I started writing this the night before I left for Cuba and meant to put it up before I left, but then the power went out and I didn’t get a chance. I read a couple of books on vacation anyway, so now I have more to add!
If you’ve ever read Sam’s blog you know she’s hilarious. I cannot lie though, sometimes I have a difficult time reading an entire blog post of hers because they are lengthy and the intermittent multi-coloured bold distracts my brain. Sometimes I will go back and read when I have more time, because I usually do my blog reading in the morning as soon as I get into work, so I only have time for quick and dirty. But for her book, I was ready. I was prepared for a novel and it delivered.
Meaty made me laugh harder than possibly any book I have read before. There were passages about her IBS that made me laugh so hard I cried. And I am not one to laugh out loud when I am reading. She somehow is able to be bitingly funny and no nonsense, take no crap from anyone, while being sweet and vulnerable at the same time. I was only about a quarter of the way through the book when I texted my Bestie and told her she needed to get the book immediately. And Meaty was also quite heartwarming, as Sam has been through some tough times, and that is an understatement. I love her, and I loved her book.
A heads up if you do not enjoy swearing, you will not enjoy that book. I enjoy swearing, so I liked it. I wish I could get away with throwing around as many inappropriate words as she does, I am so envious of her voice.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
This book had a big buildup for me, because it has been on all these list of best books of 2014 and it had been recommended to me by several people. Usually when this happens, when a book has been recommended to death, it comes as a disappointment when I read it. This book was not. I loved it. I absolutely loved the story. A war story, coming of age story, a bit of romance, all things I like. The writing was just majestic, and every page was so descriptive and hauntingly beautiful. Sometimes too much detail in books annoys me, but the detail in this was magical. That Anthony Doerr has a gift.
However, I wasn’t completely enthralled in a cannot-put-this-book-down sort of way. The pacing was just a bit too slow for me, and I never really had that “OMG what’s going to happen next?!” feeling. Also, I never realized until this book just how much I enjoy short chapters.
The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).
This is one of those books that I have been meaning to read forever. When I worked at Chapters I would keep a to-read list in the pocket of my bookselling vest because either customers would recommend things to me, or I would see people buying books that I wanted to read. And then when I got paid I would spend all my money on books (better than spending it on ice cream though, like when I worked at Dairy Queen…at least books don’t make you fat). Anyway, this book was on that to-read list, but it kept getting trumped by other books and I just never got around to it. Well I finally did!
First off, I love that Bill Bryson’s humour. He has a smug dry wit that makes me laugh (in my head). This book really made me want to go on a hiking expedition on the Appalachian Trail, but also made me realize that I am not really missing anything by not hiking the Appalachian Trail. There are parts of the trail that I feel I would really enjoy, like the Smokies, but otherwise it just sounded like a shit ton of trees followed by more trees. Nothing super exciting happened, and I was hoping for at least a bear story, but unfortunately Bill and his chubby hiking buddy didn’t come across any. But, it was a good, well-written book and I’m glad that I finally read it, though I don’t think I am quite as nuts over it as other people seem to be.
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
God, the main character of this book was annoying. I wanted to grab her and shake her and tell her to get her life together for the first half of the book. I understand she’s been through a lot, but she repeatedly just made the worst decisions, and it was really frustrating as a reader. I would never be able to write a book like this because it would kill me to write a character like Rachel. Actually, every character in this book was a hot mess.
The Girl On The Train has been compared to Gone Girl a lot, and I wish I didn’t go into my reading experience thinking that. I don’t know how it was similar other than the fact that they both keep you in suspense, and yes if you liked Gone Girl you will probably like this book too. But Gone Girl is a stand alone work of literary genius that I personally don’t think compares to anything else I have read. To me, The Girl On The Train didn’t stand apart from other thrillers. That said, I didn’t figure out whodunnit until close to the end, so it did keep me in suspense, and I did enjoy reading it.
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
Oh, I loved this book. Now this book I could not put down. I lent it to Evan and then he lent it to his friend Ian, and they both loved it too. It’s an easy breezy read, simple writing and not overly descriptive, but the story is original, and I just thought it was a very good idea for a book. I do tend to enjoy sci-fi/fantasy, but I am kind of over the Hunger Games, Divergent type dystopic societies for now. I liked that this book was different, and it wasn’t so crazy that I couldn’t picture it happening. Well, I actually can’t picture the entire world becoming obsessed with the 80s, but I can picture something happening similar to the OASIS. I also love video games, so I appreciated those references. I just wished there was a mention of Toejam and Earl!
Overall, it was quite the trip down memory lane. I was into all the 80s/90s pop culture references, and I was not expecting a Go reference. Answer the question, Claire. I forgot how much I used to like that movie.
I also really loved all the characters in this book. I’m so excited this is going to be a movie!
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…
Paper Towns really had a similar feel to Looking For Alaska, another book by John Green that I read recently. Very similar characters. Thoughtful, nice, nerdy guy who is about to grab life by the balls, and impossibly cool, unattainable girl who everyone thinks they know, but no one really knows. Though Paper Towns has a very similar formula to John Green’s other books, I loved it. I liked it more than Looking For Alaska, in fact, because the characters in this book, although similar, felt more like real people than characters. Reading passages of Q talking with his friends felt authentic, like observing guys in high school. The language wasn’t too hyper-articulate, Dawson Creek-y, like everyone is 18 but talks like they’re 45. I thought it was a good story.