Thursday, July 19, 2012

books

Escapism is where it's at, yo.

I've been tearing through novels, and have stumbled across a few I really liked. Here are a few mini-reviews if you're looking for a good read. Don't forget to suggest new reads for me!


I really loved Krakauer's earlier novels and those are definitely worth a read if you're into fascinating nonfiction. So I thought I'd really love this novel as well; I love Krakauer's work and cults are fascinating, so it seemed like a winning combination.

This is a good book, but I had a couple small issues with it. The first is that it focused really heavily on a double-murder carried out by these fundamentalist Mormon dudes. It went into graphic detail (unnecessarily, in my opinion) and kind of made me feel ill. The second issue is that, while I allow that Mormonism is crazy, I feel like Krakauer almost randomly chose a religion to pick apart and deem "violent." It could be argued that all religions are violent; it always depends on how the members feel like interpreting their holy texts. And it could be argued that the more ancient religions have been the very causes of millions of murders. In the grand scheme of things, I'd say Mormons have some catching up to do.

Still, it's a fascinating read if only for its history of the religion. Really, really interesting stuff.




When She Woke envisions a future in which criminals are punished by being injected with some junk that turns their skin a different color; which color they are depends on their crime. So right away you're already touching on the heavy issue of racism/bias based on skin color. But wait, there's more.

Jordan has decided to tackle the sticky issue of abortion; our heroine lives in a world in which it's illegal. It's fairly clear how she feels about it, but she has an interesting way of getting to her point. I'd say that regardless of that portion of the plot, it's a fast-paced read that's somewhat reminiscent of The Hunger Games, with a bit of a Fugitive twist. And this book seems to take place a couple hundred years into the future, and I'm always entertained by what authors envision happening.



I mean, how can you not read a book called All You Need is Kill? In truth I'm not sure I'd have read this book if I hadn't read that it's being made into a movie. Unfortunately, the movie is going to star Tom Cruise, which I think does the book a major disservice if they're planning to make him the main character. That's because the main character is an 18-year-old Japanese dude.

I've also heard Emily Blunt is going to be in this movie, and I think that is decent casting (although what's weird is that she's going to be in that time-travel movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, too -- lots of science fiction on her plate right now).

Anyway, the premise of this book is that aliens have invaded and war has been waging for decades on Earth. One particular soldier has joined the army straight out of high school and after six months of training is going to fight his first battle. Except he dies in his first battle. Except then he wakes up again the next morning, except it's not the next morning; it's two mornings prior, and he's got to fight the battle again and again, sometimes dying, sometimes not. It's like Groundhog Day except 500 times more violent.

He's becoming almost as good a fighter as their best soldier -- a woman they call the Full Metal Bitch. It's a really well-thought-out tale with no loose ends; I admire that because it's extremely easy to have loose ends in a novel about aliens and future technology. It's a very fast-paced read, and I gotta say: I loved it. I gave it 5 stars on goodreads.


Right now I'm reading Gone Girl, and it's fantastic. I have no idea what's going on or what's going to happen, and I love that. And it's very well-written, to boot. I'll review it once I've finished it.

Have you read any of these? What'd you think? What should I read after Gone Girl?

19 comments:

  1. Wow, these all sound really good! I read The Rules of Civility recently and loved it. At the moment I'm reading Blood, Bones and Butter, which is an autobiography, and like that as well. But I'll need a good novel afterwards.

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    1. I just added "The Rules of Civility" to my to-read list and notived "Blood, Bones, and Butter" is already on the list. :)

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  2. gah, i cant wait till i can tear through a novel again. writing these down in my notebook for later!

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    1. Maybe after the baby comes? I can't imagine all the prep -- I'd be in a world of hurt right now trying to turn our junk room into a nursery. :)

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  3. Nobody ever agrees with me ever but one of my favorite books of all time is The Descent by Jeff Long. I loved the whole giant thing with a passion.

    The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

    The Magicians Lev Grossman (it's like grown up Harry Potter but for some reason I liked it)

    The Marriage Plot Jeffrey Eugenides

    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan Lisa See

    I was just naming stuff off of my Kindle archive, if you need more suggestions let me know via Facebook!

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    1. Oh boy ... I'm not sure about any of those, hahahah.... The Descent would probably give me nightmares. I did read the Marriage Plot and meh ... didn't like it that much. Really liked Middlesex though!

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  4. All You Need is Kill isn't available as an ebook from the library! So I downloaded All You Need to Be Impossibly French instead. j/k. But I thought about it.

    As soon as the others are available for download, I'll read them and judge your taste accordingly.

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    1. hahhaha... I await your judgement with bated breath. All You Need is Kill was only a $6 download on Amazon to my kindle, if you happen to be using kindle ...

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  5. Wow, you read real books. All my brain can manage on my BART commutes are trashy romance novels and old Stephen King books. (Right now I'm re-reading Firestarter and then I'm going to FINALLY finish the Gunslinger series. (I highly recommend books 1-4.)

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    1. I can't judge you for either -- both are guilty vacation indulgences for me. :)

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  6. Have you read Mudbound by Hilary Jordan? It's her first book - really good. I loved When She Woke, except I think the ending was rushed. Do you know what's scary? In an interview, Jordan says it takes place 30 years in the future - so her vision is especially scary, imo. I hope we don't go there.

    Another good read - Revolution by Jennifer Donelly (it's a YA book - and it's good). Also thought State of Wonder by Patchett was interesting.

    Cheers!

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    1. "Mudbound" sounds a little "Legends of the Fall" -- def adding it to my list. The scary thing about that 30-years-into-the-future business is that I could definitely see it happening if a series of events went terribly wrong, starting with this upcoming presidential election. Heh.

      "Revolution" happened to already be on my goodreads to-read list! I never remember how I find my to-reads....

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    2. We read When She Woke for a discussion, and we all agreed that it was a bit too close to potential reality. Gave us the shivers. :)

      Revolution is a trip. I'm almost surprised it's a YA book - yeah, the main character is 17, but it's heavy. And not a "quick read" as so many YA books are... I can see it as YA, but I can also see it as adult fiction. If you read it, I'd be interested to hear what you think about it.

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    3. I'll see if I can make it my next read -- just have to avoid getting sucked into a different novel. :)

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    4. Yeah, I keep getting sucked into too many YA books ... I'm in this group of adults reading YA and it's got me on a kick. I read The Immortal Rules even though I have more pressing things to read - like The Condition. You'd think a group of people coming to my house to discuss it would get me going, but no - not when I can The Immortal Rules instead. :)

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  7. Miles From Nowhere by Nami Mun. I read it while waiting for my amnio and it was an amazing distraction. It's about homelessness and addiction in a Korean teenage runaway in 1980s NYC. Gritty and really realistic since it was semi-autobiographical. You'd think given the topic it'd be cheesy but it was surprisingly literary.

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  8. If you want a good cry, I suggest Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock. It is really a great book, but I bawled like a baby pretty much through the entire book.

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    1. This must be a really good book because several people have recommended it to me ... I think I haven't read it because I can't handle it at the moment!! hahaha....

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