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All these books I read during the the 2013 Spring semester in the midst of midterms, finals, exams, presentations, and a deluge of art projects. These books don’t have their own post, not because they’re so bland (though a few do fall under that category) that they don’t warrant one, but mostly because I felt all has been said already. Or I was too lazy. Never mind, it’s the laziness.

How Literature Saved My Life by David Shields (2013)
Edition Read: Hardcover
My Thoughts: It’s been awhile since I picked up a non-fiction title not for academic purposes–and with a title like that, how can any book lover resist? With that said, David Shield’s How Literature Saved My Life by David Shields was a miss for me mostly due to the way the book is structured like a list of disparate thoughts and anecdotes (he describes his sex-life pretty often.) I have to applaud Shield’s unflinching candor. There are also A LOT of references to movies and books (there’s a part of the book where he lists fifty of his favorite books, which sufficed in making me yawn once or twice.) Although there are some insightful moments, this book makes me feel my brain isn’t smart enough to comprehend Shield’s thought process. Or maybe it really doesn’t make sense. I don’t know.
Rating: C-

This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers (2012)
Edition Read: Hardcover
My Thoughts: I’m not sure how to “review” children’s books at all. But this book made me a fan of Oliver Jeffers–not only for his fun, quirky stories–but also his art style. I WANT TO DO THAT KIND OF COLLAGING. After receiving This Moose Belongs to Me in the mail because of a giveaway, I was set on giving it away for Christmas (probably to someone under 10.) But after I read it, I totally had to keep it for myself. Largely due to the art style. Very beautiful and inspirational. I currently have a print and poster of Jeffers on my bedroom wall.
Rating: B

The Last Dragonslayer (The Last Dragonslayer, #1) by Jasper Fforde (2012)
Edition Read: Hardcover
My Thoughts: A story about a world where magic is now commonplace–but only used for trivial tasks like pest-control and plumbing. As my first Jasper Fforde book, I really wanted to like this one. I heard he was supposed to be hilarious. Maybe it’s because this is more of a middle-grade, but I didn’t find The Last Dragonslayer as funny as I hoped. There were an abundance of quirky, fun, satirical moments fir for a middle-grade story though. Overall, an enjoyable read. I still probably would continue the series if the opportunity arises. Probably.

Rating: C+

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff (2007)
Edition Read: Paperback
My Thoughts: As other’s have said, this book starts off very strong–but falls apart by the end as if the author had no idea where to take the story, so he just threw something that sounded cool (but is actually a convoluted mess) together. I think the ending was SUPPOSED to be mind-blowing. But it wasn’t. It is still a fun plot: Jane the protagonist is arrested and sent to a psychiatric ward, where she claims to be part of a government secret organization that fights crime, but yet is capable of going undetected. There’s a little bit of unreliable narrator going on, but it’s just A LOT OF FUN. At least until the last fifty pages.
Rating: C+

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers (2007)
Edition Read: Hardcover
My Thoughts: If only I could “read” books, or at least absorb their knowledge by simply eating them like this boy can, then maybe I wouldn’t take so long writing reviews. And maybe then I’d finally understand the great philosophical works of of Nietzsche and Kant.  Except that would be very expensive and I would rack up a lot of library fines. I loved this book, about a boy who discovers the love of reading because he ate too many books–and I’m becoming quite the Jeffers fan. Darn it, I love his collages and painting style.
Rating: A

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers (2011)
Edition Read: Hardcover
My Thoughts: As you might have noticed, I’m having a Oliver Jeffers obsession lately. It all started when I won a Penguin giveaway. So Penguin sent me a poster of this book. And because I love Jeffers’ illustrations, I just had to put it on my bedroom wall. And because I put it on my bedroom wall, I felt the need to read the book, because what would I do if someone asked me about it? (nobody asked, but still!) So I read the book, and it did not disappoint. It’s about a boy who keeps throwing stuff into a tree, causing a LOT of stuff to get stuck in the tree (like an elephant and a firetruck.) I enjoyed this book, though not quite as much as The Incredible Book Eating Boy.
Rating: B+

Ask The Passengers by A. S. King (2012)
Edition Read: Hardback
My Thoughts: The first book I’ve read for 2013 because I wanted to try more YA contemporary novels. I have mixed feelings about this book. It’s about LGBT, family relationships, a little bit of philosophy, and sending love to people on airplanes. I find these moments where Astrid confides in these strangers to be the heartwarming, especially because she’s still in the closet about her sexuality. I admittedly haven’t read much LGBT, and I’m trying to remedy that–though I’m not sure if this book did the trick. I didn’t care about this couple, they just seemed like they were together because of teenage horomones. This was one of those books that were just “okay,” for me. I didn’t dislike anything, but I can’t sing praises either.
Rating: C++

Left Behind by Tim Lahaye & Jerry B. Jenkins (2000)
Edition Read: Paperback
My Thoughts: You have not read “preachy” until you’ve read Left Behind. Basically The Raptures comes, and all true believers of God disappear, along with babies. Along the way, it’s accepted that the ones taken away are in Heaven (if Heaven is filled with babies, I might have to reconsider.) I’m not Christian or Catholic, which made the book a even harder pill to swallow. At first I enjoyed the book due to its plot. I love a good, intriguing thriller any day, but gradually the book became more of an annoying salesman trying to convert you by scaring you. The religion is so heavy-handed that it took away all the entertaining elements that kept me reading in the first place.
Rating: D+

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (1963)
Edition Read: Paperback
My Thoughts: It’s about time I’ve read some Kurt Vonnegut (because I managed the get through high school without reading Slaughterhouse-Five.) I was assigned to read Cat’s Cradle for my Post Apocalyptic class, and enjoyed it, though it’s apocalyptic elements are often in the backdrop (what a disappointment.) I had trouble comprehended Vonnegut’s made-up religion, Bokonism, but as I began to ponder it more after I was done with the story, the more it made sense, and the more I appreciated Vonnegut’s writing. I still think there were way too many characters, many that you think are minor–until they reappear later on and play a pivotal role. I don’t know if Vonnegut is for me. Although I like his satirical, absurd humor and his wacky imagination, but Cat’s Cradle just didn’t hold my interest.
Rating: C+

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (2003)
Edition Read: Hardcover/E-book
My Thoughts: Another author I should’ve read long ago, but instead had to use the excuse of school to finally do so. I enjoyed Oryx and Crake largely due to it’s dystopic, sci-fi elements. It’s also a very twisted story with pedophilia and genetic engineering. This post-apocalyptic story is about a guy who lives in a post-apocalypstic would with Crakers. These Crakers are the new-generation of humans, humans who are genetically modified to better survive. The creator of them, Crake, decided to manufacture an apocalypse to cleanse Earth and to hand over the world to his Crakers. I loved Oryx and Crake’s characters–especially Crake, who is given the tropes of being a mad scientist deeply affected by his troubled family life and media, yet has sympathetic intentions–except the apocalypse part of his plans.
Rating: B-

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Edition Read: Mass Paperback
My Thoughts: I really thought I would’ve liked this one a lot more (it’s a Pultzer Prize winner.) During class, everyone was commenting on how depressed The Road made them feel with its grey, hopeless milieu. On Goodreads, people kept saying how The Road made them burst into tears and be emo for the rest of the week. And then I was there in the corner feeling heartless. Yet, I still didn’t enjoy it. Not because of the lack of punctuation, I surprising didn’t mind that at all–but because NOTHING happened. I have no idea what the climax of the story is, and maybe for such a story, it doesn’t need one. I mean they saw some corpses and met some people–but it more or less an endless cycle of starving, finding food, then eating the last of it only to starve again (you have to wonder why they don’t carry more food with them, or at least ration what they have.) I found the gore to be a cheap cop-out into eliciting emotion. And the stilted, minmalistic dialogue made me feeling disengaged with the characters (even though I also acknowledge there may be reasons why it done approached this way.)
Rating: C+

Watchmen by Alan Moore (1986)
Edition Read: Paperback
My Thoughts: I enjoyed The Watchmen for its intriguing, and morally complex characters. It was a thought-provoking contrast to the righteous tropes in superhero lore. Even though characters were not “likable,” I still rooted for them. I also appreciate the use of its format (the way each panel is planned is–cinematic.) But I wasn’t intrigued with the plot (though I understand its cultural significance) and the romance which moves WAY TOO fast to be believable. Perhaps it’s because this is my first experience with graphic novels that made The Watchmen a slow read for me (I thought that since it was filled with pictures , that reading would go faster, but the opposite was true.) I am still not a fan of the very muscular and BLOODY art style that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t think I’ll be reading more graphic novels in the near future.
Rating: B+