31 March 2015

Books!...and other stuff

wow! its been a while. i was in a real reading slump. it was pretty depressing, but then it just got started again and kept going. yay! i think it began when daves mom gifted me the 'gone girl' book. so thank you!

-gone girl. the read was WAY more enjoyable than the movie. the movie was perfectly cast, i'll give them that, but the book was much more engrossing. as usual i suppose. i found the treasure hunt part of the plot the most intriguing aspect of the story. i didnt really enjoy any of the personalities of the characters in the book, so i barely cared what happened to them at the end, however, i did feel the ending was especially lame. i did like taking the ride though.

-the rosie project. romantic comedy book narrated by a genetic researcher/professor with aspergers. he attempts to find a wife in a logical, unemotional way but ends up getting lost along the path and finds out so much more about himself and other people. having read a bit about aspergers i feel that the language, thoughts and struggles of the narrator were fairly accurate. the tangles of his life and the story sometimes got a tad bit silly, but what book doesnt. it was a fun new twist on the average love story.

-the fault in our stars. i had put it off, but then got an urge to read it. it was good. i love stories with smart teens, its nice not always hearing of teenagers in a negative way. and a love story, even with a sad ending, is always welcome, i didnt cry though (does that make me a monster?). im not sure when i will voluntarily read another cancer or holocaust book, they are always a bit too much for me. but, im off to read more by the author, and to watch the movie (spoiler alert: i thought it was poop compared to the book, well, honestly i stopped in the middle of the movie).

-paper towns. i love adventure-type books that use treasure hunts/clues to unravel the story (as i said, best part of the book 'gone girl'). this book was written by the 'the fault in our stars' guy. another story with teens as main characters, these guys were equally witty but perhaps not so smart as the 'fault in our stars' main characters. however, the things they were dealing with and thinking about were discussed on both universal/adult and adolescent levels. and i really love books that anchor themselves in english literature staples (here it leaned heavily on walt whitmans 'song of myself' poem), i felt like i was taking a mini 'great works' course. this one has also been made into a movie (which i am eager to see as always), coming this summer.

-call the midwife. this is now a popular BBC series. the nonfiction book was kind of all over the place but it related stories of a nurse-midwife in training (through a program at a convent), including various dramatic births (these were my favorite chapters) as well as snippets of the horrible and varied poverty of the people they served in londons east end (these were really interesting and thought-provoking). her chapters on the additional people she encountered in her training were rather dull in my opinion, and the author herself had a fairly irritating personality, so i sometimes wished she would stay out of the story and just tell it how it was. but im now interested to read more memoir-style books on midwifery and id like to read more about the workhouses in early 1900s london. gruesome stuff.

-daughter of smoke and bone. awesome beginning to a trilogy. this has love at the core of the story but it is also about trust and community and above all hope. its the kind of book you would feel good about pressing into the hands of any 'young adult' you come across. while being entertaining and youthful its also thoughtful and important. im hopeful for the other two books to come.

-days of blood and starlight. second in the 'smoke and bone' trilogy. this was actually decent, as much as second books irritate me. it started out annoying but thankfully didnt take too many unnecessary twists and turns while still being fast-paced and a real page turner. im hopeful that the final book will wrap the books ideas up nicely.

-dreams of gods and monsters. final book in the 'smoke and bone' trilogy. it was a good effort, i read it quickly, but i didnt think the bow that tied it up was all that tight at the end. im fine with it being left a bit open and bittersweet. no need for constant fairy tale endings, but after all the twists and turns i guess i just wasnt that overjoyed with the final 100 pages, even if the final 4 were nice.

-the reason i jump. this is a book orginially written by a severly autistic 13 year old japanese boy and translated into english by a japanese-irish family. wow. so great that they did the translation to share his insights and feelings with the world. you cant look at or think about autism the same anymore. ive worked with these kinds of kids before and knew there was more to them than people could see, but i didnt know the depths. i had read one of temple grandins books too and was blown away by what is trapped inside their minds, but reading it from a child with such powerful challenges...amazing. in general i think its a helpful read for any parent or educator.

-true detective, season 1. what amazing performances (by the lead males, i was not a fan of the female characters) and such beautiful direction (the same guy did the 'jane eyre' adaptation i love). the miniseries had lots of character development, i cant remember the last time i saw something go so deep and present so many facets of a person. i didnt care too much about the crime they were investigating, but the way their case unfolded was riveting. im looking forward to seeing what the guy writes for the next installation, maybe the rachel mcadams character can be respectable and fascinating.

-love rosie. i read this beach read fiction a few years ago and really enjoyed it. turns out they made it into a movie while i wasnt looking last year. very nice casting, good chemistry. another lovely romantic comedy to add to the books. check it out.

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