A Slew of Book Reviews

21 Aug

Let’s see, I last left off with Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story back in early July. I’ve since read seven other books and am onto another. Here’s what I’ve been reading:
Stephen King – Misery
Goodreads stars: four

This is a horrifying read! King is a master of creating terrifying scenarious and bringing them to life within the pages. This novel is about an author who crashes his car and is taken in by none other than his most adoring fan. She is so obsessed with him and his Misery novels that she keeps him captive, forces him to become dependent on pain killers and makes him write another novel so that her favorite character does not die. It is so easy to get inside Paul Sheldon’s head as he’s being tortured and torn apart, mentally and physically. A great read if you’re in for a thriller.

Kurt Vonnegut – Breakfast of Champions
Goodreads stars: three

I wasn’t as impressed with this book as apparently everyone else is. A good friend said she laughed through the whole thing. Either I was having a rough week or I just didn’t see the appeal. I think it was mostly grade school humor with some wit thrown in. I was amused by some of it. There were parts I enjoyed, but overall it felt smashed together and unamusing. If this had been my first Vonnegut book, I probably wouldn’t read another (thankfully it was not).

Jaycee Dugard – A Stolen Life
Goodreads stars: four

It’s difficult to put a rating and a review online of a book like this. Under the circumstances, I think Jaycee Dugard came out a lot better and a lot more normal than most of us expected her to. I was working at a bookstore when this piece first debuted so I was very interested in reading it but had not gotten the chance until recently. The fact that everything in the book as true, as her memory serves her, is gut-wrenching. If you have any humanity and you’re not a cold dead fish, this book will move you.

Ira Levin – This Perfect Day
Goodreads stars: four

I’m doling out a lot of fours aren’t I?
I would say this book is one of my favorites that I’ve read recently, though. I’m not sure why I didn’t give it a five, but it might need a reassessing. This 1970 novel was ahead of its time, for sure. The characters, or members, go through life getting injections to make them calm, passive, agreeable human beings. They have sex once a week, on Saturdays. They eat the same cakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are all the same, seemingly. But a group of activists knows that there’s a way out and a better way of living. This book had me gripped from the start. I could not put it down and loved every second of it.

Haven Kimmel – A Girl Named Zippy
Goodreads stars: three

Another autobiography. Very amusing, for the most part, but lacking something cohesive. The reason Kimmel wrote this book was to prove to her family that someone could write a book about the small town that she grew up in, and that people would be interested in it. It was written about her childhood, mostly, in Mooreland, Indiana. It is well written and you can feel the wit and sarcasm often dripping from her voice. She describes how she was the awkward, gangly and not very attractive youngest sibling. Her relationship with her father was one of the best parts of the book. This book was lacking anything to hold it together though… something overarching. I felt it was lacking any kind of main point, but it was a fun read.

Lauren Willig – The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
Goodreads stars: four

This was another really fun read. It’s full of spies, ladies, fashion and Napolean Bonaparte! I realized halfway through the book that this is just the first in a long series. The main character is a young woman who left Paris at a young age and lives her childhood out training to become part of the league of the Scarlet Pimpernel. When she gets to Paris she unknowingly falls in love with the exact man she wants to go into league with to save the British that are imprisoned in Paris. What ensues is a tale of a lady being daftly confused as we, the reader, know everything that’s going on.

Nicole Krauss – The History of Love
Goodreads stars: four

This novel is not as drippingly sappy as its namesake might lead you to believe. It contains many points of view that converge at the end, including that of a child nicknamed Bird, his sister Alma and an elderly Polish man named Leo Gursky, who wrote the novel, The History of Love, that Alma was named after. It is a moving story about literature, love and the effect that words can have on people.
To be honest though, I was not as impressed by it as I was led to believe I would be. It was a really great novel but at the end, when I put the finished book down, I felt like I was missing something important. I think if I read it again I would get more out of it, but for now I’ll take it as it is.

Along with these seven, I also re-read Tina Fey’s Bossypants for my book club. She is hilarious. And witty. And intelligent. And beautiful. I can go on. I am in love with Fey and also want to be her. She’s awkward and sometimes says weird things and I feel we have a kinship in that.

I’m also currently reading Stephen King’s It. So far… It‘s terrifying. I was 30 pages in and already shaking in my booties! I have a feeling that I won’t finish this one in a week like the rest.

This also puts me at 26 books towards my 50-book goal by the end of the year. I know I can do it!

What have you been reading?

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3 Responses to “A Slew of Book Reviews”

  1. Stephanie August 21, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    glad you liked Misery!! 🙂

  2. OneWeekToCrazy August 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Thanks for the reviews! I’ve always wanted to read a King novel, but never knew where to start!

    Cheers,
    Courtney Hosny

    • paigetopus August 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

      I would recommend starting with something shorter, like Carrie or The Shining! Those are my two favorites 🙂

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