11 April 2014

Books of 2014: Part 3

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I am Outcast.
The kids behind me laugh so loud I know they're laughing about me. I can't help myself. I turn around. It's Rachel, surrounded by a bunch of kids wearing clothes from the Eastside Mall. Rachel Bruin, my ex-best friend. She stares at something above my left ear. Words climb up my throat. This was the girl who suffered through Brownies with me, who taught me how to swim, who understood about my parents, who didn't make fun of my bedroom. If there is anyone in the entire galaxy I am dying to tell what really happened, it's Rachel. My throat burns.
Her eyes meet mine for a second. "I hate you," she mouths silently.

Melinda Sordino's freshman year is off to a horrible start. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, and now her friends--and even strangers--all hate her. Months pass and things aren't getting better. She's a pariah. The lowest of the low. Avoided by everyone. But eventually, she'll reveal what happened at the party. And when she finally speaks the truth, everything will change.


After reading Wintegirls and seeing everyone rave about how Speak was even better I really had high hopes.  For me however, this was a disapointment.  It's far too simply written for my tastes (I do think it was written for a younger audience and I am far too old so this could have been one aspect) and I just couldn't connect with the character in the same way as Wintergirls.  I did accidentally find out about the 'twist' before reading it so maybe this is why it didn't have as much of an effect on me, although I did think it was pretty easy to figure out.  It was still enjoyable but I didn't really find it shocking or moving
***

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Volume 3 by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Volume 3 once again brings together art and voices from around the world to unite and tell stories that defy size.

Please see my review for the last books here as there isn't much more to add, other then I didn't find the stories in this volume as strong as in the previous volumes and that is why I have marked it slightly lower.
***

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

A humorous account of a New York City teenager's battle with depression and his time spent in a psychiatric hospital...
The book was inspired by Vizzini's own brief hospitalization for depression in November 2004.


I saw a lot of reviews of this saying that people didn't like it as not a lot happens, it's all talking and thinking.  As it happens that's just my kind of book so I did love this.  I didn't find it funny as a lot of people seemed to but I thought the collection of characters were all great and imaginative, it allows you to see people as more then there disorders.  This has a weird taste to it when you find out that the author killed himself due to his own metal disorder very recently, made me feel a bit strange.
****

Ligh Bowery: The Life and Times of an Icon by Sue Tilly

I think anyone with an open or creative mind should learn about Leigh Bowerly, I think he was amazing.  This isn't the best written biography but what it lacks in writing technique it more then makes up for in the ability to have the insight from someone who knew him so well.  You get a real behind the scenes look into his creations as well as the person underneath it all.  It is the first biography that has ever made me cry and this is due to Sue's obvious hurt, love and emotion for this incredible man.  It made me really miss a man I never had the pleasure of meeting.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On The Road swings to the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, generosity, chill dawns and drugs, with Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty, traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat. Now recognized as a modern classic, Kerouac's American Dream is nearer that of Walt Whitman than F. Scott Fitzgerald's, and the narrative goes racing towards the sunset with unforgettable exuberance, poignancy and passion.


I was really looking forward to this, it's such a well known classic, then my sister read it and said she hated it, and unfortunately I agree.  I honestly have no idea why this book has such high paise.  It just seemed like rambling.  If you ask a child how their day was and they tell you everything no matter what the relive, it felt like that.  Characters appeared and disappeared, places were visited and re-visited without anything happening.  For such a famous book about traveling he didn't really get very far and then he seemed to just re-visit these places over and over.  There were small passages that seemed to flow well but other then that I just didn't get this novel.  Maybe I need it explained to me, I'm sure I must be missing something huge.
**

So that's it for this episode, let me know your thoughts on 'On the Road', good or bad!

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