what i read : may 2012

June 14, 2012

Hey look, mostly adult books last month!

In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard

It’s about: A coming-of-age story told from the point of view of a nameless 14-year-old girl who considers herself a sidekick, flying under the radar. She’s got a well-meaning but drunk father, a burnt out mother, an annoying older sister, and a sweet younger brother. More importantly, she has a best friend named Felicia. Although there isn’t really a PLOT, tension does come when the relationship with Felicia is tested because of normal adolescent things – boys, popular girls taking an interest in one but not the other, and family stuff.

I thought: It was completely up my alley and I had a really good feeling the whole time I was reading. Parts were kind of sad or heartbreaking, but somehow not depressing at all. I thought the end was perfect even though nothing really resolved. Solid.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

It’s about: A refugee from Nigeria meets a wealthy journalist couple on vacation and their worlds collide in a terrible way.

I thought: I couldn’t finish it. I read over half of it and it was giving me a terrible feeling. It’s dark and depressing without any hint of hope or redemption. I don’t need that in my life right now.

Rating: 1 of 5 stars.

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

It’s about: This is the sequel to Eragon, and I listened to both on audio. Eragon is a dragon rider, and he and his dragon Saphira have just saved the world in a big battle against the evil emperor, and now they travel to the land of the elves for further training. Meanwhile in his hometown his cousin Roran is leading the village in a fight against the empire’s soldiers.

I thought: Although I like the characters and I care about what happens to them, there was waaay too little action in this. I almost gave up in the middle because the descriptions of the training sessions got so boring and repetitive. The only upside is that when the action comes at the end there is a bigger payoff because of all you’ve invested. I don’t know if I’ll read the next one or not though.

Rating: 2 of 5 stars.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

It’s about: Billy Pilgrim is a survivor of the bombing of Dresden in WW2, a victim of alien abduction to the planet Tralfamadore, and a time traveler. It may sound crazy but it’s really not – it works. Mainly it’s the story of Billy’s life.

I thought: Depressing but not in an over-the-top way, sci-fi without being sci-fi, subtly anti-war by showing you its destructiveness, clever and kind of genius. I liked it even more after thinking about it and analyzing it.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bossypants by Tina Fey

It’s about: Not a deep exploration into Tina Fey’s past or anything, but it gives insight into her family, her pursuit of comedy writing, her time on SNL, 30 Rock, and takes a good look at the role of women in comedy.

I thought: I was already a fan of Tina Fey and this reinforced my fanship. It was amusing all the way through and as a bonus I got to listen to her narrate on the audio version and they threw in a couple SNL sketches. I only chuckled out loud a couple times, but I’m not a big LOL-er in general.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

It’s about: A random memoir with a little bit of her childhood, to how she got her start in comedy writing, to her experience on The Office, to her thoughts on marriage and lots of things in between.

I thought: This started really slow for me – it just felt straightforward and not overly clever at first, but it got better and better all the time, and by the end I wanted it to keep going. Not very deep, but funny and worth the read. Note that there are a lot of lists in the book and they don’t translate to audio very well.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars.

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