What I've Read So Far
Hi guys! Here comes the mini reviews for the books I've read so far, and also what I am currently reading.
1. The Sellout by Paul Beatty - 4/5 Stars
The Sellout is unlike anything I've read before. It's funny because it doesn't really have a plot, it's just mostly commentary. And it's good commentary. Funny, smart, witty and full of passion. He is a great wordsmith, Paul Beatty. His sentences are like firecrackers, they snap, cackle and pop. He can take any argument about race and turn it even more explosive than it already is. I listened to his interview on WTF, Marc Maron's podcast, and he said something about how he couldn't understand what "black pride" (or gay pride, or national pride, or any other pride) meant, and how everything about race is just so contextual. It's a really good interview. You can give it a listen HERE.
2. The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace - 3.5/5 Stars
First off, I really love minimalist covers. Anyway, this poetry collection won the Goodreads Choice Awards, and rightfully so. It feels honest and personal. However I was less responsive to certain entries, where instead of letting the words speak for itself, they had to do some text effects on them, like say, make the words form the shape of a heart, or like make the last word which is "away", ascend, as if it is flying away. This seems like a very nit picky complaint. But it's a nit that I cannot not pick. So there's that. But overall I do think the collection is moving, and you can tell that this is very near and dear to the author's heart. She has indeed been through hell and back, and that comes out of her poems.
3. Wonder by R.J. Palacio - 4/5 Stars
We place more emphasis on material achievements, that is a fact. Parents would encourage and reward good grades, or good performance in extra-curriculars such as sports. And that is fine, but not when these achievements become the end all-be all. Doing good in school is important, but so is being a decent human being. And it is easy to raise over achieving jerks. But over achieving nice kids, that is golden. I love Wonder because it teaches kids and adults alike that is important to be kind. I know we all lose sight if this sometimes. Wonder is a wonderful, honest, charming and moving book that I hope becomes required reading in a lot of schools.
4. Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare - 3/5 Stars
What I love about Romancing the Duke is that it lighter and cheekier than all the other very melodramatic historical romances I've read. It seems to be a bit self-aware too, and is poking fun, in a loving way, at some romance tropes. I mean there are plenty of cringe worthy, contrived, extremely Hallmark-y, cheesy moments for sure. And I am not sure as to what date this is set, but I am certian that they didn't have cosplayers in historical England. But I had a blast! The plot is cornball, crazy bonkers, and the titular Duke is more Fabio than an actual guy. But the whole thing is good fun!
Let me just say, me and Physics had a contetnious relationship back in highschool. Every grading quarter I would beg my teacher to please not give me anything that's lower than an 80. So if there's anyone who would purchase the Physics for Dummies book, that's me! I mean, I want to understand it, but my brain capacity for all the concepts seems to be a tad lacking. Anyway, I think this book is brilliant. Rovelli makes Physics a lot less abstract and academic. He uses accessible terms over highfalutin science speak to explain quantum mechanics, Einstein's theory of relativity, the cosmos, and time, among others. Mind-blowing and thought provoking ideas abound in this dense book. And the most imortant for me, is how Rovelli explains the concept of time, or lack of it in physics.“In physics there is nothing that corresponds to the notion of the ‘now." There is no "present", or anything to explain that such a concept exists. And our whole idea of "past" and "future" is exactly how we think it works. “The difference between past and future only exists when there is heat,” This probably makes no sense. But the way Rovelli explains it, makes everythng a little less foggier and a whole lot fascinating. Because, fuck yeah science!
6. Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman - 4/5 Stars
The last Holocaust literature I've read was Night by Elie Wiesel. And it is soul crushing. Before that, I read A Woman in Berlin by Marta Hillers, and it took me a while to recover from that one too. Maus though did not grip me as much as aforementioned two, but it doesn't mean that it isn't powerful. The difference between Maus and the other two holocaust literature is that Maus is a second hand account of someone else's (Vladek's, the father) holocaust experiene. I love that the graphic novel choose to include scenes of Art interviewing his father Vladek in order that his experiences be translated into a book. And you can more or less see how different the Vladek of the holocaust is from Vladek of the now. The subtitle: My father bleeds history seems apt. Past trauma will always stay with you and will make you bleed.
Maus, is not only the first graphic novel to win The Pulitzer Prize, but it is also the first of its kind too show that graphic novels can have serious subjects, and thus is not an inferior form/genre. My only problem with the genre is that it is burning a hole in my pocket. So I to save some money I would hunt down used copies just as I did with this one. Hopefully I'll get lucky again with Maus II, fingers crossed.
This was a book club pick for Children's Literature month and it was an okay read. I guess if you've read other bigger fantasy books with amazing world building and compelling characters, this will pale in comparison. The Book of Three was a bit too sleepy and too twee for my taste. The Black Cauldron is a little more engaging and I quite enjoyed that last leg of their adventure. It has a solid villain too.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell - Shout out to the David Mitchell girls! You see, me and four other lovely lassies started a tiny group where we devote ourselves to reading David Mitchell books together. We started with Cloud Atlas (2004), loved it and was obsessed about it. So we thought, we'd go and read all of Mitchell's remaining books together in chronological order starting with Ghostwritten (1999). Then number9dream (2001), then Black Swan Green (2006), then The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (2010), and now The Bone Clocks (2014).
I also would like to welcome two new comers to our group! Cary and Ingrid! We will still do Slade House after okay?
Also Bone Clocks is turning to be an awesome read. It feels a bit like amalgamation of all of this previous 5 books. And Mitchell has the habit of putting in cameos of characters from other books and that is making the fangirl in me happy.