I keep telling myself “your blog is called Adventures of a Bookshop Girl” and yet you’ve kiiiiinda stopped posting about books lately.
I was going to post about The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but I wanted to wait until after my book club met, in case any of them were stalking me (hi guys!). But book club has come and gone, and I never reviewed it on here. Brief review: I liked it. I didn’t love it. I really appreciated Junot Diaz’s writing, and his merging of genres, but I still kind of felt like I was watching everything from arms length and didn’t entirely connect to the story. And it’s not because I have nothing in common with the characters. I still think you can connect with a book without relating to it. There was just the magic spark missing for me. But I really really liked it, and it was so close to having that Missing Thing. Yeah…worst book review ever. Moving on.
I told myself I would post about the Next Book I Read. My last blog review was on Midwinter Blood. Right after that I read Insurgent, which is the sequel to Divergent. I didn’t want to post a review about that one because it’s the middle of a trilogy, and it would be hard to do so without spoilers. (spoiler: I read it really fast and enjoyed it for what it is: mediocre fluffy YA. I like Divergent better.) And then I went right into reading Allegiant, the third and final book in the series. And something terrible happened. I just didn’t give a damn about this book. And I stopped reading entirely. And then the book was due back at the library (what? I work at a bookstore and I go to the library. judge away.). I never finished it. So I started Ready Player One last night. I LOVE IT.
But. I have Allegiant BACK from the library. AND book club just extended our deadline for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, AND we’re meeting to talk about Remains of the Day soon.
In summary. I’m reading three books at once. I’m usually a book monogamist. I now feel like a dirty, filthy book slut. My plan: sit my ass down and finish Allegiant. Read Ready Player One really. damn. fast. And then get back into my book club books.
Time to read!
What about you guys? Do you ever read more than one book at a time?
The moment this book won the Printz Award I put a hold on it at the library (yes, this bookseller uses the library…I have to or I’d be broke!). I finally got my copy right before I left for a business trip, and pretty much read the entire thing in one sitting on the plane. Which I suppose means that it was a page turner, but mostly that’s because it is in short sections which just make it easy to get through. Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick, tells the story of Merle and Eric, starting in the future and moving back in time throughout centuries of love, death, and interconnected relationships, until you reach the beginning of their story, a tale from the viking days.
I’ve seen this book compared to Cloud Atlas before, so I’ll just say that when the thought came to my mind I was a bit annoyed at the lack of originality. That’s not to say you can’t take something that’s already been done and make it your own original concept, or make it awesome despite the similarities. I’ve never read Cloud Atlas, but I was not a fan of the movie, I thought it was too heavy handed with the DEEP MESSAGE. While Midwinterblood isn’t heavy handed, it is really weird. It didn’t sit right with me. In some of the stories Merle and Eric are brother and sister, and in some they’re mother/son. I realize there are different kinds of love, but I wasn’t satisfied with how this was dealt with. The concept of the book, and the connecting stories, were intriguing in theory, but the reality fell flat for me. I kept waiting for the Amazing Epiphany and ended up disappointed.
While Midwinterblood is an interesting book, I don’t understand how it won the Printz Award–an award for acclaimed young adult writing–when there wasn’t a single teenage in the entire novel. Maybe that’s a separate issue–what makes a book YA?–but it’s definitely one worth discussing.
Midwinterblood didn’t meet my expectations. The writing was strong and the stories were interesting, but as a whole I feel like it could have been more riveting, and Sedgwick could have had more fun with the concept.
As a children’s bookseller, a lot of my reading list includes YA, so while I’m excited to tackle some adult summer reading, I was really happy to come across a few YA summer reading lists as well. And these lists are fantastic. I highly recommend a ton of the books on the Mashable list, including: Raven Boys, The Book Thief, The Fault in Our Stars, and Where Things Come Back. Granted their list isn’t entirely original–lots of familiar titles, especially if you’re up on your YA, it is still a solid list, as are the other two:
Mashable: 23 Books For Your Perfect Young Adult Summer Reading List
NPR: School’s Out: 5 Great Summer Reads For Teens
The Atlantic : The Summer Book Guide: Y.A. Edition
I’m looking forward to Eleanor and Park, I’ve heard GREAT things about it. And I don’t know how I haven’t started the Delirium series yet. Time to stop blogging and start reading!
I really really wanted to like this one. I had never read any Libba Bray, but I’ve heard that this is quite a departure from her Gemma Doyle series. And I really really want to read the Gemma Boyle books. But this book. This strange book. It just didn’t do it for me. But I REALLY wanted it to. It’s like a relationship that looks good on paper, but in reality there are no sparks, and all you can blame is a lack of chemistry. I wanted sparks.
Going Bovine is about Cameron Smith, a 16-year-old boy who somehow ends up with the unlucky fate of contracting mad cow disease. Cameron finds out that the disease is fatal, and that his body will slowly stop working for him. So he does what any fatally ill teenager would do. He goes on a road trip with his friend Gonzo. But it’s not just any road trip. He learns, from a hot punk-rock angel named Dulcie, that he has to find Dr. X who can cure him of the disease. Along the way Cameron and Dulcie run into a very odd cast of characters–my favorite was Balder, the viking garden gnome.
As I said, I really really wanted to like this book. It has a unique premise and amazing characters, but the plot is so wishy-washy. I felt like I was constantly waiting for the “a-ha!” moment, and never got there. My favorite part was the beginning, before the road trip. And when my favorite part is the beginning, that means the rest of the book was “meh”. There are some tear-jerker moments in the book and Libba speaks so honestly about the state of the world today, and about the fragility of life. I didn’t dislike it, and I didn’t “not get it”, it is a deep and moving book that was well crafted and beautifully written, and very original and witty and hilarious. Which all sounds great, but there were no sparks.
Maybe it’s because I’ve never read Don Quixote, which this is loosely based on. Or maybe it’s because I’ve read a few too many truly BAD Don Quixote knock-offs. But this just wasn’t for me. It’s not Libba, it’s me. Going Bovine has gotten good press, and in case my review just doesn’t do it for you, here are a few fans of the book: KidsLit, Reading Rants, Tea Cozy, Em’s Bookshelf and a review I agree with: Abby (the) Librarian.
I was going to hold off on reviewing this one until closer to the pub date, but I just can’t wait. I received an ARC of Incarceron at PNBA from my lovely Penguin sales rep, and had heard FABULOUS things about it during my “Children’s Pick of the List” panel at the tradeshow. Booksellers were throwing around words like “steampunk” and phrases like “well, I can’t tell you much about it….” so of course it sounded like my kind of book. I just love books I can’t talk about. Right. So let’s talk about the book, shall we?
Incarceron is set in a postapocalyptic-ish future. Kind of. You see, the powers that be decided that it would be safer if they just stopped time, so they all live in a sort-of Victorian era, but most people cheat and use technology to fake their authentic Victorian lifestyles. Claudia lives in this fake-Victorian-era, and her father is the Warden of Incarceron–a prison that was created decades ago where ALL the bad people of the world were sent to create a new utopia-type-land. Finn lives in this utopian prison. Except it’s more like hell. The chapters alternate between Claudia and Finn, (seamlessly, I might add) and as they learn more about eachother’s worlds many mysteries surface.
Sounds pretty awesome and sort of complicated, right? Well it is. Pretty awesome. It’s really not complicated once you’re entrenched in the book. And I was hooked from the first page. Catherine Fisher does an amazing job of keeping things suspenseful, and she weaves together the different story lines beautifully. Her worlds are so completely original and well shaped. I can’t wait until this one comes out so that I can start selling it. It’s already been out in the UK for awhile, so if you really want it, I’m sure you could find it. Or just wait and buy it at your local indie bookstore. (shameless plug).
EDIT: I just found out that Bookshelves of Doom has a great review of Incarceron too! I think her summary is a bit less convoluted than mine, check it out.