Let’s just get the sorry-I-have-been-bad-at-blogging part out of the way. Sorry I have been bad at blogging. This semester has been hell on earth, but now it’s summer, which means I have more time to read and review books when I’m not job hunting or curled in the fetal position somewhere, opening weeping with my right hand buried deep in a jar of peanut butter.
How are you all?
Since I haven’t reviewed any books since January (not really, anyway—I have written a sentence here and there on Goodreads), I wanted to go through the ones I have read over the past three months that I feel are worth discussing.
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
Rating: 3/5 Stars
A little dull, in the way “classics” sometimes are, and not at all romantic, Wuthering Heights, at least, was a good wintertime read. I read it in the first few weeks of the semester this past January, mostly with a cup of tea by my side. Nice in theory, but I was glad to be done with it when it was over. Now I can say that I have read it and move on to something else.
The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi
Rating: 4/5 Stars
I’ve been quite into graphic novels lately, and this was the first I read in 2013. Persepolis offers a wonderful historical narrative with lots of heart and personality. I only gave it four stars because I felt it dragged a little towards the end, but this may have been because I read it in about two sittings, and its longer than the average graphic novel as it combined four volumes in one. But, still, I recommend it, especially if you’re not very familiar with graphic novels and you’d like a good introductory text.
Fun Home, Alison Bechdel
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Continuing on my graphic novel kick, I read Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. I was completely floored by this one, and I very much recommend it, especially if you are interested in graphic novels, women’s autobiographical narratives, LGBT lit, stories about family and the father/daughter bond or lack thereof. Or, you know, if you like to read good things. Definitely check out Fun Home.
Coming of Age in Mississippi, Anne Moody
Rating: 5/5 Stars
I had to read this for a class, but this book should be required reading for high schoolers, in my opinion. It’s an autobiography of a woman who was an activist in the civil rights movement, most notably taking part in the famous lunch counter sit-ins in Mississippi. It’s very unsentimental and powerful.
Kind of a scrapbook of sorts that Anders Nilson put together of pictures, letters, notes, etc in remembrance of his fiancé, who died of cancer. I didn’t rate it because it felt too personal of a book for that, but it made me cry like a baby and the love inside its pages makes this book a precious thing.
The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Oh boy. Oh man. I have the biggest literary crush on Jeffrey Eugenides. He’s just great, that’s all. I really regret reading this in the middle of the Semester from Hell, because I wish I had written a full review. Now it’s kind of a blur to me, although, like all of Eugenides novels, there are scenes and characters and sentences that have stuck with me, living inside my bone marrow, probably, because oh boy, oh man, Jeffrey Eugenides.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
Rating: 1/5 Stars
I wanted to like this, I really did, especially since Levithan’s half of Will Grayson, Will Grayson was my favorite part—but I just did not like this book at all. I can’t remember not liking a book so plainly in such a time. I feel like it was dumbed down in a way that it should be illegal for YA books to be dumbed down. Not in themes, but in language, characterization, etc. I wrote in my Goodreads review that everyone should read Hairstyles of the Damned by Joe Meno instead, and I stand by that. That book has the same kind of youth counterculture (that seems way too cool to be true) while offering a lot more than just the selling point of Teen Punk Rock and Kissing, which seemed all there was to Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist—that and a lot of emptiness, like packing peanuts.
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, Bryan Lee O’Malley
Rating: 3/5 Stars
I don’t know why I read two novels that eventually turned into films starring Michael Cera back to back. Probably because I have seen both films before I read the movies, and you know, I liked them enough. I liked this little graphic novel. I read it in one sitting. It was cute, and hip without being annoying. I’ll be reading the rest of the series this summer.
Willful Creatures, Aimee Bender
Rating: 4/5 Stars
I was recommended one of the stories in this collection by my creative writing professor. I ended up reading the entire book in the span of one night. It reminded me a lot of Miranda July, whose collection No One Belongs Here More Than You is my favorite collection of short stories and one of my favorite books, period, so I think I was just happy to find it. These stories can all be classified as magical realism, with a kind of whimsical, sassy bent. I tend to not be into magical realism, and some of these stories lost me a little by getting a little too absurdist, but for the most part, it was a perfect balance.
Office Girl, Joe Meno
Rating: 2/5 Stars
This novel broke my heart, I swear to god. I love Joe Meno. He’s one of my favorite writers, The Boy Detective Fails is my favorite book, and his short stories are transcendent. Office Girl, though, I can only review with a sigh. Sigh. Office Girl herself turns out to be one of the most blatant and flimsy Manic Pixie Dream Girls I can ever recall reading about. The novel starts off with the main female character’s point of view for the first hundred pages or so, and then the male character is introduced and suddenly it’s all his thoughts, his feelings, his perception of this totally out of this world queen of quirky adorableness. She’s always just about to leave town—but not before stealing the male lead’s heart and changing him for the better. Gag. Please, if you’ve never read Meno, don’t start with this one.
Embroideries, Marjane Satrapi
This is a very short glimpse into a conversation of different generations of women, regarding love, sex, and marriage. It’s not Persepolis, but it’s a nice little addition.
So, that’s that. I read a few other books that I didn’t like or dislike enough to comment on, mostly for class. I also recently reread Franny and Zooey and am rereading The Catcher in the Rye as we speak (well, not as we speak, for we are not speaking, and I am not reading, I am typing). I am calling it the Great Salinger Reread of 2013.
Until next time, y’all—hopefully it won’t be such a long time between posts this time. Next up, I am thinking of compiling a list of my favorite book bloggers/booktubers, because I have a bunch and they are so much better than me.
Book Challenge Progress: 20/70
Currently Reading: ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King