Actually, I finished five over the weekend! Okay, not as impressive as it sounds, as three of those already had good dents in them and none of them were all that long. But still, for me, that's pretty darn exciting. My productivity levels have been down soooo much the last few months, reading included. A whole big mix of physical, emotional, psychological reasons. I only finished seven books in April and May combined--and more than half of those were for school. :/ But it was because of the reasons behind the lagging productivity levels that I decided that I just needed a break from life. I know I'm not alone in being bad about doing this--giving oneself a day off now and then. And it had really caught up with me. So I wrangled Rich and Annie into lazily, unofficially participating in Mother Reader's 48 Hour Book Challenge. Yeah, not a lot of arm twisting was needed. ;) The three of us were quite sad that Ana couldn't join us and quite happy that Chris could. Anyway, there was no effort made on my part to give up sleep, I still cooked and washed dishes and did some laundry, and there were, of course, the boys to provide regular interruptions (including one major, not-so-pleasant one)...but otherwise, I just allowed myself to read. And I must say that it was heavenly.
Good heavens, I can ramble, huh?
To the books...
First up, I finished Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. But I'll be chatting about that one later (with four of my favorite people in the world).
Then there was Shivers, Wishes, and Wolves, which is a collection of five fairy tales told in comics form. I was actually a tad disappointed in this book, but this cannot be blamed on the book. No, this was just one of those instances where I expected something different. I had it in my head that these were going to be fractured fairy tales, and I was just really excited about that. Why I assumed this, I've no idea. Instead, these stories are really just fairy tale tellings--Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Red Riding Hood, and Rumpelstiltskin--and obviously, there's nothing wrong with this, like I said, I just expected something different. What I loved, loved, loved about this book was the art!!! A different artist for each story, and every one of them awesome! Unfortunately, I couldn't find any inside images to share, but I think you can get the idea from the cover.
And then there was By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters. What a powerful book. I have to admit that I had a hard time reading it...not because it wasn't good (it was incredible!), but because it just ripped me apart. Julie Anne Peters has a way of telling stories that really effing matter. And she tells them with such brutal honesty. Bullying plays a big part in this book, and let me tell you, she made it real. This is not some play-on-your-emotions kind of book. It's just from-the-gut honest.
Next up was Priceless: The Vanishing Beauty of a Fragile Planet written by Bradley Trevor Greive. I'm not sure quite how to describe this book--at it's core it's really a book of some of the most amazing wildlife photography I've ever seen. All images by Misuaki Iwago. But weaved through the images is almost a plea, a plea to wake up and see what it is we're destroying. It's not only beautiful to look at, it's beautiful to read. His message isn't didactic, he doesn't try to beat the reader upside the head. Yes, it's in ways very sad, but his ultimate message is one of hope, not despair.
And last, but oh-so-not-least, was Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman. I wish I could do this book justice. Oh, how I wish that. It's not that I'm surprised that it was wonderful--after reading Ana's review, I knew it would be. And yet, I was still caught off guard by just how truly special this book was. I couldn't help but be reminded of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness--yes, there's some similarity in subject matter, but it goes beyond that. And if you know me at all, you know how enormous a compliment that is! I couldn't really put it into words when I emailed Ana, but she knew just what I meant. And I hope she doesn't mind me quoting her, but she always finds a way to put my mish-mashed thoughts into coherent sentences--
"I can totally see why it made you think of A Monster Calls, btw... yes, in many ways they're very different, but they do share the same kind of absolute emotional honestly. I wish more writers treated children with such respect."