Wednesday, July 31, 2013

reading notes, entry 10...

I am having a fair bit of trouble concentrating lately. And a fair bit of trouble stringing together words in a sensible manner. Feeling rather, I don't know the right word--flighty? unfocused? Anyway, I just haven't felt like I was up to writing reviews (there's a fair bit of lazy in that feeling as well) of the last few books I've finished. But just to give my future self the briefest of reminders about my reading experiences with these books, I thought I'd just throw them all together here with just a few sentences on each.

*The Other Side of Dawn by John Marsden. Yep, Max and I finished up the series. While it really was time for the series to come to a close, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't saddened by the fact that it's over. I will miss these characters so. damn. much! It's pretty much impossible to say much about this book without slipping into spoiler mode for previous books. I can say that the epilogue broke my heart a bit, but seemed about as realistic as it could be. I know there's a sequel series (The Ellie Chronicles), but I haven't decided whether or not to read them. Have any of you read them? Do they stand up to The Tomorrow series?

*Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. Ummm, wow. This book. Yeah. My heart ached, deeply ached, through nearly every one of its 582 pages. It was a dizzying ride. It was both gritty and beautiful. And I loved it. So very, very much.

*The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Oh goodness. I thought this book was simply gorgeous. Sad, frightening, and oh so gorgeous. Magical. Touch your heart and leave a permanent mark sort of magical.

*Hero by Perry Moore. This book surprised the heck out of me. It's not that I didn't expect to like it--with Ana's and Chris's recommendations, I knew I couldn't go wrong. But I loved this book sooooooo much more than I would have guessed. There are probably literally hundreds of things to love about this book (see Ana's and Chris's reviews for many of them), but I think the one thing that I personally loved most was the reminder that everyone has a story. And everyone has pain, and everyone struggles to get through stuff. And we can't possibly know what a person is going through unless they share it. So whenever possible, be ever kinder, be ever more patient, give the benefit of the doubt.

*Strawberry Panic: The Complete Manga Collection by Sakurako Kimino. By "complete manga collection," they mean it collects the two volumes that were written into one. Unfortunately, there is a final third to the story that was never finished in a manga version. Originally, the overall story was written as a series of short stories, and then became so popular that it was made into English translation mangas and light novels. I don't know why the manga series wasn't finished. Annie encouraged me to read this book, and she did warn me that it wasn't "finished." I honestly didn't think I would become so invested in the story that I'd mind...but I was wrong--I want to know what happens! Luckily, the light novel series was finished and Annie owns it as well. So Annie--why the hell didn't you recommend I read that instead???? :P  A few words about the story: exclusive girls' school, lesbians, sweet yet odd, secrets, pretty art.

*Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt. Chose this to be one of Gray's lit reads for school this upcoming year--didn't know anything about it really, it just came recommended by a friend. It ended up being one of those books that caught me off guard. As in I was reading along, enjoying it okay but not being overly impressed. And then, it just went from being an "okay" book to being an "I love" book in the last quarter of the book. I'm always amazed, and obviously pleasantly surprised, at how some books can do that.

And because I didn't feel like gathering these books back up to take photos, I'll just throw in a gratuitous kitty picture instead:

Soooo Debi...what happened to your themed reading months? Doesn't appear that you managed to stick to July's theme of "finishing previously unfinished books" here.

Doesn't appear that way because I didn't. I just wasn't excited about it, so I took the month off. And I don't feel one little iota of guilt over it either! But for August, I'm back on theme with "nature and the environment" month, and I am very much looking forward to it! So many books in this house to choose from for this category, and I know that I won't be able to read even a small fraction of those I'd like to...but all is well, as I know I shall quite an enjoyable month of reading. :)


Ali said...

Can't go wrong with a gratuitous kitty photo. :-)

I'm proud of you for taking the month off the themed reading--it's a great concept but it was meant to help you focus, not to add guilt. Sounds like you got some awesome reading done. And, hey--any book you haven't read is technically "previously unfinished," right? (Yeah, okay, that's a stretch).

Jean said...

I like my reading list to be more stream of consciousness, going from one to another as the mood strikes. Let's see ... The Ocean at the End of the Lane led into The English Girl by Daniel Silva. Next up will be, I think, Five Years to Freedom, a memoir of time as a POW in the Vietnam War (which is called the America War if you're in Vietnam).

DesLily said...

ohhh I liked Fingersmith too! Read it some time ago but remember really liking it. You read some good books!!

I only read 3 books in July..sheesh. but hey.. whatever lol

Great kitty pic!

Debi said...

LOL--I like your thinking, woman! I just kicked butt with last month's theme, huh? :P

So, did you love The Ocean at the End of the Lane as much as Rich and I did?

Oh my, Fingersmith was just incredible, wasn't it? And hey, three books is three books! I'm actually surprised I got as much read this month as I did--it feels like I've been working on these two other loooong books for forever and that that had to be where all my reading time went, but apparently that's not really true as I did finish a handful of other books. Go me! ;)

Jean said...

Debi, I did like Ocean, but not as much as I like American Gods. That is still my favorite Gaiman.

Debi said...

Yeah, me too. Can't imagine that changing, but then again, never say never, right? :)

Vasilly said...

I'm so glad that you love Homecoming! Does that mean you haven't read Dicey's Song, the first book? It's one of my favorite books of all-time.

Debi said...

No, I haven't read Dicey's Song. Dang, silly me, thought Homecoming came first. Oh well, not the first time I've mistakenly read books out of order, and likely not the last either. :P But I'm soooo glad to hear that you love Dicey's Song so much--I've never really heard much about this series at all.