Sooooooooo late on my 2nd Quarter Reading Report. With no further ado…
Louisiana Saturday Night, Alex Cook – Read the 225 Magazine review here.
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins – This was me re-reading the trilogy again for the third time, around the release of the first movie. I re-read the first two books before I saw the movie and this one afterwards. It was really interesting applying all of the actors to the delicious craziness of the third book, imaging who would be cast for other roles, how they would depict certain things. I like these books better each time I read them.
Rose Sees Red, Cecil Castelucci – This is such a weird, cool book. It’s listed as “historical fiction” because it’s set in the 80s, which is pretty weird for me since that’s the decade I was a kid. It seems like a pretty random time to set a piece of fiction, but I think as writers like Cecil Castelucci (and myself) are reaching a certain stage of our development, we’re naturally turning to this time, mining it for all the weirdness and coolness it contained. It’s about dancers (which comes up more and more lately for me) having this one fantastic, rebellious night in New York. I love books and movies about that One Fabulous Night and this one certainly didn’t disappoint.
The Arizona Kid, Ron Koertge – On his website, Koertge says he’s one of the oldest people writing kids’ fiction and his young readers are always surprised to see an “old guy” walk into the room. That’s probably because, judging by this book, he writes about things that kids are actually dealing with in a real way. I read a lot of YA and kids’ fiction, but even I was pleasantly shocked at some of the subject matter of this book. He has a book coming out this month that looks really, really good – Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses - and I can’t wait to read it, as it deals with the most shocking of material, fairy tales.
Bayou Vol 1 and Vol 2, Jeremy Love + Patrick Morgan – These graphic novels are pretty overwhelming. The art is gorgeous and disturbing, lush. The story is about a young girl on a mythic journey to find her missing friend and save her father, who’s been accused of kidnapping/killing the girl – in the 1930s South. The way these stories deal with race and history is fascinating (and terrifying), but it’s the storytelling aspects that are most astounding. I’ve been waiting impatiently for Vol 3 and I think it’s coming out sometime this year.
Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol – Here I have to admit to judging a book by its over. I saw this graphic novel laying on a rack at the library and I snatched it up. It felt like I was reading a movie and I was constantly entertained as I read about Anya’s fall down a hole in a field, discovery of and friendship with a girl’s ghost and then her bid for independence from her new best friend. I think all these graphic novels I’ve been reading are the result of conversations I’ve been having with Dana and Maurice from Peauxdunque and it’s been amazing to discover them.
What Doesn’t Kill You, Iris Johansen – I definitely like Johansen’s new character Catherine Ling better than her most famous character Eve Duncan. A fast, entertaining read. I’m on the fence about whether I’ll read the next Eve Duncan book where she discovers she has a…half sister! Drama. Yet, why do I keep reading these books? There’s something enjoyable about them, even as the melodrama and write-by-numbers style drives me nuts.
Hell or High Water, Ron Thibodeaux – Read my 225 Magazine review here.
Bossypants, Tina Fey – Parts of this book were sheer genius and parts were kinda eh. I hate to say it, cause I love Tina Fey so much. I definitely loved reading how she became the Comic Genius Tina Fey and I love reading both funny women and women who have a true sense of themselves. I think Tina Fey is both kind of woman.
The Bridge to Neverland, Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson – Love these Peter Pan books so much. Barry & Pearson continue to find ways to reinvent and enrich the original story and also, now, to tie to to our modern world. This one might just be the best one. I’m also really interested in how two such different writers work together on such a cohesive, complicated story. I think they may be the best role models for how my sister and I will write together.
Delirium, Lauren Oliver – Lauren Oliver is a seriously good writer. Her book Before I Fall devastated me and this one is very different, yet also just tore me apart. It’s a fat book and has a really unhurried pace at the beginning, yet still feels compelling. Then, there’s this breathless rush toward an ending that slams into you like a train.
Twelve Years a Slave, Solomon Northup – I have been meaning to read this book for at least a decade. I think I worried that I would find the language too old-fashioned and the story too sad. It’s taken me a long time to read non-fiction eagerly. Boy, was I wrong. This book, a narrative of Northup’s experiences in the 183os-50s as a Northern freeman sold into slavery in the South, is enormously compelling. Though it’s a horrific story, there is such subtly in the way that it’s told, and it’s an important story.
Zone One, Colson Whitehead – I can’t believe I only read this book last month because I feel like I’ve been living with it for years. It has been haunting me since I started reading it. Phenomenally clever and well-written, this novel luxuriates in the zombie movie aesthetic and tropes, but is constantly stretching and pushing it further. With enough gorgeous language to send any word nerd into ecstasy, there’s also enough true danger and gore to please horror buffs.
Deadlocked, Charlaine Harris – The t.v. show True Blood doesn’t feel anything like this book series anymore. They are each their own monsters at this point. Harris’s series is cozy in its own graphic, humorous way. I feel like her Sookie has a lot more dimension and the relationships are far deeper, so it’s kind of like checking into the paranormal version of Mayberry from time to time and seeing what everybody is up to.
Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver – I had NO idea how this sequel was going to be as good as Delirium. I thought if anybody could do it, Oliver could because I’d loved both of her earlier books. I just didn’t see how it could be done. Pandemonium goes into far different places and gives us a far different Lena from the first book. It is delicious to see how she’s been scarred by the events of the first book and how she’s grown over the scars. While I totally predicted the “shocker” ending, I was still very, very satisfied by it and excited about what it will mean for the third book, which I’m trying to wait patiently for. February of next year! How will I survive now that i have no more doubts that it will be incredible?
Just a head’s up for the 3rd Quarter Reading Report – I have been working on another film, with just a short break after my previous one (in April, which is why I read so much). Probably, July and August will be light on reading, but hopefully September will be plentiful. However, as I usually do, I’m reading several books at one time and I can’t wait to tell you about them.