet.  We get it.  Move on.  

The next one better be better. I want old school Odd, like the first four.

And now I'm back for more Pillars of the Earth.  I'm dying to see how Jack ends up with Aliena (I peeked ahead so I know they're gonna get it on) and how Tom dies.  It's really so good, it's just so intensive to read!! I'm on the list at the library for Gone Girl, Where we Belong, The Cove, and one other one that I can't remember, and a while back I bought Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and I've been too scared to read it.  Oh, the other one is Cloud Atlas, duh.  

Have ya'll been reading anything good lately?

1 comment:

  1. Haven't read anything in a while. I want to but just haven't found a book that I really want to read. Maybe I'll give divergent a shot.