I have accepted the fact that I will not complete my goal of reading 50 books in 2015. I’m still glad I took on a book challenge, though, because it has motivated me to read more. Unlike in past years, I have always been reading something this year — sometimes two books at once.
Here’s what I read from July through September…
Hyperbole and a Half was born online and many bloggers are probably already familiar with it. Allie Brosh started the blog, which can be found here, and adapted it into a hilarious yet incredibly relatable book that tackles everything from childhood stories to stupid dogs to depression.
What surprised me most about this book is just how dark it could be in certain places. I would go from laughing out loud in one chapter to being in complete awe in the next chapter. It amazes me how well Brosh is able to describe depression and how that depression impacted her daily life. Although I’ve never been clinically depressed, I’ve definitely related to how difficult it can be to do simple things when life isn’t going well.
Hyperbole and a Half is a graphic novel filled with cute drawings and a lot of heart. I’m hoping she’ll come out with a follow up soon.
I tried reading this book back when I was in high school, but the sexual content made me uncomfortable back during my teen years so I ended up abandoning the book about 1/3 of the way in. I was mostly curious to see if a) it was really as explicit as I remembered it being (it wasn’t) and b) if I still liked it (I did).
This book was made into a movie starring Kate Winslet a few years ago and I didn’t really like the movie, but I ended up liking the book. I didn’t love the book but I did enjoy it. Most of the characters are selfish but yet you still kind of feel for them.
The book revolves around a group of thirtysomethings who live in the vicinity of a playground where they bring their kids. Two of the parents — Sarah and Todd — find themselves attracted to each other while their spouses are working. There is also a convicted child molester living nearby, which causes chaos for the parents in the town.
This book is well written and I enjoyed the story, but found myself feeling a little empty by the end. I still want to read more by Perrotta, though. I’ve heard Election is great.
I was going to give this book 3/5 but then I remembered how much I wanted it to be over during the final 1/3 of the book and had to reexamine that.
Maybe Palahniuk just isn’t for me. I don’t know. I liked the movie Fight Club but I haven’t read the book. Choke was my first experience reading Palahniuk and I just didn’t care for it. I do think he has an interesting voice, but this book was honestly just so filled with terrible characters doing terrible things and I didn’t like it.
Perhaps I am one of those people who needs to be able to like at least one character in order to like the book, but I was honestly just not a fan.
I wanted to read this because I love the movie and wanted to see if the book was any good. I really liked this book. This is a “chick lit” type of book in that it is centered around a woman and doesn’t really have a plot other than “woman getting her life together.”
I think my favorite part of this book is its depiction of small town, Midwest life. The book takes place in Oklahoma and the characters are really well developed and exactly the type of people you’d meet in a small town.
This book is funny in some places and heartbreaking in others. I recommend it to anyone who likes a good female empowerment story that can be a little sappy in parts. I’m not the type of person who could read chick lit book after chick lit book, but they’re fun every once in awhile and this is a good one. I promise it will make you catch feelings at least once.
This book was hard to rate because it’s full of short stories. Some of the stories are better than others, but I ended up giving this a 3/5 overall because, while I liked it, there were some stories that never grabbed my attention or that I thought were kind of dumb.
Overall, I was a little disappointed by this. The Coen Brothers are my favorite filmmakers and I think they are just such brilliant minds, so I expected this to be a really sharp piece of literature… and some of it was. But some of it was honestly boring and a little silly — and not a good silly.
My favorite stories were: “Destiny,” “Gates of Eden,” and “Red Wing.
I really hated: “I Killed Phil Shapiro.”
The others were simply “meh.”
I guess I’m glad I read the book because I’ve owned it for probably 8 years and never actually managed to pick the thing up and read it.
This book took up the biggest chunk of my time this quarter. This book is almost 700 pages long and is full of a ton of information. It was a bit intimidating when I first started the book — lots of names and dates and locations to remember — but overall it was an incredibly rewarding experience.
I read my first true crime book last year — I Know My First Name is Steven by Mike Echols — and found it fascinating. This book came highly recommended — both by my mother and a lot of “best true crime” lists.
Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the Charles Manson murders when I went into this. I knew he was a crazy dude and that he had a bunch of crazy people working for him out on some farm type thing — but I didn’t know the extent of the insanity.
Anyone who likes true crime should read this. I am just amazed at how evil one person could be. The number of murders, the gruesome details of the murders, and the way that Manson had so many people wrapped around his finger still makes me shiver to think about it.
The author was the prosecutor for the murder trial and thus the book is filled with a lot of firsthand information. Really, really interesting and crazy to think that this stuff actually happened.
This is probably the first “classic” book I’ve read so far this year. My roommate owned the book and I always wanted to read it, so I read it really quickly when I found out I was moving so I wouldn’t have to buy it for myself.
If you’ve read Brave New World then you’ll be familiar with the idea of a futuristic, dystopian society. I honestly think the society depicted in this book is a little more insane than that in Brave New World, though it’s been years since I’ve read that one.
The book was written in the 1940s and takes place in the year 1984, after the world has been divided into three different powers that are always warring with each other. Our main character, Winston, is part of “The Party,” meaning that he works for the government but is not privy to its secrets (“The Inner Party”). Winston hates the government and thinks that they are liars, but is unable to express that without being charged of “thought crime” and essentially killed (“vaporized” — which means you never existed). 1984 follows Winston as he attempts to live in this world without being caught.
This book is broken down into three parts. The first part is really a lot of exposition. During the first part of the book, I wasn’t super into it. I didn’t know why this book was as highly regarded as it is… and then the plot really started to pick up. Without giving too much away, I will just say that the third part of the book really disturbed me. It. Was. Insane. Highly recommended.
I decided to read this book after Brittany from Pines and Palmettos recommended it. Her review can be found here. It intrigued me that this book was banned from a South Carolina high school. Being a fan of well-written young adult fiction, I figured I’d give it a try.
Some Girls Are is a good read. It’s a fast read and it kicks into high gear from chapter one and doesn’t quit until it’s over. There are no dull moments in this book.
This is like a harsher, more violent version of Mean Girls. Regina Afton is part of the “Fearsome Fivesome,” a clique comprised of vicious, popular girls. Regina, the designated driver at one of her group’s raging parties, finds herself assaulted by her best friend’s boyfriend. She confides in Kara, another girl in the clique who she has clashed with in the past.
Instead of standing up for Regina, Kara tells the group that Regina slept with Donnie — not that she was the victim of unwanted sexual contact. The group then completely turns against Regina, turning her life into the worst version of high school hell that I’ve ever seen depicted to date.
This is not a fun book. This is a relentlessly violent, angry, and depressing book. But it is a very interesting and satisfying read.
I give a lot of books 4/5. I’m noticing this. Anyway, Modern Romance is a book about, well, dating in the modern world. Before I heard of this book, I wouldn’t have expected such a thing from Aziz Ansari, who I primarily know as a stand-up comedian and Tom Haverford from “Parks and Recreation.”
It turns out, however, that it’s a good fit. This book is funny, insightful, informative, and thought provoking. Ansari and his co-author legit did a lot of research on how dating trends have changed over time. They explore how technology, education, and society has changed how we find our partners.
My only complaint about this book is that it’s a little long for the subject matter, but it is full of really good information. To be honest, it has reassured me that my current singleness is totally fine. Living in the south, a lot of my peers are already in committed relationships or marriages. Aziz and his interviews from people from across the globe have reminded me that I’m not alone and that the average age for settling down is closer to 30 than it is to 20 these days anyway. Thanks Aziz!
10. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
I was torn between giving this book 3 and 4 stars, so it’s probably more of a 3.5. I read this for two reasons. 1) I’ve heard good things about it (and the movie version) for a long time. 2) YA books are so easy to read and I wanted to squeeze in a 10th book before the end of September for this list. Yay me.
This book is about 15-year-old Craig Gilner, who is clinically depressed. He is burnt out on school and life in general, becomes suicidal, and kind of inadvertently commits himself to a mental hospital. Even though he’s a teen, he is put in the adult wing because the youth wing is being renovated. At the hospital, Craig encounters a lot of interesting characters: a transvestite, a psychotic who loves to play cards, an Egyptian man who smells funny and never leaves his bed, and Noelle, a fellow suicidal teen.
I’ve never experienced clinical depression (as I mentioned earlier), so I don’t know how true to life this book is. But it feels very true to life. Craig is our narrator and his descriptions of how he feels seem very realistic to how it must feel to feel like you have nothing to live for even though you know you shouldn’t feel that way.
This book is very honest. It is simultaneously bleak and uplifting. I will say that I found parts of it a little cheesy, but overall I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who wants a quick read.