Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Other Books of May

Because you knew there were MORE!

1.  We Were Liars, E. Lockhart - I normally am not a jump on the bandwagon sort of girl, but the reviews of this book were such that I decided I wanted to read it before the inevitable hype happened.  It's an amazing book.  I even stayed up way too late on a night I needed sleep so that I could read it all in one sitting, and was left feeling really rather gobsmacked in a good way.  The fact that I figured it out didn't even ruin the ending...it only enhanced it.  It's a beautiful book...and you should all read it.  Fair warning, though, it's not a particularly happy book...  (Ahem.  About a week later I realized that much of the plot of this book mirrors very closely an American remake of a Korean horror movie, The Uninvited.  Now, I have no idea if Lockhart has any awareness of the movie or not...I like to think not...but it's obvious that at the very least this is indicative of a specific plot that is becoming so popular that it's loosing its impact.)

2.  All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr - When Books On the Nightstand makes a special point of recommending a book, I generally take notice.  (One of my favorite's last year - A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon - received similar attention by BOTNS.)  I should say upfront that I'm a bit of a sucker for well-written, literary WWII books.  I was still caught off guard, though, by how beautiful this book was.  I sobbed out loud through the last 50 pages or so.  More than just a book about war, this is also a fairy tale....and a story about the type of damage that can be inflicted upon the dreamers of the world...and about resiliance and hope.  Doerr's book is on my list for the best of 2014.

3.  The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, Jan-Philipp Sendker (audio) - My, oh my, is this ever a beautiful book!  I love a good love story, and this one touched my heart for so very many reasons.  Read it if you need to feel good about people.  Read it if you want to be reminded about just how pure love can be.  I've got to also say that I really enjoyed the framework of the love story - which is that of a daughter discovering truly who her father was.  Beautiful

4.  The People of the Trees, Hanya Yanagihara - I'm unsure of exactly how I feel about this book.  On the one hand, it's a brilliant story about the misunderstandings that can arise between two cultures.  It's also a very well-done character study, with an excellent example of an unreliable narrator.  The descriptions were lush and many of the concepts were well developed.  On the other hand, I tend to not like to read books with dispicable main characters.  (Although I will say that I got a certain sense of glee from the very last part of the book when all of my suspicions were confirmed.)  I'm glad I read it....but I don't ever want to reread it....Shudders.

5.  Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hr Bookstore, Robin Sloan - It's sooo much fun!  It's really refreshing, first of all, to read a book about a group of people who like each other.  Secondly, it's a fun nod to both booklovers and computer geeks....and to all of the nerds inbetween.  The fact that it had place called "the California Museum of Knitting Arts and Embroidery Sciences" was an extra bonus.  I sooo wish that were a real place...I'd be packing up right now.

6.  Dept. of Speculation, Jenny Offill (audio) - Offill's book hit several Best Of 2013 lists last year, and so it's been on my wish list for quite sometime.  I was surprised when I checked it out via Hoopla, though, when I discovered it was only 3 hours of audio.  Dept. of Speculation is a rather brilliantly done portrait of a marriage - intense, rich in language and in detail, and oh-so-true to real life.  As you know, slice of life style books are not normally my thing...but this was so incredibly well-done that I would have loved it had it been ten times longer.  I had to back up the audio a couple fo times so that I could write down some quotes!

7.  The Space Between: an Outlander Novella, Diana Gabaldon - The next official Outlander novel is released early next month...so this was a very nice teaser to lead up to that!  Yep, I'm not ashamed to admit that I love Gabaldon's books.  Just might reread them this summer. 

8.  A Plague of Zombies: an Outlander Novella, Diana Gabaldon - Ditto.  I've now fully caught up with the entire Gabaldon library. 


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