Sunday, March 01, 2009

February Readings

This was a good month's reading. Five of the stories still ambush me while I'm petting the cats, taking a shower, making dinner, or at other, equally unexpected, times.

Here are the books I read in February:

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2/3): This is YA Science Fiction. I got so mad at the injustice depicted in this book that I had to put it down. I guess this means that I connected to Katniss's story on a visceral level. I still find myself thinking about it.
  2. World War Z by Max Brooks (2/6): It was interesting to read zombie fiction presented as nonfiction. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the mockumentary that the book built in my head. But the style is distancing. I found it difficult to get too worked up when the characters are just meandering on about the terrible things that happened to them.
  3. The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede & Carolyn Stevermer (2/6): This is the second book in the historical fantasy series that started with Sorcery and Cecilia. Like its predecessor, this is a Letter Game book. It's an effortless, fun read: a Regency Romance with a little magic thrown in for spice.
  4. The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years After by Patricia C. Wrede & Carolyn Stevermer (2/7): This is the third book in the historical fantasy series that started with Sorcery and Cecilia. I loved discovering how the characters' lives had changed after ten years of marriage. It's still effortless fun.
  5. Good as Lily by Derek Kim & Jesse Hamm (2/9): This is a standalone graphic novel about something strange that happened to a high school girl. The story was rich in possibilities, beautifully drawn, and interesting. As with so many other graphic novels, however, I wished that I had gotten the whole story, rather than the abridged version.
  6. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale & Nathan Hale (2/12): This is a standalone graphic novel that mashes together the Rapunzel fairytale and an American Western. It was fascinating fun to watch the fairytale and the western play off one another. I didn't feel like I got an abridged version in this story. I knew so much that I was able to bring a lot more into the experience than could be drawn on the page.
  7. The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks (2/22): I'm not sure whether this YA is a thriller, urban fantasy, horror, or some sort of combination of all three. Reading it is like watching one of those movies where everything that happens is horrible, but you just can't look away. The ending left me trying to figure out what would happen next.
  8. My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor (2/22): This is mostly a memoir with some brain science thrown in. For me, there was too much memoir and not enough brain science. I agree, however, that we need to celebrate what we have left after an injury--brain, or otherwise. There's no healing to be found when we spend all our time mourning what we've lost.
  9. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Krause (2/24): This book is a YA Urban Fantasy. I thought the plot was fascinating, the world well-developed, and the characters believable. Nevertheless, I read this book impatiently, wishing that it was more satisfying. The author's storytelling skills and style got in the way of her story.
  10. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (2/25): This is the second book in the blockbuster Twilight series, is YA urban fantasy, and is starting to grow on me. Bella does continue her twin trends of sighing her words instead of just saying them, and of telling us that something happened only to describe something else. On the positive side, Bella exhibits some semblance of free will this time around, and is treated by almost all the other characters as if she's really a person. Those things definitely helped.
  11. Austenland by Shannon Hale (2/27): This book is in the genre currently known as women's fiction. It's essentially the story of a woman who goes to a vacation LARP based on Jane Austen's work. I often found myself wanting to slap the main character. Then I realized that she just didn't know that playing "let's pretend" often spills over into our real lives. After I made that realization, it was a fun, frothy read.
  12. Madapple by Christina Meldrum (2/28): When I finished reading the book, I couldn't figure out what to call the genre. The library files it as YA fiction, which is fair enough, although I think it cuts off a significant portion of the reading audience. Whatever genre it is, Madapple is the most compelling piece of fiction I've read this year. I thought I was sucked into a nightmare fairy tale, but the true horror of the story is that everything that happened--the isolation,the torture, the brain-washing, the murder trial--could happen right here, right now. I can't decide who to send the book to first.
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