Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More books get read

2.  Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn (419 Pages) - B
My constant reader knows that I am in a book club and joined it about 4 years ago.  We try to read about 10 books a year, but last year we hit a sort of rough patch.  The books we picked were not well liked and although we always have fun when we get together, the book aspect of the book club has sputtered a bit.
This time I decided to revitalize our book club by picking a popular age turner that I was sure I would read eventually.  I had heard that this book was getting a lot of buzz and chose this for our next read.  We met last week and my fellow readers seemed to hate this tale of a missing wife more than I expected.
I agree it was hokey at times, and virtually all of the characters were deplorable and unlikable, but I found it mostly fun, albeit mostly unbelievable.   Aubrey had the best insight to me about how since both of the main characters were writers, the author kind of cheated and used them to try and show off her writing style.  Gillian Flynn definitely was trying to showcase her ability to write such different styles and even cheated a little by offering more than two narrators, but I don't want to ruin the fun of this book here.  No matter what you may think of the book, no one can dispute that it's a fun read.

2a. Creatures of the Night - Neil Gaiman/Michael Zulli
I'm pretty sure I've mentioned how much I love Neil Gaiman (and I may say it again before this post is over).  But not only do I love Neil Gaiman's writing, but I really do.  Not only do I love his writing, but I especially love his comic book writing.  This short book took two of his short stories and had the amazing Michael Zulli illustrate it.  He is the same man that illustrated the final few issues of Sandman which made me more excited to read this.
Michael Zulli's drawings
These stories were typical Gaiman.  beautiful prose describing a typical "day in the life" that ended up really being about the battle of good and evil featuring animals (in this case a cat) and their role in protecting their human masters.  I wonder why this book struck a chord with me?

3. Inside a Dog - Alexandra Horowitz (302 Pages) - C+
My life changed forever back in April.   After 30 years of hoping and wanting one I "adopted my new best friend" and got an amazing, shelter dog who I eventually named Renly.
Anyone that has met Renly will agree that I got beyond lucky with a first dog.  He is well trained, sweet, quiet and simply of the most loving animals I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Granted, I am biased, but it's also a fact.
In order to better understand all of the strange things Renly does on a daily basis, I saw this book in the bookstore and decided to pick it up.  It's written by a dog psychologist who has spent years watching and studying dogs in order to better understand why they do the things they do.  My only problem with the book is that it seems the book was more written for people that have never had a dog then those that do.  Once in a while there was some insight and I especially enjoyed the history lesson of how these wolves eventually became domesticated and (d)evolved to being the dogs that we have living in our homes from the wild animals they used to be, but otherwise the book was filled with common observations that me as a dog-owner for less than a year have figured out.
I'm happy I read the book because I have a little bit of a better understanding of why my dog my lick my face until it's raw, or attempt to bury a bone I give him in the couch until his nose bleeds, but mostly I just want to enjoy the amazing base fun that Renly provides me.  (And I'll take the doggy kisses when they come, even if the book tells me he's just waiting for me to vomit up food for him like a mother of a pack).

4. Stardust - Neil Gaiman (285 Pages) B-
Remember when I said there would be more Gaiman in this list?  Well, I've read almost all of his books, but I had not read this novel although I had seen the movie.  I don't know why it had taken me so long to read this.  Maybe it was the Faerie aspect that kept me away since that was always the part of Sandman that I didn't love.  And even after watching and enjoying the movie, I still never got around to reading the book.  Now that the novel has reached its 20th anniversary, a new version was released, so I just bought it.
This was not his finest story, but still had all of the classic Gaiman elements.  This is a very simple fairy tale quite similar in tone and content to The Princess Bride.
It's a sweet story, but since this was originally published as a graphic novel, I think it reads better in that style than in the classic prose that this version came in.  This seemed like it was forced into more description that I'm sure came across better with Charles Vess' drawings in the original.    One day I will update with my comparison of the two versions.  Until then, I'm off to the library to pick up more books.

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