Brilliant and heartbreaking and so much more alive than any other book I've read.
A web of intrigue so far removed from the normalities of historical...moreBrilliant and heartbreaking and so much more alive than any other book I've read.
A web of intrigue so far removed from the normalities of historical fiction that I hesitate to label it so. Out of the Easy may be set in what we see as history, but to the people in the book, it is their all-consuming present, and that vibrancy shines through. How do I explain it? It's like everything in the novel makes perfect sense, so much sense that you not only believe it's true -- you believe that you are there. Like book-induced hallucinations. It's awesome.
A stunning cast of characters. For one, there's Josie Moraine, daughter of a lying no-good prostitute, crack shot, bibliophile, and (hopefully) a college-bound young adult. All her details add up into a really tangible, densely alive character. It's awesome.
A tale of dreams that fall into disaster and how they come to be resurrected again. I can't tell you how much I love this story. I'm always mentally rating books on a scale of relateability, and this one flew off the charts. The feeling of wanting something and the struggle to achieve it. The need to be accepted, respected. The desire to rise up in society, to prosper, to escape through success. The resolve to do terrible things to get there. Also awesome.
I have a working theory that every book can be captured with one perfect word. It's not going to be a perfect fit. Some favorite parts will be left ou...moreI have a working theory that every book can be captured with one perfect word. It's not going to be a perfect fit. Some favorite parts will be left out. There's a high level of variation, because words are different for every book, every person, every reread.But they're there. Harry Potter is magic. Sherlock Holmes is mystery. And there has to be one for Eleanor & Park.
I'm no expert on real life love, so if I'm wrong, forgive me. But how can one word capture the cute, warm, and fuzzy feeling?
The frantic, fast version of first love, and the need to slowly, carefully, meticulously examine it.
The awkwardness of needing to learn how to kiss and sometimes tripping over coffee tables and falling on the couch.
The unforgiving arguments that end in silence. The non-arguments that end in silence anyway. The problems with the outside world and with the world between two people. Picking fights without knowing why.
And more mundane things. The aversion to meeting the parents. The first date. The first kiss. The first shared mixtapes and comics. Holding hands. Driving around. Sneaking around.
The tenuous, fragile, "It's because I have to" family love.
Even the weird, arbitrary things matter.
Makeovers, eyeliner, satin pillowcases.
The weird loveliness of having a punk rock Asian kid date a tomboy redhead. Because, yeah, looks can matter in a lovely way.
Reading a book written by someone with a cool name like Rainbow Rowell.
On the melodramatic side, but I think that just makes it more amusing. There were a lot of recycled character traits (Red Sox fan, trauma, flawed but...moreOn the melodramatic side, but I think that just makes it more amusing. There were a lot of recycled character traits (Red Sox fan, trauma, flawed but indisputably charming, the like) that I saw from the President's Daughter series, but I love White's style too much to care. (less)
This book sure is hefty. 700 flipping pages is enough to fend off a sizable assailant, in my opinion.
The main thing to get about Ellen Emerson White,...moreThis book sure is hefty. 700 flipping pages is enough to fend off a sizable assailant, in my opinion.
The main thing to get about Ellen Emerson White, though, is that even she's completely obscure (for reasons I have yet to figure out), her books are unquestionably witty. Clever witty. Funny witty. Actually, I think I'm up for more than 700 pages witty.
But we must march on, wit or no wit! To the characters! Generally, the people are what make or break a story, given that the stuff the characters do create everything in the plot. We live in humancentric book world, my friends, and it just gets strange when books are published from the point of view of an animal (It's even stranger when it's a plant). Fake-people-that-are-completely-real-in-my-mind are my favorite kind of character, boy oh boy oh boy oh boy Meg and everyone else makes me happy. I know it's really whiny sometimes (Dude, are people not allowed to whine anymore? Then I'm in a heap of trouble.), but hey, Meg acknowledges her flawed humanity. Whining is also offset (very nicely) by wit. And wit. And more wit. Garden variety wit. I'm giggling under the covers and it's waaaaay past midnight wit. Exhibit A:
"Why are you in college, Miss Powers?" ... "Because I can't sing or dance." she said.
I must divulge on a brief opinion on Jack - oh my goodness it's a real boy! With crude comments and feelings and mess ups and everything! And it's all really really awkward and I can't even. Also, their inappropriateness is kind of funny. They manage to be awkward about that, too, and it's all very very cute.
Well, that's all for today, folks, but rest assured, this book is at least the greatest gift to novel-writing and at best plain wicked excellent.(less)
I got the warnings. You're reading Code Name Verity? Better bring some tissues. Except I only legitimately shed tears o...more So many feels from this book.
I got the warnings. You're reading Code Name Verity? Better bring some tissues. Except I only legitimately shed tears once, when the smushing of "I have told the truth" and "after a while, all children tell the truth" made a feeling come up that I don't have a word for. Good books are more like lasting pangs in the chest for me.
No romance, either. This is a writer - someone who makes reader feel less alone without telling them that the only way of doing so is to hook up and get married. Maddie and Julie are a sensational team.
I didn't quite grasp the abbreviations - SOE, WAAF, ATA, etc. - because I was too busy mulling over things like Julie-during-interrogation saying, "I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can’t believe I ever said anything so stupid . . . I desperately want to grow old."
So many feels from this book. I'm still in the muddle of feelings, actually. Finished it this morning.
I'll cut it short here, because I'm afraid that if I go on I will turn into a blubbering fool. As Julie would say, "careless talk costs lives." (less)
My love for a particular book can be counted by the number of paper slips I have used to mark my favorite parts. There are so many...moreTore out my heart.
My love for a particular book can be counted by the number of paper slips I have used to mark my favorite parts. There are so many paper slips in my copy of The Piper's Son that the book seems to have doubled in thickness.
"The world goes on, stupid and brutal." (Jennifer Donnelly, if you're wondering). But it only takes one good book to see this world as a slightly less sucky place. Somebody back me up on this. Please.
The Piper's Son is a good book. It makes me want give a hug to a stranger, just because they might be feeling lonely. It makes me want to get hugged by strangers, because sometimes I feel lonely too. So hugs to you, stranger. Can I have a hug too?
I would blurb the book right around now but I like to imagine diving into this book headfirst. But if you're looking for a blurb, then here's a good one. I avoided this book for the longest time and held it at arm's length and the whole nine yards, and I am an idiot for not reading it sooner but I still got to it eventually. So I can't really force-feed this book down your throats when it took me so long to read it myself. So take your time. But when you get around to reading The Piper's Son, comment. I want to hear that I'm not alone and that there's somebody out there who will talk to me about this book. (less)
The fifth star is for the PowerPoint chapter. That was an excellent use of a commonly brushed aside / stereotyped thing.
This book is thick, but not i...moreThe fifth star is for the PowerPoint chapter. That was an excellent use of a commonly brushed aside / stereotyped thing.
This book is thick, but not in the thousands-of-pages sense. It's just a lot crammed into a little space. Kind of like the last page of the newspaper. The editorials. Where journalists lose their objective stance and become opinionated for a moment. Where the thick but short stories go, like a single chunk of honey-nut zucchini bread that is such a small piece but tastes so heavy. The op-eds. Goon Squad is like that.
I'm not going to say that everyone will like this book because that would be a lie. But there is a lot to be learned from Goon Squad. Do with that what you need. (less)
I've been a recluse for the past month or so, but I have someone to blame: school. The seemingly productive qualities of school, once again, turn out...moreI've been a recluse for the past month or so, but I have someone to blame: school. The seemingly productive qualities of school, once again, turn out to be not so productive.
But even with the roadblock that is school blocking my access to books, I still read. And this last book I read is seemingly just as unproductive as school - this is a book about fonts and typefaces (and there is a difference).
Now I can stare into the infinite stretch of my ten pound textbooks and laugh quietly to myself and make fun of those naïve editors who thought it would be acceptable to change the spacing between lines in the middle of an introduction.
Now I can belittle all those Power Points written in Comic Sans or Papyrus.
Now I can tell you the story of a certain Eric Gill (creator of Gill Sans) and his screwed up mind. I can tell you about Albertus and Coldplay. I can tell you about the Futura vs. Verdana feud of IKEA. I can elucidate on the obscurity of Doves. I can also tell you with utmost certainty that this paragraph is quickly becoming a remake of Snape's monologue in the first Harry Potter movie.
Just My Type may seem like a book of useless information, but at least I learned something, which is, at least, a one-up from school.(less)
I know I'm the outlier, but I'm always a sucker for those tortured/grief-stricken/depressed/spiteful/unstable protagonists. So while the better reader...moreI know I'm the outlier, but I'm always a sucker for those tortured/grief-stricken/depressed/spiteful/unstable protagonists. So while the better readers of this generation complained of how depressing and sluggish the first half of Revolution is, I was listening to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" like it was the greatest song ever written, waiting for when David Gilmour got sadness down in four notes.
This book is easily some of the best historical fiction ever. Especially because it is so deeply connected to the world today. I want to read it again, but I know that reading it a second time will never match up to the wonderful feeling that I got from reading it the first time. France and Romance and rock music. Is there anything sweeter?(less)
Time is short, ergo, review is short. May I at least get points for brevity?
I was very much on the fence about liking this book, because it just was v...moreTime is short, ergo, review is short. May I at least get points for brevity?
I was very much on the fence about liking this book, because it just was very redundant for me at first. Good decisions are based on logical reasoning and emotional instinct . . . bar bar bar. I get it, all right?
But I'm a self-proclaimed inconsistent person, so naturally, I started to sway to the other side. I ended up liking Jonah Lehrer for attacking the same idea in so many interesting and original ways. So. I'm going to stick with the feeling I had once said book was all done and read.
This book made me feel so alive. I've never really seen this sort of writing before, not even in Melina Marchetta's other book (Saving Francesca). Thi...moreThis book made me feel so alive. I've never really seen this sort of writing before, not even in Melina Marchetta's other book (Saving Francesca). This writing is the seriousness of the past and the excitement of the young and the optimism and the pessimism in all our lives are all smushed together in a truly disorienting way.
From this distance everything is so bloody perfect.
That plot. You have no idea how much I am in love with this plot right now. It's so many drastically different things that all smooth together in writing so beautiful that it seems like something more than just prose. It's got everything, from a slightly insane female protagonist to a boarding school to a territory war (that reminds me of Camp-Half Blood's capture the flag, for all you Rick Riordan fans). I don't think I'll ever get over the amazingness that is this plot.
Oh, and heads up: when you read this book, expect flashbacks that will throw you off from the main storyline. It's kind of disorienting, but it really is relevant to the rest of the story. Oh, and the flashbacks are always italicized. Just so you know.
Hold my hand, because I might disappear.
Jellicoe Road is a shared experience. What I mean by that you can't read this book sitting alone in a corner, isolated from the rest of the world. This is the kind of book that you have to give to every single literate being on this planet, hands-down, no questions asked. I think that this is the kind of book that can only be truly understood when discussed with other people. It's the kind of book that sparks those amazing one-hour classroom discussions where everyone and talk about life-love-death-everything in a way that gives things so much more meaning than they had before. This book brings people together. This book tears down walls.
And everything I ever say here or anywhere will never even come close to properly describing the book in it's purest form. Be disoriented. Love the plot. Bring people together. Tear down walls. Read Jellicoe Road.(less)
This review is mainly here for one purpose and one purpose only: to convince you how nice it is to have The Crown of Embers as a friend in the tumultu...moreThis review is mainly here for one purpose and one purpose only: to convince you how nice it is to have The Crown of Embers as a friend in the tumultuous confusion of YA fantasy.
Let's start with the obvious.
The Bestest Heroine Ever
Face it. Elisa is irresistible. She's like ice cream on a hot day. She struggles with making the right decision but she is selfless and loyal and you know, she feels like a real person. There's also that dry humor thing going on. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's not bad for strong main character.
It's the strangest thing. This book is funny. Or maybe I value dry humor and awkwardness a but to much. But the light mocking of forced formality in the court, the true-to-life uncomfortable romance ("I know. But I don't. Hate you, that is."), and the funny found in unexpected places ("I felt sorry for them, getting beaten and pressed, rotting into something that smelled bad. It seemed to me that grapes would rather be grapes than wine."), it all goes to show that fantasy isn't uptight or confusing - yes, it's a world of politics and leadership out there but there's still a place for a sense of humor.
And, the Grand Finale
It's a hard thing to live, and it's a harder thing to face living problems. That's what fantasy is for - making politics and leadership and all that jazz into an adventure, something distant from the government but close to real life ("He had a way of believing in people long before they believed in themselves."). Something that touches on making the right choice and sacrificing our own and doing something drastic to try and fix things - this is fantasy, and no one can take that from the genre. The Crown of Embers is true to that legacy, which is probably why I love it so much.(less)
The Hot Zone documents the journey of filoviruses in the human race. Specifically, this book documents the time when Eb...moreOh, my. What a terrifying book.
The Hot Zone documents the journey of filoviruses in the human race. Specifically, this book documents the time when Ebola snuck its way into Washington DC. Ebola is a highly contagious virus that slowly turns your body to mush. First you have a headache. Then your face freezes into a mask. You bleed from every pore. Essentially, Ebola liquefies people.
Let me be the first one to say that this book scares me in the most fascinating way. I was like, wait. How can a microscopic thing kill people so savagely and efficiently? And how come we don't know enough about it?
I don't know what to say. This book just made me so aware of everything. It gave me a new perspective on how I see the world. I didn't have to follow the book word by word, and it still managed to either fascinate or terrify me for the entirety of the book (which is no small feat).
And all I mean to say by that rambling is: "Scarier than fiction," indeed. (less)