February Book Thoughts

Frightful’s Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Up until a few years ago, I was very unaware that my favorite book, My Side of the Mountain, was part of a trilogy. I decided that since the library had the trilogy as a whole, I would read it. I can see how the three books function together. Book one focuses on him separating and living on his own. Book two focuses on he and his sister combating urban sprawl and poachers. Book three is almost entirely from the falcon’s point of view and what we do to animals. I see the function together. What I loved about book one doesn’t exist in books two or three, therefore it’s not really fair for me to review them.

So let me give you my slightly edited book thoughts on this final book of the trilogy. Considering it was written in the middle parts of the 1980’s, it is definitely before its time. It gives a semi-thought provoking look into an endangered species head, but she just can’t seem to shake her own opinions to give it an accurate voice. She does the book justice by never giving Frightful’s mates voice… the truly wild peregrine falcons. I can respect that. Part of me thinks My Side of the Mountain should be a separate entity from the environmentalist agenda of the later two books. But that’s just my personal opinion.

Good Omen by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

After I had read The Stupidest Angel and literally laughed my butt off the whole way through it, I decided to give Goodreads the benefit of the doubt and try out some of their opinion of “hilarious” books. Perhaps I just didn’t get it. I see where the humor COULD be, but again… I miss it. This book has a very British humor to it. As the back of the book states several times, if you enjoyed Hitchhiker’s Guide, you’ll love it. I loved H2G2, but failed to see any of its wit or humor present in Good Omen. Boo on you, Goodreads.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Simplistic style. Not as eloquently simple as Hemingway but roughly simple. Manly simple. It fits the story exquisitely. From a writer’s point of view, I don’t think the material could have been covered any more perfectly. The landscape is barren, desolate. The voice is rough, tinged with pain. The speech has only one purpose: not to knock you down with long sweeping paragraphs of description of dialogue. It simply tells the story. You get no more, you get no less.

On the other hand, the story becomes somewhat predictable. We know almost from the beginning two things: (1) Man is coughing blood and (2) Boy is lucky. By the time this information was disseminated, I knew the ending. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful journey.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I try to keep up with what’s “hot” in Young Adult literature, simply because it is my passion to get back into a classroom… and frankly, YA literature is something you have to keep up with in order to be an encouraging facilitator of reading habits. This book has received WIDESPREAD recognition for being an amazing book. Original. Revolutionary.

Its Shirley Jackson’s masterpiece “The Lottery” mixed with an unhealthy obsession with Survivor. This is not original. This is not revolutionary. People, this is not good. I thought the book was absolute crap. The characters were unbelievable. The world was revolting at best. The ending was predictable. The writing was subpar. It was like reading the National Enquirer and calling it news. It might be news to someone but it shouldn’t be.

Sideways Stores from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

This was a frivolous read. Someone on Goodreads had reminded me of my sixth grade teacher reading this to us on Fridays and I just had to become reacquainted with my old friends. I read this in an hour. Such a great book.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

This was a selection from my list. After a while, it just doesn’t feel dirty any more. You just feel sorry for him. Or at least I did.

I found the whole situation to be quite humorous after a while. The man, H.H., was obsessed with his little Lolita. If you’ve read it, take a second and forget that our dear love interest is a child. Think of it like a guy and a girl dating. Would an adult woman even stick around for his obsession? There is such a thing as a kept man/kept woman… and Lolita was definitely a kept woman… but there’s only so much that’s tolerable.

Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris

These are the short stories that are somewhat necessary to piece together the entire Sookie drama. I had found one or two in other anthologies while reading through. Its nice to have them all in one place and ready to go for the release of the next book. I had forgotten how… cheap of a read… the Sookie novels are. I remember tearing through a book a day or a book every two days. I remember why now that I’ve read the short stories. There’s really nothing to them.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

I loved being in Enzo’s head. I think my dog loved me being in Enzo’s head too… he got loved on constantly. I don’t remember why I had given it four stars. There was something that detracted from the story for me. I like seeing something completed from this point of view. As a writer, I’ve tried several times to do a story from the doggie viewpoint… but never got to a completed story. It always got too abstract for me. It was a beautiful story though.

Raise High the Roof Beams, Carpenters and Seymour, an Introduction by J.D. Salinger

I opted to read this first instead of Catcher in the Rye simply because it had more sentimental value to me. It is hard for me to give an accurate thought on this book since I’ve come to view it as two books smashed together: one I love and one I hate.

Raise High the Roof Beams, Carpenters took me a while to get into. Once I did, I realized what a beautiful storytelling method Salinger adopted for this novel. After ten pages, I was flying through the rest of the novella. He gives such a wonderful, believable account of a brother going to his older brother’s wedding. I can easily see why this is one of the favorites of JD Salinger’s works.

Seymour could have gone on unpublished. It read much like a 15 year old’s journal about Edward Cullen, if in fact that 15 year old were a boy and somehow related to Edward Cullen. This novel actually made me feel more dirty than Lolita. He seemed like he was in love with his dead brother, dedicating pages to describing his nose. It was like a tabloid look into the life of a fictional character. All-in-all, I think I would have rather read a textbook.

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One response to “February Book Thoughts

  1. Good Omen is decent, but Gaiman’s other works are much better (and devoid a co-writer).

    The Road was hack. McCarthy was lazy in his storytelling and won the Pulitzer via the same engineering that the Nobel committee voted Obama the Peace Prize.

    I’ll check out a couple of the others on this list eventually.

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