Thursday, 2 July 2015

Looking For Alaska


Book 30 of 2015 is Looking for Alaska by John Green.

He is one of those best selling authors that you always intend to read but are not sure what to expect. This was what I expected. A book written for young adults with the pretense of depth and a whole lot of quotes strung together.

There are audiences for this book, I am sure. They are just not me.

The characters are predictable. The plot is obvious. It is something John Hughes would direct.

This is for young people. Hey you kids, get off my lawn!

3 teenage crushes out of 5.


Should I read this? Only if you are between the ages of 13 and 16 years and haven't embraced the good books your English teachers keep pushing on you.
What did I learn? The trauma experienced by white middle class American kids cannot hold my attention for more than about... oh look, a castle!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Dragons of Dorcastle




Book 29 of 2015 is The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell.

It is the first book in the Pillars of Reality series which I am no considering reading.

It is your typical female engineer not respected in a man's world meets a sensitive boy with no social skills. Yes, I related to that part a little too much.

The writing is simple and effective. The read was not challenging and the story was engaging.

Jack Campbell does not write the in workings of the female mind well and the main female protagonist comes across in a Bella Swan way a few times but she is redeemed by her actions and overall character.

Going back to reading fantasy is always a pleasure but it also reminds me that a lot of fantasy is just Mills & Boon for guys.

3.5 guild wars out of 5.

Should I read this? Yes. I will at least read the next book. If you like fantasy and don't mind a but of a love story with dragons then this is for you.
What did I learn? Geeks and geek dysfunction is so mainstream these days that every day books are portraying that life. I think that is an all-around good thing.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Thief's Magic



Book 28 of 2015 is Thief's Magic by Trudi Canavan.

Ok, this woman is one of my favourite Aussie writers. I loved The Black Magician trilogy. Far too much fantasy is written by men and often feels like a bad porno mixed with Mills & Boon in another dimension where people don't shower often.

Fantasy written by female authors has more dimensions. I'm not being sexist! It really does.

The thing that disappointed me about this is that she is writing a trilogy and not a story. She is doing a Wheel of Time set up that obviously sucks you in but doesn't actually satisfy anything. What I loved about Black Magician was that the story held strong the whole time. You didn't have to finish the journey. You wanted to.

I won't be reading the rest of the books despite my loyalty. It just wasn't good enough. Cut the complexity and got back to good story writing.

Three colliding destinies out of five.


Should I read this? No. There are MUCH better series to get suck in to. This is not even close to one of them.
What did I learn? Your favourite writer can sell out to get richer and that sucks.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)



Book 27 of 2015 is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling.

Another memoir by a celebrity that I have never heard of until picking up this book.

She is endearing and funny but in the same way she says that she doesn't like women infantilizing themselves, she goes right ahead and does it anyway. That kind of sums up the entire book. She comes across as having self awareness and then demonstrates a lack of it.

Yes, she is successful and brilliant but she comes across in writing as a clueless spoiled little rich Indian girl brought up in the US to parents who are doctors.

Her trials are trials or she isn't honest about any pain. There is next to nothing that made this worth the read. Maybe she needs to live a little longer and not write a teeny memoir with no interesting events at age 30 something.

2 spoiled little rich girls out of 5.

Should I read this? No. Try Tina Fey or Amy Poehler's autobiographies first. This women needs to live a little more before trying to write another book. I'm sure she writes comedy well but this doesn't make me want to watch anything she writes. Such a shame because I had high hopes.
What did I learn? You can't make up having had a challenging life when you haven't at all.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close



Book 26 of 2015 is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

You can't read this book and not feel immense love for Oscar. He is the 9 year old boy whose story you follow after his father dies in the terrorist attacks for September 11 in New York.

I laughed out loud through this book. I cried while reading this book. I changed a little for having read it.

5 inventions out of 5.

Should I read this? Read this now. Now!
What did I learn? The world is a much more beautiful place through the eyes of a child or an adult in love.

Monday, 8 June 2015

The Girl With All The Gifts



Book 25 of 2015 is The Girl with all the Gifts by M. R. Carey.

This was recommended to me by pretty much everyone I know who reads.

Although this is a genre I like to watch in movies and on TV, it is not one that I really enjoy reading. It usually depresses me. This isn't the cheeriest book but the pace is perfect and the plot twists enough that I was often surprised.

It is hard to talk about this book without ruining it for those who have not read it so I won't.

4 post apocalyptic children out of 5.


Should I read this? Yep, without a doubt.
What did I learn? When the end of civilisation comes, I'd like to end with it.

Fifty Shades of Grey



Book 24 of 2015 is Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James.

I attempted to read this when it first came out and was a big deal. My attempted failed about 50 pages in when I couldn't stand the overly simplistic immature female character bored me. As I passed page 50 this time, I felt the same but pushed through it because a couple of my friends insisted that I shouldn't write off a book as rubbish if I had never read the whole thing.

So, I read it.

The writing is still rubbish and the story is predictable. I've read better erotic fiction. Think Delta of Venus. This is not a series I will continue.

To counter that though, there were a few things I liked. I liked the way it ended. It is the first time in the entire book that I had any respect for the main character and that is tragic in itself.

The understanding of BDSM is also simplistic. The word simplistic describes this book in all its dimensions and it doesn't have that many dimensions. The implication that an abused child becomes a BDSM enthusiast is a correlation that I openly challenge.

In the end, I will put this in the group of at least people are reading something books. It is entertaining enough but not a book I would recommend or a series I will pursue. Now my criticism is based on having read more than 50 pages. It was an easy read. Simplistic.

1 stinging red welt out of 5.

Should I read this? There are better examples from this genre so, no.
What did I learn? Reading the first 50 pages of a book is enough to write it off.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Not My Father's Son: A Memoir



Book 23 of 2015 is Not My Father's Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming.

I had no idea who this guy was. I picked up the book because I liked his hair and it was rated 4+ stars.

Little did I know that his brokenness would give me freedom and peace that I wouldn't have known before I read this book.

Life shits on you. It does. You can either work through it and be mindful or let it own you. Alan Cummin made me realise that facing all my demons was well worth the effort.  Sure, it will take me a very long time but I will get to a place where my existence is good... or better.

4 floggings out of 5.

Should I read this? Only if you like memoirs. This is a very good one.

What did I learn? They can beat you and you will still survive.