Monday, October 10, 2011

Bunch of Book Reviews

So for the past couple of years I've had a goal of reading at least 50 books a year and I'm concerned about reaching that goal this year. I've completed 27/50 due to poor reading performance earlier in the year and only have three months left. That would typically be plenty of time to read 23 books but there's that whole Masters degree thing taking up my pleasure reading time. So I decided to read some children's lit and short reads to pad to numbers a bit.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
A bored girl discovers an alternate world with an alternate mother offering her all the things and adventure her own mother doesn't provide but with clearly she has clearly sinister motives. Interesting concept but I found it frightfully basic and predictable. 3/5

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

A baby escapes an attack on his family by going into a graveyard where he is adopted by its ghostly inhabitants. They raise him with the aid of a mysterious guardian named Silas who is neither living nor dead who provides food and material goods for the child. The child named Nobody or "Bod" learns life lessons from beyond the grave and out in the real world. Much more interesting and touching story than Coraline though the last third of the book seemed rushed. 3.5/5

I know Gaiman has leagues of ravenous fans but he honestly does very little for me. I've read these two books, Anansi Boys, American Gods, and his collaboration with Pratchett Good Omens, and I don't really understand the hype. Good Omens was a fantastic read but I felt I enjoyed the Pratchett touches more than the Gaiman ones. American Gods was interesting to me only because of the high Norse myth involvement, I'm sure if the main people were of any other mythology I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did. With most of his work I love the concept of it and think they contain some marvelous ideas but I don't love the final product- At least not to the extent where I understand the sheer level of cult following he has achieved. 

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Most people read this in elementary school but my teacher in that grade preferred to give us books that were a couple levels of reading comprehension lower then what she should have. This book has been controversial because I'm pretty sure it was the first dystopian novel aimed at children though it is beyond tame compared to current offerings like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins(fantastic series). I wish I had read this first when I was younger, I probably would have been shocked by it. 3/5.

The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore
Moore is always hilarious. I didn't find this book as side-splitting funny as A Dirty Job or Lamb but still quick and easy fun that definitely made me LOL several times. He is simply fantastic at weaving a perfect description of a ridiculous scene. He's also great at writing the POV of a stupid dog. 4/5
"Of course they're depressed, they're rats." Theo said. Gabe glared at him. "Well imagine waking up to that every morning," Theo continued. "'Oh, it's a great day, crap, I'm still a rat. Never mind.'"

Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi
Very different from the rest of these books and a departure from my regular type of reading. This deals with Portia de Rossi's (from Arrested Development fame) struggle with her eating disorder as she constantly feels like she is not skinny or good enough for hollywood. She's constantly striving for approval from her coworkers, wardrobe people, the press, and her family. She got down to an unbelievable 82 pounds before collapsing on set. It was really shocking to see inside the mind of someone with an eating disorder and try and comprehend the all-consuming nature of their relationship with food. While reading about her lowest point in her weight I'm actually currently at the highest weight I've ever been which had interesting effects on how I read the text. It also shocked me that after she crashed Portia swung back up in weight to about what I currently weigh which I have a hard time imagining. The end of the book was very touching as she finally comes to terms with her body and her sexuality. I think she's a great actress and am very glad that she found happiness and love with Ellen and more importantly with herself. Can't wait to see her in the new Arrested Development season and movie that is supposed to happen. 3/5

Tomorrow I think I'm going to start Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. 

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