Another slow month for me but it contained some really, really good books!
Kafka on the Shore (Haruki Murakami) ♠♠♠♠♠
What a read – it was confusing, magical, airy, deep, surreal, and utterly accurate at the same time. Kafka on the Shore swept me off my feet. I am a huge Franz Kafka fan and this book came highly recommended by both my dad and my sister (who are also Kafka fans), and it truly did not disappoint. It reminded of Kafka’s metamorphosis in the way that the reader was just as acceptant of the weird and supernatural happenings in this book as when Gregor Samsa awoke to be a bug. Nothing in this book is by coincidence. Murakami is smart, worldly, intellectual, and purposeful. There were so many twists and turns and I was just along for the ride. Some things remained hidden and were never explained, others let to total aha moments. This book was so jam-packed with things that I am sure I missed lots of them – and this just calls for a reread! The only advice I can give is to read this book slowly, to really think about the words you just read, to savor each moment, and to just immerse yourself completely into this strange Japan that Murakami spins.
Vassa in the Night (Sarah Porter) ♠♠♠♠
This is another very, very strange read. This novel was so bizarre that I am not certain I actually have an opinion about it per se. I recommend it because it leaves you feeling awkward and confused. I loved getting lost in the Sarah Porter’s fantastical world filled with old Russian folk tales, odd creatures, and many, many creepy themes. The only thing I did not enjoy was the writing itself at times. The author did too much telling and not enough showing. Overall though, this is definitely a book made for me as I just adore weird and creepy things.
Commonwealth (Ann Patchett) ♠♠♠ and 1/2♠
I love Ann Patchett as much as the next basic bitch (just joking) but this was not my cup of tea. Generally, Ann is a genius when it comes to family sagas, character development, and haunting descriptions of our world, but this one missed the mark a bit for me. The story itself was engaging enough and the characters, of course, were relatable and complex, yet somehow I found myself very bored at times and even easily distracted. I can’t really put my finger on what was missing but I’ll be sure to update this post when I think of it.
Red Queen (Christina Henry) ♠♠♠♠♠
Let’s just take a moment to indulge in my love for Alice in Wonderland and creepy/weird/odd/fantastical things …. and then let’s swoon over how Christina Henry combines these things in her Chronicles of Alice series. The second book, Red Queen, is just as dark, fantastical, and brilliant as the first one. I am so stoked about this series, and I really hope Henry continues on. Alice grew up in this book, she became independent and found her own. I love how Henry made her flawed, yet fiercely perfect; a victim, yet a hero; and not a girl and not yet a woman (Thanks Britney!). I found tons of feminist symbolism in her writing and really hope it was intentional. Gah, I just love a dark Alice universe so much.
A Midsummer Night’s Scream (R.L. Stine) ♠
How is it possible that you can pen our beloved Goosebumps stories, and then this, Mr. Stine?????? I don’t even know where to begin, this was so bad. First off, this was nothing, NOOOOOTHING, like Midsummer Night’s Dream. I deeply apologize to my good sir William. Secondly, if taken as truthful, the depiction of teenagers in this novel could have terrible consequences. Given that this is geared toward young adults I really, really hope they do not take on the main characters as role models. Please, Mr. Stine, do not ever again use such cliches and stereotypes as the basis for the development of your characters. We are looking for real and complex individuals whom we can and WANT TO identify with.
The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield) ♠♠♠♠♠
Are you a book lover? A person who needs literature in their life? Someone with the desire to live at times in fantasy worlds? Do you admire writers and poets? Do you adore the written word? Have you enjoyed Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Wilkie Collins as much as any New York Times Bestseller author right now? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this book is for you! I was hooked from the first sentence in the book. I knew I needed to never stop reading until it reached its conclusion. The fact that this novel read like classic English lit, but contained as many twists and turns as a contemporary piece of work, was just the icing on the cake. Do yourself a favor, read it asap!
One (Sarah Crossan) ♠♠♠♠♠
This was very new to me. I have never read a novel comprised of poems before. This was lovely, and the format worked great for the story. It gave it the right amount of punch as it took you along the lives of two teenage sisters and their trial and tribulations of growing up. While most of us can identify with this, we don’t really know anything about what that means in the context of your life depending on your sister’s life as this is the story of conjoined twins. This novel was eye-opening and roller-coaster of emotions for me, and I can only urge you to read it too.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling) ♠♠♠♠♠
I am re-reading HP. What else is new? I loved this book as much as I loved it the first time. It is still as amazing as ever. I adore everything Sirius Black and I have a total soft spot for werewolves. I also really love how this is the first book in the series where the HP universe gets dark!