As touched upon in my first post, I am and have always been an ardent reader, even though I tend to cycle reading binges, with reading droughts. I prefer a captivating mystery or something historical, but I am no book snob (yes, I did read Twilight in college and yes, I do fear I one day will come to regret this compromising revelation).
As long as the plot sounds intriguing to me, I don’t care if the book has been written by a brand new author (the risk is a serious trhill) or if it’s on the NYT Bestsellers’. I really enjoy writing that makes you feel like you are in the story, like Gillian Flynn or Carlos Ruiz Zafon do, for example. They both write with detail and expression but without it seeming cheesy or over the top. Just enough to be able to imagine you are right there along with the characters. I beliebe books are meant to take you out of the world you’re in, and shift you over to another world to let you experience someone else’s life for a beat. When I finish a book, I like the feeling of being in deep thought for a couple days. Or at the very least, traumatized, as if I had literally been experiencing what the characters are going through myself.
I plan to end my reading hiatus with a few books I just picked up: Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey), Sometimes a Great Notion (Ken Kesey), and Wilderness (lance Weller). I have been going through a Pacific Northwest phase and I actually picked up these picks books based on their location in the PNW and Alaska.
Dark Places, Gillian Flynn
This book. So perverted and demented one cannot help to love it. I swear when I got up to the satanic cult part (remember the cows anyone?) I could not sleep for two nights. It gave me that creepy, campy feling that American Horror Story does (unrelated side note: 5 DAYS TIL THE PREMIERE). And as I mentioned, she is so so descriptive (sometimes too much maybe??? Nahhhh) and does an amazing job with the characters and how they act. The scenes she paints make you feel like you’re right there, even when you don’t want to be haha. She makes the characters detestable when it’s called for, and makes you feel sympathy for others. Just unbelievable writing here and and such a TWISTED ending. If I wasn’t into creepy things, I could see myself not having liked this book. But since I happen to be strange, I adored it. I would re-read it again in a few years even thought I never re-read books (the first time is so sprecial and magical…whereas during the second time, those feelings just aren’t there. I just realized how pervy that sentence sounded…) Anyways, I give this smashing book 920 brilliant stars.
Fear Itself, Andrew Rosenheim
Touted as a “spy thriller,” I so wanted to enjoy this one. But sadly, it just did not capture my attention. Not even at the climax. I found it a little predictable and I just did not feel satisfied at all by the ending. Or any part for that matter. It was a little luckluster to me and I can’t quite put my finger on why. Well, maybe one reason is that I just could not connect to the main character at all. He seemed like a handsome, strapping young lad, and even then, I just really didn’t care to get to know him that well. And in my humble opinion, the descriptiveness just wasn’t there. I will say, as a disclaimer, I’d finished Devil in the White City shortly before reading Fear Itself. And anyone that has read DITWC knows that that is hell of a tough act to follow (at least it was for me). Over all, this read gets an underwhelming 65 stars.
The Round House, Louise Erdrich
(Such a pretty cover!) This review is a little difficult to write. I liked some parts and disliked others. Though there is a very traumatic personal struggle in the book, I felt like I couldn’t eat up the book as much as I wanted, but it’s hard to pinpoint why. I’m just not sure what the disconnect was. At any rate, Ms Erdrich is a terrific writer. The quotes from the teenage boys are spot on. There was humor when needed. And she does give the personal struggle, that later spreads all throughout the family, a realistic perception. This book made me sad. Sad for what the mother went through, and even more unhappy to see how this tragedy affected her family so much. At some points, I felt myself being like, “just try to move on, make an effort with your family,” but obviously, an assault is one of the most traumatic experience one could ever go through, so you come to understand how it really just screws up a victim’s life so that they can’t ever fully move on. So heartbreaking, and it made me have so much empathy for not only the victim, but for her kid and husband that had to see her go through the pain. But one of the main things I appreciated about this book, is that it brought attention to the frustrating fight that this community of people living on reservations throughout the country face. Seems so unfair and so skewed, but it is nonetheless so omnipresent. My favorite quote from the book: “We are never so poor that we cannot bless another human being, are we? So it is that every evil, whether moral or material, results in good. You’ll see.” Such an interesting perspective that is so hard to absorb, but there is so much truth to it.
To summarize, since I’m so wishy washy about my feelings for the book, I am not going to rate it. I’ve already filled my “difficult decisions” quota for today anyhow (purple shirt or white flowy top for tonight…the great questions of our time indeed)