Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Reading List for...let's just say 2014

I have got to get this down sooner. This took far too long to write. I would say this list is from as far back as Christmas, I think. I have not been a good blogger but I have a few things I am working on. So you will be rewarded soon, dear readers.

17. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion- okay it’s a zombie book, sure. But it’s also more human than most zombie fiction (as opposed to zombie fact). It’s a zombie book from the perspective of the zombie and that is something I haven’t read before which is refreshing. You kind of start to pity this emo zombie at one point and who knew that possible. Also it contains something that most zombie books do not, a cure.

18. Rena’s Promise by Rena Kornreich Gelissen -  Non-fiction.  Rena’s promise was to always look after her little sister which became considerably harder once they both ended up in Auschwitz for over three years. In those three years, they basically built the ovens that would later incinerate them one day if they proved too weak to work any longer. It’s an excellent survivor’s story and I am a sucker for those.

19. Night by Elie Wiesel - Non-fiction. I like a good non-fiction war story when it’s from the point of few of those that lived through it. I have no interest in reading about a war. I like a more personal story, you see? Wiesel was actually in the same concentration camp with Rena and her sister but for a much shorter stay. It’s no less harrowing a story, though. And it’s also from the male point of view.

20. Horns by Joe Hill – This was just a good book. I do not know what kind of genes Stephen King is giving out, but they are of the crazy-gifted-creatively kind. One day, Ignatius wakes up from a blurry night of drunken melancholic shenanigans with horns. But the horns have just as much affect of him as they on everyone else. They bring out the worst in people and it is amazing. Also, this is not your average supernatural story, I don’t think. It’s very real and the best kind of entertaining. I think most people who don’t normally read the genre would really enjoy this book. I thought it was wonderful.

21. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski – I didn’t know that I would be this fascinated with animal husbandry.  Also, it made me want all the dogs. After reading two fairly graphic non-fiction novels about mass genocide, I figured I could stomach a story that would more than likely contain a few dog deaths. Perspective. Overall, it was a compelling book but a little over-long for my tastes. Also, in the last 20% of the book, each chapter starts to separate out into points of view of the same event and this drives me batshit crazy. I don’t want to read the same thing from the perspective of three different people and then a dog. I have read the same thing once already, please don’t make me read it again, three more fucking times, over the span of 150 pages. Who has time for that? Ain’t nobody.

22. The Neighbors are Watching by Debra Ginsberg: This is where the different perspective works as a story telling device. Time has passed since the last chapter and the story progresses!!  I am really having a hard time remembering what this is about. I know I liked it! Ok. A google search tells me that is about the suburbs in San Diego during the 2007 wildfires. Oh yeah, ok. A pregnant teenager shows up. Things go crazy. It’s all a “You never know who you are living next door to,” kind of thing. Which is fun.

23. N0S4A2 by Joe Hill: Nosferatu. Get it? Nosferatu means Dracula in German, but everyone knows that, right? Surely. It’s not a vampire story, but it is but not like a blood-sucking vampire. More like a life-sucking vampire and creepy children in another dimension where it is always Christmas and you can only get there from your dreams. I don’t know how to explain it better than that. When I was recommended this book I was told that one of the characters is very much like me but not which one. So I read along looking out and I came upon a very strange purple-haired librarian with a penchant for nerdery and I was like “This is surely me.” Then I continued reading and came to this, “With your mother’s tattoos and unfeminine mode of speech…” and that is when I realized I was not the librarian but the main character. I think most people will be surprised at how good this book is. Much like Horns, it’s a great story a worth a read no matter your usual preferences.

24. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby: The book starts with four people meeting on the roof of a tall building on New Years Eve intent on killing themselves. And to be honest, I would be ok with that.  None of these four are great people and at times you are going to wish they would just kill themselves but I think that is supposed to be the point. It’s crazy well-written and for the lack of a better, less-pretentious word, it’s pretty fucking poignant. These people aren’t the greatest, but they know that and you see them start to realize how terrible they have been and poorly they have treated people.

25. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simson– A man with aspergers sets out to help a manic pixie dream girl find her father and himself a mate with science. Guess what  happens?!?!??? It’s pretty obvious from the start how this is going to end but it is an adorably fun ride there. 

26. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard – Adorable but not exactly fun unless you consider your soul being crushed fun. I do not. It’s just a very sad story, is all I can say about it. You will feel sorry for every character at one point and you will weep for them. Or I did, but I weep for everything. I am a born weeper.

27. Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris – I don’t know how I went so far in my life, liking the things that I like and I never knew this was a book first.* And then when I found that out, I don’t know why it took me so long to read it. It’s pretty much exactly like you would picture the book version of the movie to be. Enjoyable. Fun. Gruesome. All good things.

28. The Stand by Stephen King – Holy shit was this book long. So long. And this was the extended version which is supposed to have 150,000 more words. That is too many more words, especially considering most of those words were dreams. The same dream by different characters which I mostly skimmed over because, really?! My beloved Stephen is very fond of writing about dreams and that is not something I love about him.  And it may very well be symbolism that the book was crazy long and the journeys of the characters were crazy long as well, but I really didn’t need to read about even grain of sand they passed along the way. I didn’t. That being said, I still loved it as I knew I would.  If you enjoy apocalyptic fiction, it’s worth a gander.

29. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak– This would be the first book I have read about WWII that wasn’t from the perspective of a Jewish person. No one is in hiding but they are prisoners just the same. Okay there may be a few people hiding.  It’s about a little girl told through the perspective of death. And it is beautiful. It lived up to the hype.  

30. found. by Todd Rigney – I was warned that this book was very gory and gruesome but I just kind of scoffed at that. I can take it. I’ve seen many a gruesome horror movie and read countless books on the macabre. I stand corrected, because nothing has been quite as disturbing as this. Well, no. That isn’t right. First you have disturbing and then you have this book. It’s told from the point of view of a boy in the fifth grade living in Kentucky. To quote a memorable passage, “My brother is a head collecting racist.” I don’t know what else I need to say here. When this book was recommended to me, it was explained, “It’s a short book, easy to read, has a nice little flow..and then INSANITY SHIT WTF, book over.” That is a more solid description than I could ever give it. 

That is all I have for now, guys. I am currently making my way slowly and cautiously down the Kingsroad and through Game of Thrones. I am about 15% through A Storm of Swords right now. That is the third book and the first part of the third season.

I am about to spoil the show. If you are not caught up on the show, go away. Or not. It’s your choice.

I have a growing pit in my stomach every time I read anything alluding to the Red Wedding. Guys, I don’t want to go through it again. I just don’t. I am dreading it. Catelyn just met Rob’s wife. And I am just like “You stupid fucking child!” When the first time when I saw it on the show I was like “Catelyn is being way too harsh about this.” No. She had it about right. At this point in the  book she knows they are fucked and I am like “Listen to your mother, you arrogant child!” Sigh. But I have come too far to go back now. So I forge on. The night is dark and full of greasy bird eating. Seriously. There are just so many birds being eaten in this series…

* I also did not know until a few years ago that The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me were based on short stories by Stephen King. It’s true.


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