Saturday, October 10, 2015

September mini reviews

I read nine books in September, which is pretty good! I was helped a lot by Bex's re-readathon and a nice run of high-interest library books which kept me reading. My MA starts this month so I'm expecting life to get crazy again, but here's some mini-reviews of things I read in September!


Four of my nine books were re-reads- the first two Harry Potter books, as I reread the series pretty much every year, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which I only read a couple of years ago and is still wonderful, and Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, which I read when I was fourteen-ish and was desperately overdue for a reread. So that was great fun, and hopefully there'll be another re-readathon before long! 

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood

I'm working my way through Margaret Atwood's books, and while I didn't like this one quite as much as Oryx and Crake or The Handmaid's Tale, it was still a great read. As I wrote in my post back when I was still at the start of it the plot is really hard to describe- a woman's sister dies and the story is a remembrance of their upbringing during the Depression and her unhappy marriage, interspersed with newspaper articles and extracts from the sister's famous novel- which is itself a story within a story. Wonderfully unique and interesting.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I still maintain that this book is really badly named, since Bernadette doesn't even disappear until two-thirds of the way through the novel, but there you go. It's a satire on the hipster-yuppie life of a family and a community in Seattle, where the characters are concerned about the appearance of each other's backyards and who participates more in the PTA. It's weirdly interesting. It's also told in a mixture of emails and Bernadette's teenage daughter's point of view, and there's parts of it set in Antarctica. Definitely an interesting one.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

So this is one of those books that I kept hearing about, and even though it sounded a bit rom-com-ish for me I eventually had to check it out. I actually really liked it! In case you've somehow managed to avoid hearing about it, it's about Don, a very socially awkward/ambiguously disordered geneticist who tries to find a partner by way of a detailed compatibility survey. Of course, as you can probably expect the Rosie of the title shows up and predictably fails the survey in every way. But it managed to avoid being too formulaic due to the subject matter and it made me laugh, so, pretty great actually.

My Real Children by Jo Walton

Ohhhh, this book. So, if you've spent any time on my blog at all, you'll know that I love Jo Walton's Among Others more than life itself, but I hadn't read any of her other books. I picked this up from my local library and it probably wouldn't even have interested me if it was by another author, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I loved it so hard. It's about Patricia, an elderly woman suffering from dementia who remembers two different lives, branching off from a proposal in her early twenties- in one, she says yes and is Trish, housewife, and in the other she says no and is Pat, who goes to Italy with a friend and becomes a travel writer. And at first you think Pat's life is clearly the better of the two- Trish's marriage is definitely not a happy one- but both of their lives are so full of good things and tragedy and just, life things basically. Pat and Trish also live in subtly different alternate universes- like, in one JFK is never assassinated and the Cold War is a much bigger deal, in the other JFK is assassinated by a bomb. Little things like that were really interesting. And, yeah, this whole book was just life-affirming and made me cry so much. Highly, highly recommended. I have a couple of Jo Walton's other books lying around that are now going to have so much to live up to, whoops.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Honestly, this was a little underwhelming. I love John Green and this was the last of his books that I hadn't read, and I think I get now why no-one talks about this one as much as Looking for Alaska or The Fault in our Stars, say. So, Colin is an ex-child prodigy who has been dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl called Katherine, so he hits the road with his best friend and ends up in a tiny town in Tennessee, where he works on a mathematical theorem for break-ups. I liked this book- some of it was quite funny and I liked seeing Colin being called out on his bullshit in the end (seriously, Colin is the worst) but there was nothing very special or memorable about this book, to me anyway. And all the maths just made my eyes glaze over. Tut tut John Green, I expected better ;)

At the moment, I'm reading The Monk by M.G. Lewis for the readalong, The Martian by Andy Weir (which I've had for ages but have finally started since I want to see the movie but I want to read the book first!) and The Pale King by David Foster Wallace. I'm expecting my life to get basically swallowed up next week when my MA starts, but hopefully I'll still have a bit of time for reading!

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