Monday, May 27, 2013

I keep reading, but can't find time to write about it (Part 2)

16.  Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Marisha Pessl (514 Pages) - B+ - (April 15-25)
I always go to the library and keep renting all of these books, but then I realized there are many books that I own, but have never read.  In trying to read all of the books that I actually own I saw this book on my shelf.  I'm pretty sure Aubrey bought it one day, and after being sent this link by my friend AJ (who writes a better blog than this one) I saw Special Topics on this list and on my bookshelf and decided to read it.

The plot centers on a very smart high school student named Blue.  She has a habit of referencing novels by mentioning something and then saying the title of the book, the author and the year of its publication.  For example, this book had a similar feel to Secret History (Donna Tartt, 1992). Blue moves to a new town and befriends the cool clique who every Sunday meet up at their film history teacher's house and hang out.  During her Senior year, Blue deals with all of the typical High School shenanigans with prom, and jealousy, and the death of your favorite teacher and conniving parents.

It is pretty obvious that this was Marisha Pessl's virgin novel because of the writing style.  It comes across as extremely obnoxious, but after you get used to it, I really found myself to enjoy the writing and felt that it fit with the story she wrote.  Lastly, the final chapter was one of the most fun ways to end the book, and it was something that has never been done in any other novel I've ever read. She gives a multiple choice quiz about the entire story and it made me think back about the entire novel.

17.  Alex Cross, Run - James Patterson (407 Pages) - C - (April 26-April 29)
I have an addiction to these novels.  I have written about it before, but it is the truth.  I continue to read about the adventures of Alex Cross and I barely enjoy it.  The stories hardly progress and they are always pretty much the same.  This time, there are two stories going on at once.  Two killers that are working together (as the flip-side of the same coin), and another murderer that is out to get Alex Cross himself for personal reasons.
Alex has to juggle family, the two killers and trying to adopt a foster daughter all at the same time.    There is absolutely nothing more to write about this.  The Alex Cross books are fun, but you know what you're getting when you read them.

18.  The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta (355 Pages) - B- (April 30-May 6)
I read an article that the creator of Lost (Damon Littleoff) was trying to get this novel to become a new HBO television series.  Since I am a fan of HBO and Damon Littleoff, I decided to read this book before it 19came on the air so I knew the premise and to decide if it would be worthwhile.  I have also read a few of Tom Perrotta's novels and mostly enjoy his work, so I found this in the library and knocked it out.

The premise of the story is on a random day in October, approximately 2% of the population of the planet simply disappears at the same time.  They literally are there one moment and then they are gone.  The people have absolutely no connection.  Some are religious, some are not, the Pope does disappear, but many Cardinals and other religious leaders do not.  This novel centers on a small town and mostly about one family and how this phenomenon affects them.  How can students continue going to school if they could disappear tomorrow?  Will relationships continue to last?   These are some of the questions that come up.

The premise for this story was quite good, but I'm not sure about the execution.  Although this book seems to have more questions than answers, this is not a bad thing necessarily.  The book is written well and he really shows many different reactions to the situation through few characters, but the best part is how if all of these stories can come from one family and one small town, you can start to extrapolate that and realize exponentially how many stories there could be from this premise.

19. The Rules of Attraction - Brett Easton Ellis (283 Pages) - B (May 7-8)
A book about college-life that I had read when I was in college.  Since then, I have seen the movie that was made around 2002 more times that I can count, but was curious if I could still relate to this in my mid 30s, and to see if I still liked it.
The answer is: Yes.
Ellis paints the picture of a bunch of young kids that all do not know who they are or what they want out of life and out of each other.  Basically, he writes teenagers perfectly.

This book is not for the faint.  This is chock full of drugs, rape, bad decisions, lies and lies about the lies.   The staccato writing style keeps the reader feeling like they are 5 steps behind the characters, when really the characters are 10 steps behind themselves.
It is an amazing story about the excess of the 80s, that I can only imagine is pertinent today and should be required reading as tales of caution for parents of kids going to college, and read as a how-to-guide/cautionary tale for anyone about to go to college.

20. NOS4A2 - Joe Hill (692 Pages) - A- (May 9-21)
The Son of the Master of Horror is picking up where his father continues to go.  Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King and I have been looking forward to his new novel for quite some time.  This book was released on April 30th and I started reading it as soon as it was delivered to me from Amazon.

This is a large, fun, scary novel that I enjoyed from beginning to end.  The only reason I was skeptical of the book during the first 50 pages or so was from the title, i expected a typical vampire novel, and this book is not that at all.  Instead this is almost another Stephen King novel about parallel dimensions and being able to create worlds within yourself and able to draw people into those worlds.

Joe Hill is a young author who has yet to leave me unfulfilled in the three novels, Graphic Novel and his book of short stories.    This novel follows Vic McQueen through her entire life.  From 8 year old dreamer to 40 year old mother and substance abuser.  She is one of the more fleshed out characters I have read in some time and someone I am going to miss now that the book is over.

Anyone looking for a good, fun, scary summertime read needs to read this book.  It is often intense and difficult to put down, much like any great book.   With this, book, two new Stephen King novels, and an Neil Gaiman novel ready for release, there will be a lot more reading that I hope to accomplish this year.

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