Oh Reviews, You've Defeated Me…

So I’m here to talk about FOUR books today!!! Mini review style. Because I’ve had this bad habit lately of not blogging lately 😦 And instead of making excuses why I haven’t been blogging, I’m just going to actually blog and review books because this is a review blog…sort of…not really. It’s kind of a whatever I want it to be blog. But that’s besides the point. What I’m going to give you here are my thoughts on four really excellent books that should have longer posts where I go into extreme detail on why I loved each of them, but honestly, it’s either been too long now since I read them or I’m just too sick right now (I have a bad cold) to think clearly enough to write those thoughts out. So without further ado, I give you thoughts…sponsored by cold medicine:

Maybe it is best that I review I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly in mini-review format, because not much needs to be said about it except for the fact that it’s brilliant. It’s a graphic novel that deals with the subject of trauma and how one girl, Barbara, deals with it. I posted my thoughts on my tumblr blog about why I think the graphic novel format is so perfect for this type of book, books that deal with psychological issues. I don’t think I’ve read a better book on trauma…that portrayed it so accurately and conveyed the emotions so well…that made me feel the emotions of the character as well as Joe Kelly did with Barbara. The secondary characters in I Kill Giants were just as wonderful as Barbara. I loved the counselor and her sister and her friend…everyone was so very human. And perhaps that was what made this very fantastic story so very true and so very beautiful.

Next up is Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle which I’m currently hosting for the Classic Reads Book Club! And oh what fun it is to be hosting this book right now!!! This was my first Shirley Jackson novel. The only other thing I had read by her was “The Lottery”, her short story which I’ve always loved. This book was wonderful despite a few lingering questions that I have that I’ll leave to be discussed at the book club site. It follows two sisters and their uncle who hide themselves away in a house after their whole family has been poisoned by arsenic. They have been acquitted of the murder, but the town has not acquitted them in their minds. Jackson is SO good at setting up a perfectly atmospheric novel and creating this ominous feel to her tales. I just love it! And you always know while you’re reading that there’s just something “off” about things..the characters, the place, the situation. I just loved this book…though maybe I could’ve used another chapter to answer a few more questions for me….

By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters just knocked the wind out of me. I don’t think I was expecting this book to be as emotional of a read as it was. But then again, it’s Julie Anne Peters…I guess I should’ve seen it coming. It’s an amazing book. So amazing. It follows a teenager named Daelyn who has attempted suicide several times in her past due to past bullying and traumatic events. But this time, she doesn’t plan on living to tell the story. She’s joined a suicide website where she’s planned her final days and the novel follows her days as she counts down to her “day of determination”.Β  Daelyn can’t talk for reasons that are eventually explained, yet she meets a boy named Santana who forms an interest in her along the way and we know from the beginning as the reader that he may be her only salvation…but is he even enough? This one is a big freaking punch in the gut, let me tell you…I warned you ahead of time. But it’s one that’s necessary, as are all of Peters’ books that I’ve read so far. This is an author that I can’t thank enough for coming into my life. Her books are just absolutely AMAZING!!! So far I’ve read about same sex parenting of a teenager, a book about a transgendered teen, and now one about bullying and teen suicide. She writes about things that need to be talked about and are not talked about enough. And she writes about them SO WELL. Read this book.

And finally there’s a lovely surprise that I didn’t even know existed until a few days ago!!! The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger! It’s a graphic novel that she’s just released. It’s short, but it’s such a treasure. Picture walking into a library and perusing the shelves and realizing that what was on the shelves was everything you have ever read in your life. Like the EXACT copy of everything you’ve ever read from when you were a child. Even like the back of cereal boxes. Well that’s what this book is about. A woman is walking the streets of Chicago one night and finds an old Winnebago on the side of the road and it turns out to be a bookmobile. When she steps inside, she finds that it is a library of every book she has ever read. But it is years before the bookmobile returns again and it becomes an obsession of hers to find the bookmobile again…reading becomes an obsession of hers…books become an obsession…but mostly, finding the bookmobile becomes an obsession. Oh, I really can’t tell you much about it because it’s so short. But it’s so good! The art is so different, but I really liked it! Looks to me as if she did it all in watercolors. If you’re a book lover (and we all are) I think you’re sure to love this one. And she says in the afterword that it’s part of a larger collection she hopes to do called “The Library”! Hooray!!!

Ok…all caught up now finally!!! YAY πŸ˜€ Now back to my current reads, Fated by S.G. Brown, The Armless Maiden and Other Tales For Childhood Survivors edited by Terri Windling, The Stand by Stephen King and My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer. That should keep me busy, eh?

19 Responses

  1. Well you’re doing far better than me, Chris–maybe you’ve been slacking on getting reviews written, but at least you’ve been finishing books to review! A claim I can’t even make. And wow–four winners, too!

    A non-book-blogging friend told me about The Night Bookmobile a few weeks ago, but I haven’t been able to find it yet. After your review, I think I’m going to have to step up the search. πŸ™‚

  2. Four reviews, four comments from me! All in one box though. πŸ˜€
    I Kill Giants – I don’t think I loved this one as much as the rest of you, but Jason really loved it and I was glad to see him like a modern book so much.
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle – I thought this one was perfect, one of my fav books of the year so far, and I didn’t even mind how ambiguous everything was left!
    the Peters book – This one’s still on my shelf but I’ll be reading it in the next month or so for my YA book club. I’m sure it’s going to pack a punch! Thanks for the warning.
    and that last book – well, I think I’ll just stay away from it. It’s Niffenegger, and all. ;P

  3. You’ve convinced me about I Kill Giants and I really want to get The Night Bookmobile. Looks beautiful!

  4. Oh, Chris, you Bad, Bad, Blogger! πŸ˜‰ I’m dying to read We’ve Have Always Lived In The Castle ever since I saw it so many times popping up for the RIP V. (I’m currently engrossed, most thoroughly, in Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger, another recommendation from Carl’s challenge.) Then, you add icing to the cake with Audrey’s new book. Sigh, from over here in Illinois…

  5. Unfortunately I couldn’t get into I Kill Giants when I borrowed it from the library 😦

    Glad you liked We Have Always Lived in the Castle, I both liked and was annoyed by the ambiguity at the time, but I still occasionally think about the book, and how damn creepy Merricat made me feel, so it certainly did something right!

    And I’ve like or loved all the Julie Anne Peters I read, so you can be damn sure of a bad bloggers point heading your way when I can get hold of this one! πŸ™‚

    I got the Night Bookmobile yesterday! (and read it yesterday!) it’s such a short one I’m going to read it again before I review it though. πŸ™‚

  6. Yesterday I made a list of things that are good about having moved to New York, and being able to read I Kill Giants AT LAST from the NY Public Library is on my list. :p

  7. I know just how you feel! I am behind, too, but maybe I’ll take your four-in-one approach. I’ve requested that my library purchase I Kill Giants – I hope they will, because I think it will circulate like mad. And the Book Mobile one looks fabulous! I may have to buy that for myself. πŸ™‚

  8. I totally agree with you Chris about I Kill Giants. I just read it last night and I almost sobbed uncontrollably at the end! πŸ˜€ It’s so beautiful and touching. Almost everyone is a three-dimensional character. Such a lovely book. You’ve added everything else to my tbr pile! Happy reading. I hope you’re having a great weekend.

  9. Debi, Definitely four winners!! I was so happy with all of these books. And I so think that you’ll love The Night Bookmobile! I hadn’t even heard about it…i ordered mine from Amazon. I haven’t seen it in any bookstores.

    Amanda, Glad to hear that Jason enjoyed I Kill Giants though I’m sorry that it didn’t work for you 😦 Sounds like there are very mixed opinions on that one!! I guess that I don’t necessarily mind how We Have Always Lived in the Castle ended, I just have a few questions I want to discuss. I kind of like the open ending too…And OMG, you’re going to love the Peters book!! I swear I just love that woman so much. Thank you SO SO SO much for introducing me to her!!!!

    Lu, Hooray πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ My job here is done πŸ˜€

    Bellezza, I actually thought of you while reading The Night Bookmobile because it takes place in Chicago. I think you’ll really like that one..a LOT. I’d be interested in hearing your opinion of it as you know the streets she mentions and wanders, I’m sure!

    Darren, Like I was telling Amanda, it sounds like there are a few people who couldn’t get into I Kill Giants. I think in the end, the ambiguity of We Have Always Lived in the Castle didn’t bug me…I just want to TALK about it!! LOL..I guess that’s what the book club is for :p And OMG the Peters book is amazing!! I think you’ll love this one, Darren. Can’t wait to hear what you think of the new Niffenegger!

    Jenny, I didn’t know you moved to NY! Are you in the city or another part?? I’m actually thinking of moving there myself!! Hooray for getting to read I Kill Giants πŸ˜€

    Darla, You should definitely do some mini-reviews…you know, I actually enjoy writing these mini reviews…its a different kind of writing. I so hope your library gets I Kill Giants for you!! And The Night Bookmobile is certainly one worth adding to your collection πŸ™‚

    Vasilly, Oh god, I did too…I just sobbed at the end of that one…big lump in my throat that just let loose right with Barbara. Fantastic characters. Oh good πŸ˜€ I’m glad I could add to your pile πŸ˜€ Hope you’re having a good weekend too!!

  10. … I have to get my hands on “The Armless Maiden and Other Tales For Childhood Survivors” now… (And you haven’t even read/reviewed it yet!) And it appears to be out of print. *sulk*

    And the Peters is on my wishlist… And I had just – just! – gotten a handle on this whole “Do not buy 30 books every month!” thing too…

    It’s wonderful to hear from you, though! I hope the cold goes away soon and that you’re able to rest and make progress on your current reads! ^-^ *sends good thoughts*

  11. Chris I am totally in the same situation as you have been: reading books, just not really blogging about them as much. *le sigh* I know it’s only a matter of time I pick up the juice again. But right now, it’s just kinda bleh.

    As far as your book reviews go – yay! I wanna read 3 outta the 4. (i’ll pass on the first one).

    Cuz ya know, The Lottery STILL freaking spooks me. πŸ™‚

  12. Sometimes it’s just best to mini and move on. Felt so good when I did that-but now I have nothing to write about since I’m a slow reader these days. πŸ˜›

    How did I miss that I Kill Giants is a graphic novel?? I’ve seen you guys talk about it so many times but must have spaced on that detail. Definitely intrigued now! And I looked high and low for a used copy of We Have Always Lived in the Castle so I could join your readalong but couldn’t find one. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! All I’ve read is The Lottery as well.

    I love blogs that are whatever people want them to be. Why do we feel the need to box ourselves in??

  13. I’ve only read one of those and I didn’t care for it, although I liked Shirley Jackson’s writing style. I didn’t like The Lottery, either. But, I’ve got the book of short stories by Jackson, also entitled The Lottery (the short story “The Lottery” is the final story in the book). There are some very thought-provoking stories in that book. She tackles all sorts of things, like racism and . . . well, I don’t remember what else, but I remember thinking it was worth rereading. And, then I probably swapped it. I have this sneaking suspicion that I did.

    Good for you, catching up. Do what works for you. I think I go way overboard on my reviews and need to work on not spending so much time on them. When I look back to the early days, I think I managed to say plenty but I kept my reviews much shorter. I have one heck of a review backlog, right now.

  14. This post was great! I’m so glad you loved We Have Always Lived in the Castle. πŸ˜€ That Niffenger book has such an awesome premise; I hope my library decides to acquire a copy. I Kill Giants sounds like a book I need to get my hands on, as does the Peters. You always find the best sounding books! :p

    Also, I heart your blog just the way it is! Oh, and I got to watch the Saints game today!!!

  15. Shirley Jackson is STILL on my to-read list. It looks like we had the same idea with mini-reviews, but I went super-short.

    I want that Audrey Niffeneger book so badly, my goodness. πŸ™‚

  16. Wow, these are some fantastic books! I must say, I’ve been been evil and have sort of followed along with the Classic Reads readalong you hosted, but I hadn’t read the book, so I couldn’t really participate! I will hope to read that soon, and then I can circle back to your thoughts and questions posed! I was hosting a readalong myself at the same time, so I was bit wrapped up with that which caused quite a kerfluffle in my world of trying to balance things!

    I’m quite interested to read the other ones you’ve posted as well, they sound fabulous!

  17. Ooh, I had no idea Audrey Niffenegger had written another graphic novel! I loved THE ADVENTURESS.

  18. […] mean a lot 1330v Rebecca Reads The Zen Leaf Stuff As Dreams Are Made On Reading Rants Book […]

  19. […] Bart’s Bookshelves, The Written World, nomadreader, Reader’s Corner and Stuff As Dreams Are Made On all feature posts about The Night Bookmobile. Β Did you? Β Leave a link in the comments and […]

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