So, I kind of have a thing for books. If I could, I would read all day every day (and when I was unemployed, that’s pretty much what I did). My absolute favorite thing is getting book recommendations from other people – whether friends, bloggers, or even in the “Best Books of This Year” round-ups that newspapers publish annually. Because of that, I decided to do a monthly round-up feature of my books: what I read, why I read it, and what I thought. Enjoy!
(Note: I’ve changed the “What I Read” to a quick one-line [or sometimes two or three lines…] roundup, given the number of books I read! You can find full reviews at my GoodReads Profile.)
ROUNDUP OF THE ROUNDUP – for the TL;DR crowd:
If you liked Gone Girl… read The Dinner
For a good old-fashioned excellent adult Fiction novel… read Rules of Civility
For a poetic, sad, heartwarming, beautiful novel… read Sea of Tranquility (tied for a September Favorite)
If you are looking for the next Hunger Games and want to be ahead of the masses (I promise, this is going to be the next huge franchise) and/or you love the Passage series by Justin Cronin (another awesome book) and/or you love dystopian literature and/or you think you won’t like sci fi books featuring aliens but you want to test yourself (I was in the same boat I promise!)… read The 5th Wave (tied for a September Favorite)
And away we go with the books I read this month!
WHAT I READ: Earthbound, by Aprilynne Pike (Young Adult Fiction – Fantasy/Sci Fi)
WHY I READ IT: Errrm I can’t remember. I’m the worst.
WHAT I THOUGHT, IN ONE LINE: Confused about 73% of the time and mildly interested in the next book in the series, but not enough to count down the days.
WHAT I READ: The Dinner, by Herman Koch (Adult Fiction)
WHY I READ IT: I’ve been waiting to read this book for most of the year, so I’m fairly certain it was featured on a bunch of “Best of 2012” lists newspapers put out in December
WHAT I THOUGHT: Absolutely worth the hype: Koch layers in the information and plot throughout the course of one dinner in flashbacks, conversations, and present-day action, building a lot of tension and creating a fascinating and scary book (akin to Gone Girl).
WHAT I READ: Rules of Civility and Eve in Hollywood, by Amor Towles (Adult Fiction)
WHY I READ IT: I joined a book club and wanted to be able to discuss the selection, Eve in Hollywood, but since it was the followup to Rules of Civility…
WHAT I THOUGHT (in three lines – I couldn’t resist!): ROC: It was just incredibly splendid and wonderfully written and many other flowery adjectives that made made me love New York, the 1930s, the way of speaking, the characters (even though you kind of hate them too). Towles’ writing is just simply so magnetic, this is my top choice if someone wants a recommendation. Five shining stars. EIH: Not quite as loved, but it was a novella of short stories which is never my preference.
WHAT I READ: The Sea of Tranquility, by Katja Milljay (Technically Young Adult Fiction, but very mature themes)
WHY I READ IT: Another top recommendation from a top book blogger (4.53 out of 5 rating on Goodreads out of 20,000 reviews, which is nothing to sniff at)
WHAT I THOUGHT: This is a YA book, technically (presumably because the main characters are in high school), but this is so, so, so adult: the words, the turns of phrase, the themes. It’s dark and scary and depressing and romantic and funny, all at the same time. EDIT: Immediately on my “to buy” list and I loved it so much, I went back and read it again right after I finished. September Favorite! (Tied)
WHAT I READ: Thrones of Glass by Sarah Maas (Young Adult Fiction – Fantasy/Sci Fi)
WHY I READ IT: GoodReads Recommends!
WHAT I THOUGHT: I struggle with this one; on the one hand, I felt a little bored at times and not sure if I wanted to go on, but by the end I was mildly intrigued by what happens next. Solid 3 stars (I enjoyed reading it, probably wouldn’t read it again or buy it).
WHAT I READ (almost): Clay by Melissa Harrison (Adult fiction)
WHY I READ IT: A favorite author (Samantha Shannon, who wrote The Bone Season) tweeted that she loved it.
WHAT I THOUGHT: I internally fought over whether to include this or not because honestly – I didn’t finish it. It just didn’t grab me, and life’s too short to read bad books.
WHAT I READ: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (YA Gothic fiction)
WHY I READ IT: Needed an easy palate cleanser after attempting Clay!
WHAT I THOUGHT: Given its Gothic horror genre, it was super creepy. One of the creepier books I have ever read, and quite gory as well (in a tasteful way, not in a classless way). I’m not sure if I will read the next book, but this did pique my interest to read more of this category.
WHAT I READ: Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt (Adult fiction)
WHY I READ IT: Atop many a “Best Books of 2012” list
WHAT I THOUGHT: It features themes and a setting that usually do not interest me (a 14 year old girl coping with the loss of her uncle from AIDS in the late 1980s), but the coming of age aspect was beautifully written in conjunction with the relationships she builds with others afterwards. I was particularly enamored with the description of the relationship between June and her sister and how sibling relationships can shift.
WHAT I READ: The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey (YA dystopian Sci-Fi)
WHY I READ IT: One of the most buzzed-about YA books this year (the waiting list at the library took a couple of months)
WHAT I THOUGHT: Okay, so it is about a dystopian future in which aliens take over the world, which I get isn’t your thing – it’s not mine, either. But this book was SO SO SO SO GOOD. I was legitimately scared at times and wanted to put the book in the freezer but made myself get through because it was so interesting. This is absolutely going to become the next huge book series – jump on it now.
WHAT I READ: Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent (Adult historical fiction)
WHY I READ IT: Been getting a lot of buzz, dontchaknow
WHAT I THOUGHT: A relatively slow book based largely on narrative and less on action, but still interesting to learn more about the last woman (and person) to be executed in Iceland. I appreciate that the author based so much of it on history and was very persistent in being as accurate as possible, and it definitely piqued my interest in the country. Solid three star-er: I didn’t mind reading it once but probably wouldn’t read it again.
And that’s it for September, folks! It was quite a month, eh? I couldn’t be more thrilled for October – three books that I have been looking forward to reading (Never Fade, the second book in the Darkest Minds series; Just One Year, the companion novel to the wonderful Just One Day; and of course the last book in the Divergent series, Allegiant) ALL come out in October. WAHOO! I’m trying to finish Jane Austen’s Emma and then eagerly look forward to diving into these goodies. See you in a month!