You – Caroline Kepnes

Title: Youyou
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 422
Category: 33. Read a book in the thriller or suspense genre
Format: Paper

Date Started: May 16th 2017
Date Finished: May 29th 2017

This book is like some weird combination of Gone Girl and 500 Days of Summer. As soon as you read the blurb it’s clear that the book is not going to have a happy ending for one or all of the characters.

The book is written by the male narrator who meets the object of his affection Beck while he’s at work. She starts flirting with him and she likes books like he does and it all snowballs from there. It’s part romance part stalker fiction. It’s clear early on that Joe tends to take things just a little bit far reading Beck’s email and checking out her house but it only gets weirder from there.

It’s masterful in it’s combination of genres and I’m torn between wanting to read the next book or to enjoy this as a standalone.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Aftermath: Star Wars #1 – Chuck Wendig

Title: Aftermath: Star Wars #1star_wars_aftermath_cover
Author: Chuck Wendig
Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure
Pages: 379
Category: 8. Read a book in the science fiction genre
Format: Paper

Date Started: April 30th 2017
Date Finished: May 16th 2017

I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I was a kid. I remember my parents sitting me down to watch the original trilogy when The Phantom Menace was coming out and I fell in love. This is the first time I’ve tried reading a book though. It was a great first book to read though, Chuck Wendig is a great author and this is no exception.

The book is a little confusing to begin with with so many threads to keep track of from a rebel pilot looking for her son to a strange man in a bar, an imperial star commander, and a rebel pilot on a mission, but once you grasp all the threads it’s very cleverly written, especially with the short little interludes sprinkled throughout the book which show what life is like for the regular people.

I’ll definitely be picking up the next book to read so you can expect another post on this series soon.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Girl on the Train (2016)

Title: The Girl on the Traingirl_on_the_train_ver3_xlg
Year: 2016
Director: Erin Cressida Wilson
Genre: Drama/Mystery
Date Watched: May 6, 2017
Category: #14 A drama

I was a little bit apprehensive when I heard that Emily Blunt had been cast as the main character in this movie, not because I don’t love her as an actress but more that I imagined her as being slightly older (until I was reminded that Emily Blunt is no longer a 20 something). As it turns out Emily Blunt was the perfect choice, but not just that so was Haley Bennett as the girl who went missing and Laura Prepon as the roommate.

If you’ve read the book then you’ll notice that the movie does stick to to the plot of the book quite well. Right down to the surprise ending.

Honestly, this book and the movie were slightly uncomfortable to read and watch for me because there is not a single likable character in the whole thing for most of the movie, maybe because I spent the whole thing hating each character for a different reason from the ex-husband who didn’t help his wife with a tough time to the missing girl who seemed to hate the baby she was sitting for and was sleeping with someone who wasn’t her husband. At the same time is really is a great movie (and a great book).

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Title: Confessions of a Sociopath22041297-_uy200_
Author: M. E. Thomas
Genre: Autobiography
Pages: 163
Category: 11. Read a nonfiction book
Format: Paper

Date Started: April 15th 2017
Date Finished: May 4th 2017

It took me such a long time to get through this book, I just could not muster enthusiasm for it. It wasn’t particularly engaging and I suppose part of that is because I’m not the target audience. I am not a sociopath, the only reason I picked up the book at all is that I’m interested in psychology and thought it might be interesting.

The anecdotes included are actually quite interesting so I won’t spoil them here, and the writing was decent enough it just wasn’t the book for me.

There’s really not much to say about the book beyond that except that it is mostly an autobiography including a little insight into the sociopath’s mind as well as a few entertaining anecdotes about life growing up.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Love and Misadventure – Lang Leav + The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath

Title: Love & Misadventure61mwald8azl
Author: Lang Leav
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 168
Category: 47. Read a collection of poetry
Format: Paper

Date Started: April 28th 2017
Date Finished: April 28th 2017

A two for the price of one today. First up we have a beautiful little collection of poems which I have wanted to read for some time, ever since I saw a couple of poems on tumblr.

I don’t think a series of poems has ever been so true to my own feelings in all my life. Almost every one I read hit on something that I could identify with. They’re short sweet and to the point. I’m not usually a huge connoisseur of poems so there may be a term for this type of poem but I don’t know it (if you do feel free to share in the comments). Basically, these poems say exactly what they mean, while a lot is left to the imagination everything is about feelings rather than imagery. This is the type of poem I prefer to read.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 


 

Title: The Collected Poems 41f6qyd4igl-_sx329_bo1204203200_
Author: Sylvia Plath (Edited by Ted Hughes)
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 351
Category: 47. Read a collection of poetry
Format: Paper

Date Started: March 6th 2017
Date Finished: April 30th 2017

I’m not sure what I expected picking up this collection but it wasn’t quite what I got. I think, knowing a little about Sylvia Plath’s history and having read and loved the Bell Jar several years ago I expected something similar only to find out that these poems are much more focussed on imagery and frankly a lot less interesting.

If this is the style of writing that you enjoy then that’s great, and maybe if I wanted to take the time to analyse these poems it might be a different story, but the anthology includes over 200 poems many of which could probably have been left out. That being said there are some beautiful lines in the collection, perhaps though, this would be better published as a selection of poems rather than the collected poems. A shorter selection may be able to have a greater impact on the reader.

Rating: 2/5 stars

The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman

Title: The Invisible Library the-invisible-library
Author: Genevieve Cogman
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Pages: 329
Category: 21. Read a short book, one between 5,000 and 100,000 words
Format: Paper

Date Started: April 1st 2017
Date Finished: April 14th 2017

In keeping with the theme of the year so far this book also had a huge focus on the importance of words with the librarians having a language all of their own that was able to impact the world. Throughout the book this was frequently used to open locked doors or animate an object. In the lore of this series objects are easier to influence if you are asking them to do something that is natural for them such as opening a lock or animating a stuffed animal (in this case the animal was once alive and therefore movement is the natural state. This use of language is distinct from anything else I’ve read and kind of quirky which I like.

The plot follows a librarian and her apprentice who are seeking a book from an alternate reality which is supposed to be quite important to the (invisible) library for reasons unknown to the main characters. Of course, the book is not where it is supposed to be and of course there are some politics that get in the way from both the library and the alternate world.

I actually really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting premise, though there was quite a lot going on with a lot of different lore mixed in together making it seem like a bit of a hodge podge rather than a cohesive lore.

This is the first book in the series and I liked it enough that I plan to read at least the next book in the series even if it will probably never make it to my top 10 (I was kind of hoping it would with such a great premise for it).

Rating: 3/5 stars

House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski

Title: House of Leaveshouse_of_leaves
Author: Mark Z. Danielewski
Genre: Drama/Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 709
Category: 39. Read a book with pictures in it
Format: Paper

Date Started: March 5th 2017
Date Finished: April 1st 2017

Let me start off by saying this book is the biggest mindfuck I have ever read. It’s also ridiculously long, which may explain my lack of posts here lately. It’s not just long but dense and there’s a lot going on. For those who have never heard of House of Leaves, it’s not formatted like a regular book, others have suggested that it’s more of a performance, with mazes that are made real by the difficulty of finding what you should be reading next, and some pages written upside down or with very few words on the page. There are copious footnotes and multiple narratives as well as multiple narrators who it seems cannot be trusted.

When I finished the book I still wasn’t sure what had happened. I knew what I had read but I couldn’t tell you what was real and what wasn’t. There are many theories about this all over the internet, personally the ones that make the most sense to me are the ones which suggest the true narrator suffered some kind of mental illness whether that be Johnny’s mother, or Johnny himself. This seems to be supported by the similarity between many of the characters and the fact that their names often describe what they do or who they are (Johnny’s friend Lude is lewd for example).

There are also a few cases where the fourth wall is broken with references to House of Leaves (the book Navidson reads while trapped and the musicians that Johnny meets towards the end of the book).

Honestly, there were many times I was reading and just wishing the book was done because it was just so long, but at the same time I wanted to know what would happen next. Honestly though, for such a long book, not an awful lot did happen.

What I did really enjoy is the way that the author managed to incorporate so many narrators, so many styles, colours, page formatting and still include some semblance of a coherent story even if I’m not really sure how it all tied together. So if you’ve read House of Leaves tell me what you thought happened, who narrated it really? Was any of it real?

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Cannibal by Chuck Palahniuk and Other Short Stories

Okay, so this one is going to be a little different in format. Rather than just one short story there’s 4 here! Enjoy! All these stories were available online so I’ve included the links for you to read them if you wish. Before we jump in though, the first two on this list are definitely a little more gory than many people can handle so feel free to skip past them if that’s not your thing. (The quote above is from Chuck Palahniuk)

Title: Cannibal
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Genre: Short Story
Words: 2505
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

So, if you’ve never read any of Chuck Palahniuk’s books or short stories then you are in for quite the treat. That being said, this one is not my favourite of his short stories. I won’t spoil this one too much because it is quite short and Chuck Palahniuk is known for his twists and turns. Go check out Guts if you like this one though, that is one of the most disturbing things I have ever read. What I will say about Cannibal is, that I started reading it not long before I needed to go somewhere and lost track of time and was very nearly late to where I was going, only to have to find the last of the story on my phone and read it once I got there.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 


 

Title: Obsolete
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Genre: Short Story
Words: 4347
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

This one is a little different to the other stories I’ve read by Palahniuk and didn’t hold my attention nearly as much as the others. Though I was still surprised by the ending at least. If this is your first time reading something by Palahniuk I would suggest picking something else to start with even if this one is comparatively tame by his standards. It just doesn’t fit together as well as some of the others I’ve read.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 


 

Title: The Zero Meter Diving Team
Author: Jim Shepard
Genre: Short Story
Words: (????)
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

This one was actually quite a sad read, unsurprising given the subject matter, though I was immediately drawn to it because of the subject matter. The Zero Meter Diving Team is the story of a trio of brothers and their experiences with Chernobyl, with one working there, one living nearby and being on the river at the time of the explosion and the third being part of the bureaucracy called in to help with the clean up. The imagery in it is beautiful, and the emotions are raw. It was just a great read.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 


 

Title: All Summer in a Day
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Short Story
Words: (????)
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

This was an unusual read for me. I’ve never read anything by Bradbury before (despite actually knowing his granddaughter), but I saw this and decided to give it a shot. The writing isn’t necessarily a style I enjoy but it was written quite a while ago so I don’t mind. What was unusual for me, is that it is about such an ordinary school yard occurrence except that it occurs in a science fiction setting in a school room on Venus. That being said, I definitely identify with the poor girl in the story (I won’t tell you more so I don’t spoil it).

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Jurassic World

Title: Jurassic Worldmv5bmtq5mte0mtk3nl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjczmzk2nte-_v1_uy1200_cr6406301200_al_
Year: 2015
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Genre: Action/Science-Fiction
Date Watched: March 2, 2017
Category: A movie that’s been on your to watch list at least 12 months

Okay, so not sure what happened with this, I watched this at least a few weeks ago but for some reason never posted about it.

At this point it seems incredibly unlikely that you’ve never heard of, seen, or read Jurassic Park. I’m actually a huge fan of Michael Crichton books and will hopefully get to read at least one this year maybe even Jurassic Park since I haven’t read it yet. At any rate, if you’ve never heard of Jurassic Park the short version is, that someone decided to make a theme park full of dinosaurs recreated using DNA from fossils (and I think added with frog DNA?), naturally this all went horribly, horribly wrong with the Tyrannosaurus Rex getting loose and then other dinosaurs. In Jurassic World however, the park becomes a huge success with a large number of different dinosaurs to be seen, except, just seeing dinosaurs has become boring, nobody is awed or scared by that anymore so some scientists in their infinite wisdom create a new dinosaur. Indominous Rex.

From there the movie plays out very much like the original movie which is somewhat disappointing as it almost felt like I was watching Jurassic Park but with better special effects. Which isn’t to say that the special effects weren’t great or that the acting was bad, but it just didn’t feel new.

Honestly, I enjoyed the movie in the moment and it was visually exciting but the story just wasn’t great.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

The Sound of Seas – Gillian Anderson

Title: The Sound of Seasthe-sound-of-seas-9781471137785_hr
Author: Gillian Anderson
Genre: Drama/Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 277
Category: 18. Finish a series
Format: Paper

Date Started: February 27th 2017
Date Finished: March 5th 2017

The final instalment in this series, started right at the beginning of the year. This third book in the trilogy somewhat diverges from what I’m accustomed to for a trilogy but it does work for it. If you’re looking at this and haven’t read any of the books then stop right here and go back to the first review and decide if it’s something for you.

Picking up right where the previous book left off we are thrown right into the Galderkhaan lifestyle. Yet another new side of Galderkhaan that we haven’t seen before, this time focussing on fishing and the use of the airships. We see a return of Madame Langlois from the first book as well.

Although the majority of the questions I had were answered in this book, there are still things I would’ve liked to see more of. Unfortunately, the many intertwining stories make it quite difficult to devote all that much time to any one of the stories which is both interesting and limiting.

Regardless, I found the series an interesting read and I don’t think it’s quite like anything I’ve read before this and it did open my eyes to how many different cultures and customs could be incorporated into one belief system that is still based primarily on science. I think the quote at the top from a different Gillian Anderson work sums that up perfectly: Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it.

Rating: 3/5 stars