All right, so now it is time for my very first wrap-up ever on my blog! I read a lot of books in January because I was off of school for half of the month. That said, it also helps that a great deal of the books I read are really short. Without further ado, here are all of the books I read this month!
- Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mendel, 3 stars. This book was really hard for me to rate because, for the most part, I thought it was phenomenal. The prose style was so beautiful to read, the imagery was striking, and since my favorite book in the world (The Stand by Stephen King) is about a plague destroying the world, the plot was fantastic, too. The reason I gave it three stars, without spoiling anything, was that I didn’t like some of the plotlines. The book has a few intertwining plots that I won’t go into detail with here (though I’m debating a spoiling review in the future to explain my thoughts better), and I really disliked one plot but loved the other two. Unfortunately, as much as I overall loved the book, three stars was the best I could ultimately do with this text.
- Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything – Daniel Goldberg, Linus Larsson, and Jennifer Hawkins (translator), 4 stars. I love video games a lot. When I’m not reading or doing schoolwork, I have probably loaded up a game on my computer or Xbox. One of my favorite games to play if I want to hang out with my friends is the blocky landscape of Minecraft, so I was incredibly excited by this book that chronicles the history of the company behind the game, Mojang. If you’re a fan of Minecraft or even just have an interest in the gaming industry, this is a great book to read to get an inside peek.
- Old School – Jeff Kinney, 4 stars. This is the tenth book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and even though I am a good decade (or even more) older than the target audience, I absolutely adore all of these books. I wish these books had been around when I was the target audience intended, because those books would have looked great sitting next to my Junie B. Jones and Horrible Harry books. The series does feel sometimes like it is beginning to get a bit stale and I think this was one of the weaker entries to the series, but they are still just a lot of fun to read.
- The Grim Grotto – Lemony Snicket, 4 stars. Okay, so when I was a child, I read every single one of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. My dad even bought me all of the books in hardcover one day because of how much I adored them. For some reason, though, I never read The Grim Grotto because I absolutely despised that individual book for whatever reason. Well, I decided to fix that this month and officially finish the series. I have to be honest when I say that I couldn’t remember too much about the plot anymore since I hadn’t read a book in the series in approximately a century, but the literary allusions that were there were amazing. Lemony Snicket puts in so many references that a child would never get that me, as both an adult and an English major, laughed at hysterically. I would highly recommend going back and reading one or two of these books as an adult to see how your perspective shifts.
- The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers – Dav Pilkey, 4 stars. Story time: The first Super Diaper Baby book (a spin-off of Captain Underpants) was one of my favorite books when I was really young. In the back of the book I owned as a kid, they advertised this book coming out soon. Well, soon evidently meant a decade later, when I had long since outgrown reading a potty-humor-laden book such as this. Even then, when I discovered this book four years after it had come out and a decade after it was supposed to have come out, I had to read it. I was not disappointed. It’s juvenile, sure, but it is completely adorable in every respect.
- Soundless – Richelle Mead, 1 star. This book is one of the most disappointing books I have ever read. Backstory: Vampire Academy was my favorite book series during the Twilight phenomenon all those years ago, and I also bought one of those signed copies that Barnes & Noble was selling over black Friday. Now, I have a signed copy of a book I hated by an author I will likely never read again. In fact, this book alone made me come to the hard decision that I needed to stop reading as many Young Adult books because they just weren’t resonating me the same way that they used to. The whole world as the protagonist knows it is ending, so clearly the logical thing to do is go fall in love with the hot miner, right? I might do a review of this one eventually because I’m not sure I can adequately explain why this book is so bad without spending some time on it.
- Blue is the Warmest Color – Julie Maroh, 4 stars. Thankfully, after the disaster of Soundless and its horrid attempts at romance, I got to read this beautiful graphic novel about two women falling in love. As they fall in love with each other, they question aspects of their own lives and what it means to be “in love”. This book has all of the emotions you can imagine, as there were times I was smiling and laughing and just about ready to start sobbing. It’s highly recommended.
- Des Imagistes – Ezra Pound, 1 star. We have come to my first (of many) required class reads. This is an anthology collection of modernist poetry, and I have never much cared for the modernist movement in literary history. It feels like writers were bored with the straightforward morality tales written in the nineteenth century so they decided to be as obscure and pretentious as possible just to be different. I can appreciate the movement for what it did to literature as a whole, but I do not actually enjoy reading modernist texts.
- On a Pale Horse – Piers Anthony, 4 stars. I actually checked this book out of the digital library in my hometown by accident because I clicked on the wrong book, but I thought I would give it a try anyways. It was actually a really great take on the lore behind the grim reaper, and it raised some surprisingly deep questions about what it means to be “good” or “bad”. I’m really excited to read the next book in this series about father Time, but I’m a little worried since I’ve heard the author is very hit-or-miss.
- The Pearl – John Steinbeck, 5 stars. Everyone told me when I bought this book that it is widely regarded to be the worst thing Steinbeck ever wrote. I had never read Steinbeck before and the plot interested me, so I decided to read it anyways. If this is the worst thing he ever wrote, then I definitely want to read everything else by him right now because this book was amazing. Since I’m an English major, I try to avoid reading books that feel too “classic” to me during the school year, but I didn’t have this problem with Steinbeck. His prose was so easy to read and I just flew through the book. I want to read more of his books but I haven’t decided which one yet.
Well, that’s it! I know that was a long post, and most months I will not read 10 things. After this wrap-up, I think I will just start doing wrap-ups based on every five or so books that I read so they don’t all feel so long-winded and I feel like I have more room to talk about my thoughts on each book. I also will start putting up more formal reviews so I can talk less about books I’ve previously talked about.
If you have any comments about what you’ve read this month, please leave a comment!