About the book: http://www.shmoop.com/catcher-in-the-rye/
I would preface this with a warning that if you’re one of those people who always has to have something “happening” in the books you read, who can’t stand the bits inside the character’s head and skip forward to the action bits, you will quickly get frustrated with this book. For that matter, you will most likely get frustrated with every book I review. I’m simply a thinking kind of girl.
That said, I absolutely loved this book. I couldn’t tell you what it’s about, or what happens, and yet it’s probably made my top ten favorite books, which is a pretty exclusive list. I love the non-action. The musings of a sixteen-year-old boy wandering somewhat lost in New York City are absolutely interesting to me, and I devoured them. It’s a short read, but it doesn’t go by as quickly as you’d expect. Salinger gives his readers a lot to think about even with the small amount of words he uses.
It reminded me a lot of The Red Badge of Courage actually, as far as the thinking goes. But whereas The Red Badge of Courage had a plot in the background and seemed to decide to focus on thoughts instead, Catcher in the Rye ignores any semblance of a plot completely. It’s very bold that way, which of course I love. I love a book that goes for something risky and makes it work, and this is one of the best examples I’ve seen thus far.
I was left with a few unanswered questions at the end - it ended very abruptly, without much warning at all. It vaguely mentions some closing elements and then just drops off at a seemingly random sentence. So I did want to know what happened at the end, I suppose, but I wasn’t too angry. A little confused maybe, but angry, no. I can definitely see how this book would become a much-beloved classic.
I loved the colloquialisms in it as well - Holden’s speech is very natural, and often hilarious. I wouldn’t say that Holden himself is a very lovable or relatable character, but since the whole book is spent inside his head, the reader gets to know him very well, and just by virtue of that he becomes more of a sympathetic character. I could talk about this book for hours, I really just adored it. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it after it’s been recommended to me so many times.
I would definitely return that favor as well, and recommend it to anyone so long as they had no problem with a thinking book. This is absolutely one of the greats.
And the next book is going to be similar, I’m assuming: it’s Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.
So the movie was great, and I was interested in reading the book, but the prose is just incredibly boring to me. Maybe I just needed to wait it out, give it a chance, but I didn’t feel like it. I’ve been really excited to read Catcher in the Rye forever, and I just wanted to move on and read that. So I did. Hooray!
Next: J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye.
I couldn’t find a good website for this one that didn’t give away everything about the book, sorry.
For me, just personally, I love thinking books. I’ve always liked those over action books, the kind where something is always happening and we never get to see inside the character’s head. All I’ve ever cared about in books were the characters. They were the ones who kept me coming back to books. If I didn’t care about the characters, I couldn’t keep reading. It’s how it’s always been.
The Things They Carried is one of the best examples of a thinking book I’ve ever seen. It reminds me a lot of The Red Badge of Courage now that I think about it - another one of my favorite books, and also a war story. But The Things They Carried, it’s a post-war story more than anything. Blurring the lines between past and present, between fiction and reality: this is one of the book’s great allures.
Reading it, the whole time, just felt like a dream. I couldn’t think about anything else while I was reading it other than the story, and that’s when I knew this was one of those life-changing books, the ones I’m always looking for. I was invested, I got sucked in, and I was utterly involved with all of it. Empathizing with characters is always a tough thing, not difficult to do but hard to wrap your brain around, but in this one I just understood. I have absolutely nothing in common with any of the characters in the book, and yet I understood.
For those who aren’t afraid to get immersed in a book, this is a fantastic one. It might be one of my favorites, and that’s a tough list to make. I can go on about the honesty of the story, the raw grit, the horror and the sadness and the fear. But you really can’t understand until you read the book. So I would suggest that you do.
Next book: William Styron, Sophie’s Choice.
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Information about the book: http://chuckpalahniuk.net/books/lullaby
So, I’ve read Fight Club by the same author, and decided to give this one a chance. I was really drawn in by the premise, which sounded interesting. And, while they tend to give me nightmares, Chuck Palahniuk’s books are always written so ridiculously well that I end up loving them anyway. I’m not much a person for shock value in books, as I’ve made clear before, but anything by Chuck Palahniuk is definitely an exception to that rule.
The book is honestly disturbing - not for the faint of heart. The rampant killing throughout the book made it hard for me to keep on without feeling very disheartened. Generally Chuck Palahniuk’s books don’t do much for those who would like to keep up the hope that humanity is headed for a good place, and since I’m not entirely one of those people, I can usually be okay reading them. But this one… I don’t know. Something about it really scared me, and I can’t quite explain what it is.
But definitely worth the read. As I said, the writing is gorgeous, and while the story might not be relatable exactly, it definitely makes one think. It’s a tough one, definitely not for the optimistic or the faint of heart. But if you’re willing to sit down and entertain the idea that maybe, just maybe, humanity may not be destined for greatness, reading this book is a very good way to do it.
I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone, for that reason. Like-minded thinkers, who have similar doubts to mine as to where our species is going, would be the best ones for it. The cynics, the skeptics and the pessimists. Or maybe just the deep thinkers. Anyone who cherishes the time they get to sit down and wonder about things. And who isn’t too terribly scared of what those things might hold for them. Those people are the ones who should read this book.
Next one: Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
So, obviously, I’m not going to count this toward my goal of 50 books this year. I only read about 20 pages before giving up. It just didn’t work for me. The book was rather brash and harsh, but seemingly only for some sort of shock value, not to add to the story at all. It just rubbed me the wrong way, so I stopped reading.
But! I have just finished my real fourth book, which is Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk, so I will be posting a review of that one shortly!
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Information about the book: http://www.khaledhosseini.com/hosseini-books-kiterunner.html
I read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author for English class my junior year and enjoyed it, so I figured I’d try this one. And maybe it’s because I was reading this one for pleasure and not for school, but I loved it so much more. Halfway through the book I knew this would be one of those books that changes your life, and I was absolutely right.
It took me a little bit to get through the beginning, but after maybe page 30, I finished it all in one day. The honest, clear writing was refreshing, and the characters were strong. The book is just so very real; it’s easy to fall into Hosseini’s world without even realizing it.
Just for myself personally, I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction. There are some topics that are overused, like the Civil War or whatever, but I love the original ones, that give me insight into something I’ve never learned about in school. The Kite Runner is a perfect example of a great novel with awesome historical context. I really enjoyed that part.
It’s a heartfelt, honest, and heartrending story that I really enjoyed. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone really; I’d go so far as to call it one of my favorites. Definitely a worthwhile read.
Sorry this is a somewhat lamer review: I’m really tired, and school is starting up again soon, so I’m getting a little stressed out as well. I’ll try to keep up with the challenge though, never fear!
Next book: Garth Stein, Raven Stole the Moon.
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I finished this one abnormally quickly because I was so excited about it, so just for future reference, most of my posts will take longer to get here than this one did!
About the book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fault_in_Our_Stars (Sorry, I couldn’t find a legit author website type of blurb about it)
So, I absolutely adored this one. I have to admit that, in the past, I’ve liked John Green the person much better than I’ve liked his books. I’ve enjoyed them, but they’ve been more of a quick and easy, mindless read than anything else. I feel guilty saying that as a devoted nerdfighter, but that’s the honest truth.
However, The Fault in Our Stars completely surprised me. It sucked me in; I couldn’t put it down. The first few chapters were a little iffy - I wasn’t sure where it was going, mostly - but after I got past that, it was an irresistible read. I’m not even sure what it was that got me hooked, but something in the strength of the characters and the heart of the novel charmed me. I really loved this book.
Yes, it is about two kids with cancer, but really, John Green carries it out in a way that doesn’t feel cliche at all. He almost makes fun of himself as he’s writing, which puts a nice spin on things. The characters are honest and real, and John doesn’t shy away from hard truths: the book, to me, shines with authenticity. Maybe that’s part of what drew me in, is that this seemed so believable and real to me.
Without being spoilery, there were some teenage romance bits that I found kind of silly and idealistic. Yes, it is nice to think that sixteen-year-olds can be so in love and such good matches for each other, but… realistically? I don’t know if that’s terribly accurate. The idea of being soul mates and having a perfect relationship at such a young age seems rather naive. But those are my own personal ideas, and someone else could certainly have valid reasons to disagree with me.
What surprised me about the book was its unshakeable sense of humor. I honestly wasn’t expecting to laugh so hard I was crying while reading a book centered around cancer, but I did. On one page I could be laughing hysterically, and then on the next I was brought down hard. It was an incredibly emotional ride, through this book, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I would really really really recommend this, to just about everyone ever. I had some doubts and misgivings about the book from the start, but in the end I was pleasantly surprised. Definitely my favorite John Green book, and it probably makes my list of favorite books, period. Excellent read.
Next book: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. A drastic change of genre from this one, but should be good!
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Finished my first book this morning! The book was Jodi Picoult’s newest, Sing You Home.
For a description of the book, interviews with the author, etc., go here: http://www.jodipicoult.com/sing-you-home.html
Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors, and I was excited to find a copy of her newest book at the library. I knew it centered around gay rights, and I was really looking forward to reading it.
In some ways, the book was difficult for me to read. It’s written switching character voices chapter by chapter, and some of these chapters are narrated by Max, the main character’s ex-husband. He has converted to a church and adopted some very harsh anti-gay ideals, and I struggled reading those without almost wanting to throw the book across the room. This is a viewpoint I have a very hard time understanding.
But I’m glad I was able to push past that and continue reading the book, because it’s a masterpiece. Like she does in the rest of her books, Jodi Picoult weaves together many different narrative voices and create a coherent and profound story. I admire her a lot as a writer, and that still stands after reading her latest work.
Without giving too many spoilers, I thought the ending of the book was a little iffy. One character made a very drastic decision that was never quite explained, and the book ended with me feeling somewhat confused. I had kind of a hard time accepting an action that was so out-of-character without any sort of preamble or explanation.
What I loved about the book was its ability to tell profound truths without too much fanfare; the book is raw in its honesty, something I have always appreciated. I wouldn’t say this is my favorite Jodi Picoult book, and would probably recommend others of hers before recommending this one, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Next book: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.