Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What I Read Wednesday

I read some great books this week. You should add all of them to your list.

Somebody Up There Hates You: A Novel
Richard Casey is 17 years old and residing in a hospice unit. As you can imagine, he's unhappy about it. Although he has cancer, he tells anyone who asks that he has SUTHY, which stands for Somebody Up There Hates You. In hospice, he meets a 15 year old girl, Sylvie, and the two develop a relationship… or at least, want to help one another not die with certain things unconsummated. Is this book The Fault in Our Stars? Well, no, but few books are. Still, I loved it. I loved Richard's voice, the strange twists, the secondary characters in the hospice, the way that the author didn't gloss over the reality of the fact that sometimes, kids die and it's really sad.

Prodigy: A Legend Novel
This is the sequel to Legend, which I reviewed last week. I felt like this was a much stronger book than Legend, but it always seems like the middle book of a trilogy is the best (at least to me, anyway). I felt like this book explored the dystopian world more and explained what happened to create The Republic and The Colonies. Of course, the end leaves you hanging, but fortunately I came into the series just in time for the final book to be released.

The Circle
This book was incredibly fascinating. The main character, Mae, gets a job at Circle, the most powerful internet/social media/everything technological company. Hired in by her friend Annie who is in one of the top employees of the company, Mae is overwhelmed by the huge, beautiful campus. As time goes on, she realizes there's no need to ever leave. Parties after work, dorms on campus, Circle has everything. Except not everyone in Mae's life may agree with her assessment on Circle. While there were some incredibly obvious plot points in this book, I was able to overlook them because the overarching theme of this book was so powerful and the dystopian world that Eggers set up was so disturbing in the fact that it could be so real, so soon.

Rustication: A Novel
I think I would've enjoyed this book a lot more if I wouldn't have been so tired, but it's been a week of going to bed by 9 every night. Okay. 8:30. Still, I would give it a solid 3ish out of 5 stars, even with my tired brain. This novel is set in 1863 and is told through the journal of Richard, a former Cambridge student who has been rusticated. Side note: A google search taught me that rustication is used at Cambridge, Oxford and Durham and means, "being sent down or expelled temporarily." It's used more modernly to talk about students who leave temporarily but was originally derived from the Latin word rus, countryside, as most students were sent back to their families in the country. Although situations vary, some students may be disallowed from entering the university after rustication. So, that was interesting. Yay for learning! I'm going to start threatening my students with rustication instead of detention.
The events surrounding Richard's rustication aren't very clear, though the reader knows he has an unpleasant opium addiction and he likes girls but maybe in a slightly awkward way. Upon returning to his family, things start to go haywire in his town. His neighbors start receiving threatening and slightly dirty letters, farm animals are mutilated… and Richard is, of course, the prime suspect. All in all, the premise was interesting, but I guess I struggled with the sheer amount going on in the novel--which may have been my tired brain. That said, it was definitely an interesting plot and I did enjoy the ending, it just lost me a little bit in the middle.

The Isle of Youth: Stories
Every time I read a book of short stories, I think I remind myself that I'm not a fan of short story collections. However, this one really grabbed me. Each short story in this book features a female main character who is fighting some sort of uphill battle, but who also really isn't to keen on changing her uphill battle. Or who maybe doesn't really know how to change her battle, in some circumstances. They were all really strong stories, and I saw myself in so many aspects of the different characters the author created. This is one that I would recommend reading even if you aren't a fan of the short story genre.

What are you reading?


InTheFastLane said...

I was just reading about the Circle, I have it on my "to read" list.

I was 5 pages away from finishing "The Interestings" when my indestructible old kindle (you know, the old one, no light, keyboard, but lasts forever?) received a fatal injury....long story...
I had to finish that book on my iphone, which is not nearly as enjoyable.

My next book to read was "Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II" but, now I am waiting until someone gets me a kindle paperwhite for christmas.....

So, I have gone back to reading actual books and re-picked up "the Invisible Ones", just last night.

I am thinking that the Circle will be next.

Barb Ruess said...

My mini-vacation mucked up my reading plans. I left Fangirl behind so I'm in the process of finishing it now. I did read The Silent Wife (just the sort of book you want to take on an anniversary vacation with your husband). And I need go back and read your review about it before commenting.

I do believe Allegiant is up next, unless I have to arm wrestle a child for it. Luckily I have two other books waiting on my nightstand.

Oh, and even though I don't usually add books I'm reading aloud with J - we just finished Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince and... sigh... it was a good reminder of how enjoyable that entire series is.

Barb Ruess said...

And yet one more bit... I have been waffling about adding The Circle to my list and after your notes, I have done so. :)

Brooke said...

you always have the most diverse reading list!

Lyndsay said...

I haven't picked up a book since my plane landed at home. Clearly I need to live in Jamaica.