Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

This book is told from the POV of nine-year-old Oskar Schell whose father died in one of the towers from the World Trade Center. Most of the book takes place about two years after his father, Thomas, dies. One day, Oskar is in his parents' bedroom and somehow (I don't remember how...not really a memorable book) a blue vase crashes to the floor and gets broken. Inside, there was an envelope with "Black" written on the outside and a key inside. The entire book is devoted to Oskar finding out what this key opens, and he begins by tracking down every person with the last name of Black in NYC. No. Joke. The book also has random flashbacks that take until the last chapter to figure out who wrote what. Quite daunting, in other words. I am not sure how they made a movie out of this, or why, since nothing seems to really matter at the end. It harkens me back to Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. As in the world of reading, you win some, you lose some. Take note: According to this article, supposedly this book is Foer's best book yet. That does not encourage me to read Everything is Illuminated at all! The best part of this book is Oskar's random "inventions." That's pretty much the only saving grace.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie

This is the sequal to Matched. Crossed is told from a different point of view than Matched: it goes from third person to first person, alternating between Ky and Cassia's stories/POVs. I found that hard to get used to since the tone is so similar between the two, but whatev.

It starts (and goes) fairly slow compared to its predecessor, but still a lot happens in the book. Cassia is on the hunt for Ky because she loves him and wants to be reunited with him, while Ky is on the hunt for Cassia for the same reason. Ky is bent on getting back to Society, while Cassia is on a mission to get to the Outer Provinces. Cassia beats Ky to the punch and ends up finding him before he finds her. Then the story goes on and on about the Carving, a giant Grand Canyon-eque landmark thing. Cassia is searching/following Ky in it, Ky leaves it, Ky returns into it, Cassia finds him, they go back into the Carving, they meander in the Carving, they leave the Carving, blah blah blah Carving this, Carving that, zzzzz! ANYWAY, they finally make their way out of the Carving and they are on a mission to get to the Rising (an anti-Society outfit). Ky doesn't want to be a part of the Rising, but Cassia wants to be a part of something bigger than herself. Will Ky find it in himself to follow Cassia wherever she decides to go. Will she choose Ky or the Rising?

Nail-biter to the end!

Thankfully, the third installment of this trilogy comes out in November!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie

Matched is very similar to the Hunger Games trilogy. It is about a girl named Cassia and how her Society has everything rigged set up. Everything is based off of predictions and control of variables. Everyone is poisoned dies on their 80th birthday, those who chose to be Matched (thus the title) are on their 17th birthday and all sign a marriage Contract on their 21st in the hopes that they start popping out kids when they're 24. They don't even have the ability to choose their jobs, everything is what they test in to and also what they are predicted to be. And when I say predicted, I don't mean tarot card, I mean it is what they are most likely to do or become or to match with. ANYWAY, Cassia gets Matched with her close friend Xander. Later when she looks at the microcard that everyone gets with their Match, she sees Xander and then for a split second she sees Ky, another boy she knows. Of course, then she must explore and find out more about Ky and it leads to her to question the Society and how everything is set up and there are no free choices.

This is the first book in the trilogy, the second one came out November, 2011, and the third will come out November, 2012.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

So I thought that this was a cute book, but very a la Hunger Games and Matched. The plot was fairly simple. It is a story woven around two main characters, Day and June, and the quest for truth about their country, the Republic (which Day knows more about than June, even though June has been top-ranked in the Republic's military for forever). Of course, it is a love story, with June originally pitted against Day and out to capture him because she believes that he is responsible for her brother's death, but when she does meet him (however, she does not know it is Day since his name is never said), she finds him to be a very kind boy. (They are both 15. This is a YA book.) As to be expected, romance blooms and June must either trust Day and what he says, or believe what the Republic tells her is true.

reading roundup: 2011

Okay, folks. I was not too terribly great at blogging consistently about every book I read, but here are the 29 (!) books I read in 2011 by title:

Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker
Around the Bend by Shirley Jump
Carrie by Stephen King
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Matched by Ally Condie
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Sex, Lies, and Online Dating by Rachel Gibson
Sighs Matter by Marianne Stillings
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Art of Marriage: A Guide to Living Life as Two by Catherine Blyth
The Borrower: A Novel by Rebecca Makkai
The Exile by Diana Gabaldon
The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The Mercy Room by Gilles Rozier
The Shack by William P. Young
The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson
Things I’d Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman
This Book is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson
Under the Dome by Stephen King
What Alice Knew by Paula Cohen
Wicked by Gregory Maguire