bookgazing: (i heart books)
bookgazing ([personal profile] bookgazing) wrote2013-11-10 23:14

Some Books I Was Hoping to Have Time to Write About in Depth...

Maybe that time will present itself but with each week it looks less likely and my desire to write long posts is completely out of the window at the moment. I made the mistake of signing up for something (that I really want to do and have started the post for now, so hurray) with a deadline. Deadline's force my stupid brain into procrastination mode. It's all that insecure time at uni I suppose - sure I'd fail everything and putting off writing those failing essays as long as possible. Also, there are lots of deadlines at work and having to hit those just makes me get into that terrible plan of 'supposed to do a thing - don't want to' when presented deadlines in my spare time. I am sure many of us are intimately familiar with that concept and I try not to feel too badly about it.

So, I'll just run through a quick catch up for anyone more interesting in what I've been reading than my new found obsession with the largely British cast "Dracula" (spoilers, I've been re-reading "Dracula" and there is no escape from this new/old interest of mine - vampires 4eva).

"How I live Now" by Meg Wollitzer - Liked it a lot up until the end when I felt the book was reaching for a suitably dramatic ending rather than a real conclusion. The idea of a fictitious war sprung on unsuspecting characters is fast becoming a favourite of mine (see also the film of "When the War Began"). And I really liked how the book presented heroines you'd never expect (a very young girl and her anorexic cousin). I also massively enjoyed Daisy's voice and thought the device of having her sometimes lapse into speaking in capitals really set her out as a particular person and a particular kind of teenager.

"Ha'penny" by Jo Walton - More Jack and Carmichael! Sadly also more oppression. And the big historical question of our age 'Would you kill Hitler if you had the chance?' is laid out once again, and disastrously played out. I want to see what Carmichael will do when he becomes head of his special force. Can he change things from the inside (as so many people think when they get into compromised power) or will it all fall to dust in his hands? I'm hoping for the first one, but I'm not sure this trilogy feels like it's setting up and optimistic ending. I really enjoyed this follow on from "Farthing" which you might remember I was quite enthusiastic about. However, I can't quite tell whether Walton's mysteries are deliberately poorly constructed to reflect some kind of realism about crime or if they just don't hang together very well. And I was pretty upset about one of the deaths at the end.

"Wintergirls" by Laurie Halse Anderson - This book is great and everyone should read it (twice). I find Halse Anderson's book hard to slow down in, because her stories drive you on to find out the resolutions to the drama. I wanted to know how the story would end so I skimmed the last few chapters before reading them thoroughly. But this book deserves a second read through because there are so many fantastic images in here and the writing is so skillful (that's why I skipped through so lightly I think, because the prose got out of my way).

"The Girls of No Return" by Erin Saladin - Which I read as a follow up to "Wintergirls" and "How I Live Now" because teen girls in trouble seemed to be very much on my mind. This book is about a reformatory school that uses nature and therapy to try and help girls who've committed terrible wrongs. It's a really slow build book, and is full of descriptions of lush nature which do call for you to read a little slower. It's also a fabulous study of the ways these teenage girls build community through small cruelties and small bonds. Also there is a really messed up female predator in this book who shows off fascinating hints and would be even more interesting if the reader were allowed to know her at least a little. The heroine, Lida falls in love with her which brings about a whole heap of trouble as her love is used to manipulate her. I thought in some ways it felt very similar in tone and theme to "Twenty Miles" by Cara Hedley. But then oh the ending was such a let down. The book dive-bombed out of subtle territory and went for a massive drama finale which I just hated. I really want a quiet spin-off book all about Boone and Lida living their separate lives after the final incident.

"White is for Witching" by Helen Oyeyemi - Absolutely fantastic. Such interesting writing and use of points of view and Miranda is so scary and wonderful at the same time. The element of doubt device wasn't used to especially great effect, in fact I'm not sure what the point of including suspicious passages about Miranda's twin was... I mean we can all quite clearly see the house is her downfall. Are we supposed to think the house might be working through her brother perhaps? No idea. Otherwise so great - recommended with great praise.

And now I'm reading "Fly By Night" by Frances Hardinge which I am constantly forgetting the title of but which is just the absolute best. It's so much fun and has a really complex plot. I look forward to talking more about it when I've finished - hopefully.
myfriendamy: (Default)

[personal profile] myfriendamy 2013-11-12 15:36 (UTC)(link)
vampires 4eva


I haven't read any of these books, but I approve of this post over no post.

(Anonymous) 2013-11-13 20:11 (UTC)(link)
I read How I Live Now years ago and I really need to reread it as I barely remember anything about it (Plus, there's a movie coming).

Other books seem wonderful reads. Actually, I think I might have read White is for Witching, but I couldn't quite make sense of the twin thing in there. Might have to try again.

- Iris

[identity profile] 2013-11-14 02:03 (UTC)(link)
Wait, isn't that How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff? Eleanor and I love that book.