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May booklist

Better late than never, amirite?

1. The Elite, Kiera Cass

A decent sequel to The Selection, which finds America (a girl, not a country) still trying to decide between her first love and Prince Maxon, as well as navigate increasingly tricky politically charged situations. It was suitable for an afternoon of light reading but isn't something I'm heavily - heck, even lightly - invested in. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't awesome.

2. How to Read Great Literature like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster

If this is how professors read literature, then I don't want any of it. Apparently you're never supposed to think that anything is ever just what it seems, rain always has a hidden meaning, and everything is probably really about sex.

Also the author was a pretentious ... well, anyway.

3. The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett (audio)

I canna lie: I listened to this for the Scottish accents of the wee free men. I was not disappointed. And too, it's just a great book.

4. A Walk in Wolf Wood, Mary Stewart

Until this I hadn't realized that Mary Stewart wrote anything for children! This was a very nice realistic-but-fairytale-like story about enchantment, werewolves, evil, and the power of good people.

5. Blackout
6. All Clear, Connie Willis

Oh, come on. I don't really need to say anything about these, do I?

7. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell (from netgalley)

The book that convinced me to sign up with NetGalley, and w00t, so worth it! I'm not sure how much is okay to say since the book won't be released for quite awhile yet, but here are several things:

a. I REALLY liked the writing
b. it's a really good exploration of fanfiction and why people write it
c. also very naturally addresses subjects like grief, social anxiety, twinship, etc.

I approve.

8. What Matters in Jane Austen? John Mullan

Although this didn't contain the most thrilling or shocking of revelations, I dare say you'll be hard pressed to find a more thoughtful examination of the little details of Jane Austen's work in context.

9. The Young Unicorns, Madeline L'Engle

Read this for the setting (NYC, in and out of St. John the Divine) and also because hello, L'Engle. While bits of it didn't ring entirely true (a genie?!) it was by turns entertaining, suspenseful, and thought-provoking.

10. Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein

This is the review I've been putting off writing, because ... how in the world do you write about this?

None of my words seem adequate.

The bare facts: There were, as we know, horrific labor camps (and death camps) run by the Nazis. There were incredibly inhuman medical experiments carried out on prisoners. The conditions in the camps themselves were often completely inhuman. This book is about that, and in some ways that makes Rose Under Fire read as more immediately realistic than Code Name Verity - Julie's imprisonment, while similar things certainly happened to real people, was fictional. Rose Under Fire contains a host of atrocities that can be historically verified. You can go to Ravensbruck. You can see pictures of the victims of the medical experiments online. You can read first-person accounts of the horrors of the camps written by people who survived them.

Rose may be fictional, but what she experienced was not. And that makes this often a hard book to read ... and a hard book to review. Tell the world: it's a heavy responsibility.

Many of the things I said about CNV also fit this book. It's about courage and bravery, the bond of female friendship, the strength of humanity even as their humanity was stripped from them. It is powerful, and also, I think, necessary: we mustn't forget that this happened, we owe them that.

There are some CNV characters that show up (I can't really say more); one thing I especially liked was getting to see Maddie (and her friendship with Julie) through the eyes of someone who only knew Maddie after Julie's death.

There are other really wonderful moments which I can't really talk about. The flying bits are wizard, the writing sings, and while I am no connoisseur of poetry (my current favorite book of poems is I Could Pee On This, a book of poems by cats), the use of poetry (and the original poetry) in this book can be summed up in one word: brilliant.

11. Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Laini Taylor

I was REALLY SKEPTICAL of this for whatever reason (I think it was the demons) but you know, actually it was quite good. And that's a really lame "review" but I can't think of what else to say about it.

12 The Affair, Jack Reacher

Jack's beginning; Jack pursues mysteries people really wish he wouldn't, beats gangs of ruffians up effortlessly, delivers his own brand of justice, and is generally Cool. *fans self*


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 10th, 2013 12:11 pm (UTC)
I just finished Blackout! And on to All Clear. I was grumbling greatly about the book in the beginning, but I told Daniel, "Marie loves these books. She highly recommends them. So I am going to trust her and stick it out." Now I'm entirely wrapped up in everything so while the problems of the book haven't gone anyway, I am far less grumbly about it.

The grumbly parts: SO. REPETITIVE. I kept rolling my eyes in the beginning and wanted to yell at the author, I GET IT ALREADY, mkay? The characters repeat themselves a lot.. in words and in thought. Then, the next chapter, the next character has the SAME THOUGHTS and it's the same ole repetition. Which is frustrating for the set up of a book. It's dialogue heavy with little-to-no description of the characters. I think it was at the very end of Blackout that I even found Merope had red hair. It's the style of writing that I don't particularly like.

But the plot is interesting and I am wrapped up in the characters. I have all sorts of theories on what is happening and I am eager to find out if it's true or if I am way off base.

Three Cheers for L'Engle!
And I never, ever want to read a book like an English Professor. I often think I could have been an English teacher. I thought long and hard about it because it just made SENSE for me to be an English teacher, but I abhored what all my English teachers did to literature. SOMETIMES IT'S JUST RAIN, yanno? And I am one for loving symbolism, so, yes, it's overkill.
Jun. 10th, 2013 09:32 pm (UTC)
FIRST, I'm really sorry I didn't answer your text yesterday about Blackout - I was super excited when I got it! I just wasn't able to answer until much later and I was afraid you'd already be asleep. BUT! EXCITEMENT! And I am so flattered that you trust my book tastes enough to keep with it when when it wasn't looking so good - oh gosh I hope I never let you down. *quakes*

You're definitely not the first person to mention the repetitiveness. It's never bothered me, but I think that may be because I just love Willis' style (from previous exposure) and that's part of it? It does get frustrating in Blackout how many missed connections/misunderstandings/lack of communication there is, but later it will all become clear. :D The first time I read it I just got so terribly stressed because if they'd all just be honest with each other they'd have a better chance and figuring things out.

I also never really noticed her lack of descriptions but you are SO right. I have pictures in my head of what all the main characters look like but she rarely mentions anything about their appearance.
Jun. 10th, 2013 06:36 pm (UTC)
I'm loving how Jack is totally macho without being chauvinist, which really oughtn't to be possible, somehow.

Lee Child does a great job of getting Reacher involved with smart, strong women who often worry about saving him as much as he worries about saving then.

And then the reveal in this book (it's the third I've read) about him mom makes you go, "Oh, so that's why he likes competent, kick-ass women."

Loved it by the end, though it took me a while to get into it after loving #2 so much.

Jun. 10th, 2013 09:34 pm (UTC)
I'm eager to continue the series! Still waiting for the next book to get returned to the library ... *taps fingers*

Such a good point about Jack being macho without being chauvinistic. I hadn't exactly put my finger on it, but that's a perfect way to describe it.
Jun. 10th, 2013 11:13 pm (UTC)
My experience with a college lit class (at a state university): for those professors, yes, everything really is about sex. So insanely juvenile and annoying. Keats and Dickinson weren't obsessed like y'all, OKAY?

ahem. I'm still bitter, even six years later.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )