February 2016 Reading Wrap-Up

So, I didn’t read all that much in the month of February… 

giphy

I only made it through 4 books—1 middle grade novel, 2 adult non-fictions, and 1 adult thriller. I’m not sure what happened, other than that I was occupied by Academy Award Nominated movies, Valentine’s Day, my anniversary, and being really sick. Oh well, at least I enjoyed everything I read, unlike the crap I reviewed in January

The Imaginary by A.F. Harold
4/5 Stars

22443909This is a charming middle grade tale about a boy named Rudger who was imagined by a little girl named Amanda. After Amanda hurt and forgets Rudger, the imagined boy meets other imagined creatures who want to help him find a new real friend. Rudger, however, is determined to get Amanda back.

I’ll probably forget about The Imaginary in a few years, but I did enjoy reading it. The pictures are mostly in black and white, but the splashes of color give the book some extra personality. It’s wittiness and whimiscal-realism reminded me of Roald Dahl. And although I wouldn’t say Mr. Harold is even close to Dahl’s level, he can definitely imitate him in a way that should appeal to 21st century kiddos.


Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
5/5 Stars

26135825

I didn’t love Are You My Mother?, which is about Bechdel’s relationship with her overbearing mother. But I’d heard much better things about Fun Home, the story of Bechdel’s coming out shortly before her closeted-homosexual father commits suicide. After its Broadway Musical adaptation won so many awards at the Tonys, I knew I had to check it out. It didn’t disappoint. I’ve loved so many graphic novel memoirs (Maus and Persepolis to name a couple); I consider the genre to be one of my favorites. Fun Home certainly ranks in my top 5 favorite graphic novel memoirs now. Alison Bechdel is so goddamn intelligent it makes me feel unworthy. I’d definitely recommend reading Fun Home before Are You My Mother?, as the later is definitely a companion piece. Fun Home sets the stage for what you need to care about Alison and her family in Are You My Mother?

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum
4/5 Stars

179735

I started working on a long review for this book right after I finished reading it. It’s not done yet because there’s sooo much to say. The Girl Next Door is a thriller based on the real life murder of Sylvia Lichens. If you’ve never heard of Sylvia Lichens, before you look up the case I’ll warn you that accounts of her death are some of the most horrifying things you’ll ever read. A lot of people have described this book as like a darker version of The Body (aka Stand By Me). The main character is a 12-year-old boy in late 1950s suburbia who witnesses the abuse of his female friend, by both an adult he trusts and his peers. The boy struggles with how and if he should save his friend without ruining his reputation. Reading this book is a lot like reading something that takes place during the Holocaust. You’re miserable the entire time, but you come away thinking about the psychology behind what makes humans commit horrifying acts of violence. That long review will be posted soon.

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron
4/5 Stars

923950

Check out my review for this one here. This is a modern-classic self-helpish book written by the psychiatrist who coined the term “Highly Sensitive Person,” which refers to someone who has more intense emotions than average. I’ve known that I’m highly sensitive my entire life, but it wasn’t until I discovered Dr. Aron’s website in my late teens that it occurred to me that being sensitive isn’t solely a negative trait. I had some issues with this book (as explained in my review), but overall I really liked it.

 

Advertisements

January 2016 Reading Wrap-Up

(Better late than never.)

Okay, so… 2016 really needs to step up its reading game. I read 6 books in January (2 adult fiction, 1 adult non-fiction, 2 YA, and 1 middle grade), and I only gave one of them more than 3 stars. And because I’ve read so much crap recently, my desire to read has gone down significantly. Hopefully I’ll dig myself out of this rut soon. 

Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio
3/5 Stars

52588

I wrote a very, very long review about this modern feminist classic early in January. I didn’t except it to be my 2nd favorite January read, but here we are… It’s entertaining as hell and contains a lot of wisdom about rape culture, how capitalism harms women, and where women’s art fits into our culture, just to name a few things. I’d recommend it to any feminist of any age, with the disclaimer that there’s also A LOT of pseudo-scientific BS in this book. (And if Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright pissed you off this week, take a breather and read Cunt when you’re not so worked up over 2nd-waver weirdness.)

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
4.5/5 Stars

19547856

Easily the best book I read this month, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda was on my to-read list of Goodreads Choice Awards Nominees. It’s an adorable YA LGBT romance sans any unnecessary sap and melodrama. So if that’s your jam, read it and also check out my review.

 

 

 

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
1/5 Stars

20820994I always finish books. Except, apparently, when they are as bad as I’ll Give You the Sun. Again, I wrote a very long, very snarky review on this one. Like Simon it’s a YA romance, but I’ll Give You the Sun is full of dumb YA troupes and completely lacks charm.

 

 

 

 

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
3/5 Stars

6609765

Out of My Mind is on pretty much every list of middle grade books about children with disabilities. It’s not horrible, but I didn’t love it. Pros: I learned a lot about cerebral palsy and the sorts of accomdations people with severe CP use. There’s also a nice message about not assuming that children with cerebral palsy are stupid and don’t need friends. Cons: This message is delivered aggressively and is spoon fed to the reader, rather than allowing he/she to come to his/her own conclusions. It’s also very pessimistic. In the end, the girl with CP still doesn’t have any friends. If you’re looking for a book that shows children with disabilities in a positive light and discourages bullying, I’d recommend Wonder over this.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
2/5 Stars

22822858

A Little Life won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Adult Fiction Novel and was nominated for the Man Booker Prize, but I really don’t understand the hype. This 700+ pager about the life of a man who was orphaned and abused as a child is trite, melodramatic, and weirdly elitist. I’ve heard multiple people say that it’s one of the most depressing books they’ve ever read, but it didn’t move me in the slightest. I’m going to get around to writing a proper review on this one soon.

 

 

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

2/5 Stars

25465056

Yet another horrible choice for a Goodread’s Choice Award Nominee… Almost every negative review I read of Pretty Girls said it was too gory for their taste. After reading the book I realized that what people meant was that it was too gross for their taste. (There’s a difference, trust me.) Other than being disgusting, this book gets booooring after about the half way mark. I wrote a review on this too.

 

 

Here’s to a better February…

December 2015 Reading Wrap-Up

I didn’t read as much as I did in November, due to Christmas and all… but I still had a pretty damn good reading month. I read 1 YA novel, an adult non-fiction book, 2 adult novels, and 5 middle grade novels, because I had a goal to read 60 books this year and in order to reach that goal I needed to find quick, easy stuff to read. (Plus, I’m always surrounded by middle grade books at my job. It’s hard not to read them.) So here we go… 

Read More »