Monday, December 21, 2015

Book Report #8

Books 36-40!

You're Never Weird on the Internet - Felicia Day: I'm a big fan of Felicia Day so I had to get her book as soon as it was released and I was not disappointed. Felicia is a gamer, an actress, a writer, a happy geek, and a really smart woman. Her book discusses her homeschooling upbringing, her anxiety and awkwardness, and how she unknowingly ended up being one of the main role players (gaming reference, yay me!) in shaping the internet video craze. I loved her book! If you don't know who Felicia Day is I still recommend this book to you as it is super fun and might open your eyes to a different world than the one you live in, one filled with geeks and gamers fun people.

Life After Life - Kate Atkinson: I really liked this book. Ursala is born in 1910 and dies, Ursala is born in 1910 and lives. It is many stories in one, with each story following Ursala's life down a different path, the majority of them hard and depressing. She experiences two world wars, the spanish influenza, and numerous personal hardships. Atkinson's writing is excellent and really drew me in to the story. Even though each story is a reliving of Ursala's life it was not repetitive. A significant part of the book is Ursala's experiences during the Blitz. She lived through this experience in many of her lives in subtly different ways and Atkinson made them all unique, providing a very good historical look at that period in time. The only reason I can't say I loved this book is that I didn't understand the ending, but then again, I don't think Ursala gets an ending, so maybe the book shouldn't either. Highly recommended!

All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven: I finished this book and thought I didn’t like it that much, but it was okay. Waking up the following morning and thinking about the book, I had a very strong negative reaction. I’ve liked some of the young adult books with quirky teenagers who speak like they have worldly experience well beyond their years (eg. Wonder, The Fault in our Stars), but not this book. I felt this book glorified and romanticized depression and suicide; it turned mental illness into a cute quirk. The main characters were contrived (I pictured them as a 2015 version of the 90210 characters), the supporting characters were vague (the adults were idiotic), and the overall story had no point. I think the author was trying to write a meaningful book about mental illness, based on the authors note at the end of the book, but I think she failed. I hope this book is not made into a movie.

Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng: I didn't really get into this book. It was well written, but quite depressing and I couldn't connect to any of the characters. The book is about a mixed-race family living in Ohio in the 1970's. Both parents impose the dreams they were unable to attain on their teenage daughter. It's an interesting look at the state of racism in that time period and the experiences of bi-racial children, but I felt like it wasn't complete. The book just ends and left me unsettled that I missed something.

The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion: Right before Christmas Joan Didion's daughter falls ill and is put into an induced coma with life support, the night before New Years Eve Joan's husband of 40 years has a massive and fatal heart attack at dinner. This book is a fascinating look at one woman's experience with tragedy in her family and her way of grieving and coping in the aftermath. As you can imagine, the book is filled with cynicism, insights, emotion, beauty, and tragedy. Extremely well written and though provoking, I highly recommend it.

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