Thursday, September 1, 2011

Summer Reads

I've done quite a bit of reading this summer, considering how bad I've felt. There have been five or six fluff books in between that I won't even mention, but here is the main body of what I've been reading:

(And as a side note, most of my links are to the Paperback Swap listing. If anybody wants to join Paperback Swap, my ID is Casper803, feel free to use me as your referral or just friend me when you get there! Lately I've been using my credits to build Kaycie's library. I'm also on with the same nickname, but the rules there are a little different so be prepared to pay a 50 cents fee per request if you sign up there. Sending them out is free and you can transfer credits to PBS or after your first request.)

One Day by David Nicholls - Yes, this is the book that they're making the big movie out of that should be out later this year. I'd had it on my wish list on PBS since last year and finally got it early this summer. One of my friends recommended it to me because she thought I'd appreciate the unique concept. In short, the first chapter is the story of how two people met on a certain day as they graduate college. Each subsequent chapter picks up their situation/relationship on the exact same day X number of years in the future. I was intrigued by the concept and was excited to get the book. Then I read it. You see, my love of books often centers around strong characters that I want to learn more about. Halfway through this book I simply didn't care what happened to the two main characters anymore. The characters don't really grow. I got tired of reading about the male lead's constant self centered addiction-laced celebrity. Tired of the two characters constantly being in conflict. I just got tired of the story. It's rare for me to abandon a book halfway through, but I put this on down on the plane on the way home from Tampa back in June and was done. I have no idea how it ends, and I have no intention of watching the movie to find out. I just don't care.

The Help by Katheryn Stockett - I know I'm officially the last person on Earth to read this one, so I won't go into the plot. I will say that I thought it was very well done and showed a wide variety of characters instead of stereotyping Southerners of either race. I also appreciated the fact that that the author is from Jackson. You can tell she had some experience with the subject. I liked this book enough to pass it on to my mom, which is saying something because we don't normally have mutual appreciation for books! She loved it too.

And if you'll indulge me, I'm going to put my geek on now...

Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
- FYI, that link isn't to the book but to the Wiki page for the series which does a much better job of summarizing this very complex series. This is what I call medieval fantasy series, even though I'm not sure that's a legitimate genre. The first book in the series is Game of Thrones, yes that's the same book that the HBO series is based on. It's about a mythical realm of kings and knights and treachery and deception and heros and dragons... well, all that stuff you normally find in a good medieval fantasy novel. By the end of the first book there are five different kings claiming the throne, and by the later books the plot is as twisted and complicated as it can get. But it's a good series for those into fantasy. And no, it's not as sexually graphic as the HBO series, but the violence may be a little worse in the novels.

There are currently five books in the series, although Mr. Martin has said there will ultimately be 7 books in the series. So far each book has averaged around 1,000 pages, which means I invested time into reading six thousand pages of this epic. Wow. But once you've read the first few, you kinda have to finish because you've already invested a chunk into it. That's all that got me through the fourth book, to be honest. The first book was good. The second was pretty good but war-strategy heavy. By the third book I began to realize that there are a LOT of characters in these books. So many that the fourth and fifth books were supposed to be one, but had to be broken into two parts to cover all the characters that needed to be covered. The appendix lists all the characters, organized by house/location and is 80 pages long. By the fourth book I was more than a little confused, but I pushed through and was rewarded in the fifth installment, which was just released this summer. It's going to be a loooong wait for books six and seven.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - I geeked out again, but this time it's Greg's fault. He picked this one up at the library and enjoyed it so much I kept it to read myself. If you're into the geekdom of the video game culture of the 1980's, you'll love this book. It also tips the hat to the music and movies the era, just not quite as heavily. In this futuristic look at America society is perpetually plugged in to the virtual reality world known as OASIS. People work, attend school, and play inside this programmed world. When the OASIS creator dies, he leaves his billion dollar fortune and control of the company to whoever can solve his quest inside the OASIS, which is based on clues found within his obsessiveness of the 1980's. It becomes geek vs bad corporate entity as the race is on to find the three keys that open the three gates (think Dungeons and Dragons influence here). I'll admit, it's not the most poetic writing ever. And it does at times become a bit predictable, but it was an entertaining book for those of us who have a little geek in us and loved the 80's. I finished it in about 3 days but would have finished it in one back in the good old days before I had a kid that sucked up 97% of my time and energy. It was a nice fluffy romp after six thousand pages of medieval fantasy!

This post reminds me that I've been meaning to write a post about my Kindle and how much I love it. And why I don't always use it.

And I need to go back and tag my older "What I'm Reading" posts so they're easier to find. There's been quite a few, and if you search for "books" on the blog you might just find a few more posts. I really need to do some blog maintenance in all of my masses of free time.


Shar said...

I also read ONE DAY this summer and just didn't get it! Great concept that was ruined with characters I didn't like enough to cheer for!

Susan said...

That's exactly how I felt. Did they end up together? Eh. I don't care. Did he die in a massive drug overdose? Don't care. Did she marry a boring guy and continue to lead a boring life... probably, but why would you bother writing a book about that.Sigh. Downloaded a pile of book samples to my Kindle tonight. Time to restock!

Allison said...

I'm reading The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. And, aside from the Narnia I read to Mini-me, the only other reading I have time for now is news, Bible and textbooks.