It seems that much of this year that I haven't dedicated to reading brand-spanking new books, I've been reading all the books that it seems like nary a soul has failed to read except for me. What with how I am among the last few people on the earth to enjoy these three selections, I figured a few reviewlettes are in order, if only so I can remember the books I'm reading. Frankly, it's surprised me how quickly being a barely there blogger has plunged me into complete inability keep the books that I'm reading in my head for more than a few minutes. I'm all like, "Wait, what did I just read last month?" Whoa, that's bad news. So anyway, without further digression, reviewlettes of some books you probably have already read!
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green - I know, right? Not only had I not gotten around to reading this until this summer, this is also the first book I've read by John Green. Oh, the multitude of reading sins being atoned for with just this one book! Anyhow, if you've been living in a nuclear fallout bunker or something for the last year, I should probably mention that this is the book about the teenagers with the cancer, and I loved it as much as all the people who love it loved it. Green's terminal teens, Hazel and Gus, are almost unrealistically precocious in a way that I just ate up. The Fault In Our Stars is full of lovable characters, romance, intelligent unpreachy contemplations of mortality, an exploration of how there is plenty of truth to be gleaned from fiction, and also, sadness. Of course, sadness. I had to practically speed read the last third of the book on a Monday night so that I wouldn't be caught weeping at my cafeteria table at work on Tuesday afternoon. Rather, I wept embarrassingly much from the safety of my own home. I laughed, I cried, I loved it. I've already recommended it to a few real life friends who are also behind the times, and I recommend it also to you, last person on the earth to read The Fault In Our Stars!
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - Last but not least, a book which has an intended audience of...adults! I grabbed a copy of this at BEA the last time I was there, and I was sure I would love it. Then all the bloggers started saying fantastic things about it, and I was doubly sure I would love it. After all, I'm sad to report that despite pretty much every review I've read of this book being unrelentingly positive, I was disappointed. The problem here, and the reason I've waited so long to say anything about The Snow Child is that I can't quite pinpoint why I was disappointed. Okay, if you're returning from a lengthy undersea holiday, this book is about an older couple who decide to try their hand homesteading in the wilds of Alaska. Mabel is unable to have a child and is crushed by the loneliness of long winters in the wilderness. Jack is crumbling under the crushing demands of carving a farm out of a very challenging landscape. On the night of the first snow, the two find unexpected joy in building a child out of snow. The next day the snow child is missing, but a real child has appeared in her place.
Honestly, I'd like a do-over on this one. I read it over Christmas-time when things were hectic and I was busy trying to save kittens from dying and a lot of stuff was going on, and I couldn't give myself to this book like I might normally. It's got all good ingredients - excellent characters, incredible descriptions of the dangerously beautiful Alaska wilderness, the sort of magical realism I'd normally just go bananas for, but it somehow it didn't all quite come together for me. Faina, the snow child, always seemed more magical than real to me, and her not being quite "real enough" in my mind made it difficult for me to get emotionally involved with the latter half of the book. I'd still happily recommend it, especially to readers who like a good dose of magical realism, but I can't say I loved it, at least, not upon my first (admittedly flawed) read.
And that's three books off my teetering pile, not to mention my overburdened shelves!
(Oh, and by way of disclaimer, The Snow Child is the only one of these three provided by a publisher.)
Surely, you've read at least one if not all of these, what did you think? Or perhaps you'd like to reassure me that I was not the last person in the world to, say, read a book by John Green? ;-)