August. Another one for the books 😉 …. I have completed 6 books of varying difficulty levels and lengths – it is only 6 because I have been trying to make my way through Stephen King’s IT … and let me tell ya, that book is kicking my butt. I adore it so much, don’t get me wrong, but it is slow-going for me. I have to put it down way more often than anticipated because with all that imagining and reliving of childhood fears my brain gets fried and my body feels exhausted. Anyhow, the books I did finish were of various successes – obvi Neil Gaiman did not disappoint but unfortunately, others did. Overall, I did surpass my Goodreads Reading Challenge this month – I am currently at 78 books (pledged to read 75 this year) and have, unofficially, set a new goal of 100. That should be possible as I still have 19 more books to read just to fulfill my girls reading club challenge and the Popsugar Reading list. Plus, I figured with Dewey’s 24-hour readathon coming up in October and a bit of traveling in September and November, I should have good stretches of time for reading.
Rodrick Rules, Diary of a Wimpy Kid II (Jeff Kinney) ♠♠♠♠♠
I really like this series a lot and can completely understand how these books speak to younger readers. They’re light-hearted and fun and really emphasize things we find funny at the age of 8 or so (like farts – though in my case I still find that funny today – side note, I once took a Facebook quiz and my mental fart age was 9). While reading this particular book, I found myself laughing out loud a few times and really thought I should unearth my old diaries just to see what kinds of issues I was writing about at that age. In addition, reading this series seems to give me mad points with the two boys I tutor weekly. Hey, in fact, they are the ones lending me the books.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (JK Rowling) ♠♠♠♠♠
This is still a 5 star read for me, but let me tell you, I was cringing so hard this time around – Harry is just plain unbearable teenage angsty in this book. I guess I grew up. In fact, I found myself relating to Snape quite often – who hasn’t had their heart seriously broken at this point in their life?! Hermione and Neville also stick out in this book – they really grew up and seem to find their way into adulthood quite gracefully. Luna Lovegood, of course, has always been one of my faves and she still is after this re-read. And overall, the dark and gloomy theme just has me all kinds of swooning. Then there is Sirius’ death which made me teary eyed once more. I am looking forward to the next one, which so far has always been my favorite in the series.
Ready Player One (Ernest Cline) ♠♠♠ and 1/2♠
This book was fluff for me, an easy read, a page turner. I had expected a bit more to be honest. It came so highly praised. It was really missing depth in my opinion. There was a lot of telling instead of showing, the author didn’t really have the skill to portray teenage thoughts and beliefs, and on top of it, there was just a lot of random character facts. Having a black, gay female lead, for example, hiding as a white dude in the virtual reality world is only relevant if you make it so, if it adds to the story, if it propels the plot forward, or if it enriches the emotional nuances of the book – unfortunately it just didn’t. There were several of those missed opportunities. I am curious to see how they will deal with that in the upcoming movie.
The Wednesday Letters (Jason F. Wright) ♠
I would give this 0/5 stars but then I wouldn’t know how to rate one of those terrible ghost written romance novels you can buy at Walmart or CVS. The writing was pretty standard horrendous but what got me the most was the over the top Christian references. How this book is not categorized as Christian literature is beyond me? In fact, it was so blatantly Christian and in your face that it almost could double as a how-to-forgive-everyone-no-matter-how-terribly-they-wronged-you manual. Honestly, I don’t even feel this book is worth my time typing a real review. Just don’t read it. Spare this time and use it toward, I don’t know, kissing spiders or cuddling with venomous snakes – cause I bet you’ll have a much better experience.
The Sleeper and the Spindle (Neil Gaiman) ♠♠♠♠♠♠
This book has everything: strong female lead, tons of Grimm tale references, beautiful illustrations, and Gaiman’s voice! I loved it so much, it immediately got a spot on my all time favorites list. It’s a short read and you should waste no more time and read it now.
M is for Magic (Neil Gaiman) ♠♠♠♠♠
Short stories aren’t for everyone, and if I am honest, I have had my troubles with them in the past. I get too attached to a character and feel like his/her whole story hasn’t been told in only those few pages. I always want to know more, find out new things, follow them further. And then there are Neil Gaiman short stories. They are plainly perfect. He gives you enough to satisfy your cravings, to make you fall in love with the characters, to remember them long after finishing the story, and to feel oh so connected to the plot. You think he does graphic novels or adult-ish fantasy well, you need to read one of his short stories. He is THE master of it. Technically, this book is geared toward children, but let me point out, these are not your ordinary kids’ tales – they are scary and gruesome, at times graphic, and at the very least often tragic, yet they make you also laugh and giggle. They’re full of humor and wit. They seamlessly walk the line between fiction and truth. But most importantly, they make you think and wonder. Magical is one word for his writings. Profound is probably a better description.