[58/1000] An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight Judge Judy - loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.
I didn’t really like this book. It was ok, but it isn’t my type of book. I found the fact that someone can date 19 people before graduating high school (including ‘dating’ in childhood) unrealistic (let alone all of them being called Katherine) and I couldn’t relate to Colin one bit. I felt that not much happened in the book until the end, and then it was over. I tend to enjoy John Green books but I didn’t really like this one. I won’t read it again.
[57/1000] The Memory Keeper’s Daughter - Kim Edwards
Families have secrets they hide even from themselves…
It should have been an ordinary birth, the start of an ordinary happy family. But the night Dr David Henry delivers his wife’s twins is a night that will haunt five lives for ever.
For though David’s son is a healthy boy, his daughter has Down’s syndrome. And, in a shocking act of betrayal whose consequences only time will reveal, he tells his wife their daughter died while secretly entrusting her care to a nurse.
As grief quietly tears apart David’s family, so a little girl must make her own way in the world as best she can.
This book is apparently very forgettable. I can say this because about two thirds of the way through I realised I’d read this before. Everything was very familiar, but luckily I didn’t remember what happened next.
This book is, however, incredibly sweet. Full of characters you hate, but also lovely characters. It spans a long period of time and you really get to know them and understand their lives.
It really made me think about what it would mean to have Down’s Syndrome in the 1960’s. I know next to nothing about having it in modern times, but I know it was harder back then. I feel like I learnt a lot from this book, but at the same time it felt very unrealistic. I have no way of knowing if that’s due to my ignorance or not.
I enjoyed the book, but that’s it. I’m in no rush to read it again (unless I forget again) and in no rush to read any other books by the author. It was a nice read, but not outstanding.
[56/1000] Insurgent - Veronica Roth
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
I liked this way more than I liked Divergent. I really enjoyed exploring the relationship between Tris and Four, as well as finding out more and getting to explore the different factions.
My only real issue with this was the cliff hanger ending because we still have a while to wait before the third book is released.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Stupid theme not letting me publish asks
Hi! I found this a teensy bit rude because you literally just sent me your essay title but I thought it was interesting so I looked some stuff up. I don’t have a copy of the book.
"We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the constitution says, but everyone made equal … A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind.”
This is Captain Beatty explaining why he feels conformity is a necessity, and therefore why he enforces it. (This part is in The Hearth and the Salamander.) However, Beatty is educated, his gun is loaded, so it’s not that he believes that everyone should be like him, but that he should be above other people. Other people should conform to give him power. Through his position of authority Beattie has access to books, making him a hypocrite.
I’d also look at fear (big, big pressure), media (especially the way that people are constantly presented with violent images to make then not care about violence irl) and the fact that the more people that conform, the more other people become willing to conform.
Feel free to sent me more questions if you want to discuss the book (or any book) on or off anon.
Good luck with your work!
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
I actually really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t very long, and I read through it in a couple of seconds. It was when I started to realise that this book was written around 50 years ago, yet paints a world similar to our own that I really started to enjoy it / I got a little scared.
The book made me feel a little uncomfortable, but in a good way.
Hi! I’ve recently gained some new followers and I just wanted to greet you all, and say hi to old followers I may not have ever greeted. This is just a little blog where i write about books I’ve read and it’s so awesome that you all follow it! If any of you want to tell me your favourite books and give me suggestions / recommendations or just talk to me about books (or other stuff) then that would be great. My ask box is always open :)
Text posts don’t work with this theme so I’m using this picture of my desk. It’s odd because if I close my laptop then that’s what I can see.
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
Under the streets of London there’s a world most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, and pale girls in black velvet. Richard Mayhew is a young businessman who is about to find out more than he bargained for about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his safe and predictable life and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and yet utterly bizarre. There’s a girl named Door, an Angel called Islington, an Earl who holds Court on the carriage of a Tube train, a Beast in a labyrinth, and dangers and delights beyond imagining… And Richard, who only wants to go home, is to find a strange destiny waiting for him below the streets of his native city.
I love London. I really do, it’s my favourite place in the world. And this book is so charmingly London that it was a joy to read. It took me a little while to get into it, but when it took off I couldn’t let go.
Richard starts out so terribly passive, but develops so much throughout the novel that you change from being completely frustrated at him to backing him completely. I love it when characters change, and Richard’s transformation is wonderful.
My favourite scene was The Ordeal. That was the moment where I realised that I really, really like this book.
This is a totally believable fantasy.
If you like fantasy books / London, then you should read it.
The Light Princess - George MacDonald
This is a fairy story. It is the tale of a King and a Queen who have a daughter, but at her christening a guest that they forgot to invite shows up and puts a curse on the princess. The curse makes her light.
Gravity has no effect on the princess, but she is also light headed, light minded, and light haired.
As happens in so many fairy tales, a prince shows up. But can a princess that cannot fall, fall in love?
This is a delightful, charming tale. It is very short, but just really lovely. I read it because I’m going to see the musical in October, and wanted to read the book first. It doesn’t take long to read, but I anticipate that I will read it again and again because it’s beautiful.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
In a vase in a closet, a couple of years after his father died in 9/11, nine-year-old Oskar discovers a key …
The key belonged to his father, he’s sure of that. But which of New York’s 162 million locks does it open?
So begins a quest that takes Oskar - inventor, letter-writer and amateur detective - across New York’s five boroughs and into the jumbled lives of friends, relatives and complete strangers. He gets heavy boots, he gives himself little bruises and he inches ever nearer to the heart of a family mystery that stretches back fifty years. But will it take him any closer to, or even further from, his lost father?
The narrative of this book is split into two. Half the story is about Oskar, searching New York to find out about his father, and the other half is about his grandparents, about their experiences of the Dresden bombings but also their lives up until the present day.
I found the Oskar half of the story very intriguing and interesting, although unrealistic, Oskar didn’t act or talk like a nine year old boy, and I felt the fact that he was allowed to wander around New York City on his own a bit implausible.
However, I did really love the Oskar parts of the story. I especially loved his anger, he states that his dad ‘died the worst death you could possibly imagine’, and I just found him wonderfully unforgiving, which shows how much of his childlike innocence he’s lost, although he is a very naive character at times.
His grandparents story, because it is told through letters, seemed very interrupted and never seemed to give the whole story, which meant that it was infuriating to read.
I did, however, love the use of graphics in this story. There are seemingly random pictures scattered throughout the books that you can connect to the story, as well as other visual devices, such as a letter with certain words circled in red pen.
I was actually reading this book as I was on a trip for a family funeral; I would not recommend reading this book when there is anything sad going on in your life, as this enhanced the sadness. I found the book very sad, my housemate was less moved by it.
I would recommend this book, but with a warning that it is quite a frustrating read in places.
The Accidental - Ali Smith
Arresting and wonderful, The Accidental pans in on the Norfolk holiday home of the Smart family one hot summer. There a beguiling stranger called Amber appears at the door bearing all sorts of unexpected gifts, trampling over family boundaries and sending each of the Smarts scurrying from the dark into the light.
I was reading this book and I kept oscillating between loving it and really disliking it. There are some lovely bits. All of Astrid’s chapters are very well written and I love her as a character. Magnus I’m not as sold on.
With one character being an author and another a professor of English lit, you can expect there to be quite a focus on words, and there is. Around the middle of the book the narrative slips from prose into poetry, and it’s wonderful. Those are definitely my favourite chapters, starting with sonnets and then moving on to other poetic styles.
My other favourite chapter was full of references to popular culture and was lovely. I just really enjoyed reading it, so much that when it finished I didn’t move on, just went back and read again, and then folded down the pages so I could read it again.
So this novel has a few wonderful parts, but some of the chapters aren’t as interesting. It’s different to books I’ve read before, and I’m still processing it in my head, but it’s still going round and round in there.
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
In one of the most acclaimed and strange novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewered version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now 31, Never Let Me Go hauntingly dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School, and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.
Oooh this book. I love dystopian novels and this didn’t disappoint. The blurb doesn’t really tell you what it’s about, and I didn’t know what it was about before I read it, which is good. The book slowly reveals what’s going on, in a way that makes you want to keep reading until you’ve devoured the story. It leaves you feeling slightly uncomfortable and sticks in your head.
Oh it was great, do read.
Divergent - Veronica Roth
She turns to face the future in a world that’s falling apart.
For sixteen-year-old Tris, the world changes in a heartbeat when she is forced to make a terrible choice. Turning her back on her family, Tris ventures out, alone, determined to find out where she truly belongs.
Shocked by the brutality of her new life, Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her. The hardest choices may yet lie ahead….
I wanted to read this book before the movie came out because I knew tumblr would be full of spoilers. I also love dystopian future novels, so I had high hopes.
I wasn’t disappointed.
This book is about a world where society is sorted by trait, whether that be selflessness, bravery, thirst for knowledge, honesty or peacekeeping. At sixteen years old every boy and girl must choose the trait they value the most, and join that faction. And they must put their faction above their family.
I raced through this book, I really enjoyed it, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next one.
The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan
I was to stand trial for my life. I was twenty-two years old. I had been married for ten weeks and a widow for six.
It is 1914 and Europe is on the brink of war. When a magnificent ocean liner suffers a mysterious explosion en route to New York City, Henry Winter manages to secure a place in a lifeboat for his new wife Grace. But the survivors quickly realize the boat is over capacity and could sink at any moment. For any to live, some must die.
Over the course of three perilous weeks, the passengers on the lifeboat plot, scheme, gossip and console one another while sitting inches apart. Their deepest beliefs are tested to the limit as they begin to discover what they will do in order to survive.
I should probably stop reading books about people trapped in lifeboats because they give me bad dreams. And they’re infuriating. This is similar to Life of Pi in that the protagonist tells their story of weeks trapped in a lifeboat, and in both books you know from the start that they will survive. In both books you are willing the boat to just find land, it get’s to the point where you almost can’t cope but you do, because they do. In both books you can feel the desperation.
However, the books differ because in The Lifeboat there are 39 people trapped in the boat, and in Life of Pi there is only one (and handful of zoo animals). This, to me, made The Lifeboat slightly more bearable, and slightly more unbearable.
It was more bearable because I love dialogue and human interaction in novels, and in a lifeboat with only one person in the middle of an ocean, you’re not going to get much of that. But in The Lifeboat there was loads. But characters weren’t acting logically, they were being infuriatingly human, and I wanted to shake many of them to their senses to help them survive.
It was a fantastic book in that you felt that you were in the lifeboat with the characters, and that you yourself was struggling to survive, but this made it an uncomfortable read.
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nick Carraway takes us back to a time when booze was illegal, a quick buck was easily made and being wealthy gives you the right to be careless.
Who is this Jay Gatsby? Everyone seems to have a story about him. How did he get all of his riches? Many think Gatsby gets his money by illegal means, but turn the other cheek because he throws a mean party every weekend.
However the real Jay Gatsby has another story. He is longing for something that he once had. Nick can help in his pursuit of happiness.
Can Gatsby turn back the clock and live in the past, or must he look to the future?
Two married women, a polo player, professional golfer, a gangster and a garage mechanic play out this story while the eyes of God watch every move they make.
I really wanted to read Gatsby before the film came out because I didn’t want the book to be spoilt, but I was too late. I don’t know if it’s because I knew how the story was going to end but I was a bit disappointed. I probably also had high hopes because it’s a classic, so I expected it to be really great. It was a good story but I didn’t love it.
My main feelings on it were that I wanted to go to a lot of fancy parties, so that’s that.
Probably won’t read again, but I’m glad I’ve read it.