Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

I thought this was one of the funniest books I have ever read! Obviously, it is touchy material--it is about polygamy and the author is a Mormon--but one of the children, Rusty, is hilarious! A lot of his chapters, told from his eleven year old vision of the world, reminds me of A Christmas Story, when Ralphie has his daydreams about protecting his family with his coveted Red Rider BB gun. That kind of funny. So the story is about Golden, a man with four wives and 28 children, who has a failing construction business and lies to everybody about his current work project. Everyone thinks he is building a senior center in Nevada (lives in Utah, so no one goes to check the facts), but he is really building a brothel, Pussycat Manor II. Inevitably, he stumbles upon the brothel owner's wife (Huila) and they spend time together and he falls for her. But all hell breaks loose when Ted Leo (said brothel owner) finds out. Golden's past is expolored, and the author uses a significant amount of foreshadowing, which isn't obvious at the time, but makes it a good reflection at the end of the novel. It is so sad that this book has only been checked out four times--including my reading--since being available at the library since June, 2010. It is definitely not a book to miss, and introduces one to the theology behind polygamy and why this belief system is still kept even today.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Looking for Alaska by John Green

This book has won awards, people. Why, I am not sure... My friend Hillary was the one who let me borrow this, as John Green is one of her favorite authors ever. She even went to a book signing recently! But anyway... It is divided into two parts: before and after. What happens "in between" is what drives the last half of the book, but the first half is about "Pudge" (real name Miles) who decides to move from Florida to go to the boarding school his father went to in search of the Great Perhaps (this book is semi-autobiographical and Culver Creek is based on a school that John Green went to in Alabama). While there, he has a roommate known as the Colonel and falls hopelessly in love with a feminist, perplexing girl named Alaska (thus the title). But Alaska has a boyfriend that she is in love with named Jake, but she does think that Miles is cute... Anyway, John Green recently released The Fault in Our Stars which is supposed to be amazing. Maybe I'll read that later on this year sometime. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre

Enclave is based in post apocalyptic NYC where people have gone to live underground in the subway tunnels. Everybody's lives have been truncated and they live together in communes called enclaves. This book is about Deuce, a Huntress in the College enclave who is paired with Fade, another Hunter from what they call "Topside." Hunters make up part of the societal system in the enclave; the other two groups are Breeders and Builders. Hunters leave the enclave and go into the subway tunnels where they find food and battle Freaks (they sound like zombie meets animal since they have claws). Freaks eat humans, but Hunters fight them off to protect the enclave. For some reason, they seem to be getting smarter, and Deuce disobeys orders at some point and is sent with Fade to Nassau enclave, which is about three days away. There, they find all of Nassau's people eaten by the fat and happy Freaks that roam that enclave. Terrified, they return to College enclave and report what they have seen and what they think--that Freaks are getting smarter. The elders of the enclave (that are about 25 years old...Fade and Deuce are fifteenish) wave that off and think they are silly. Deuce finds that Fade (a man with a mysterious past of his own) is part of a quiet rebellion against the elders and how the enclave is set up. Deuce believes in the elders and what they tell them (that acid rain burns things Topside, that no one can survive up there, etc), but is appalled when she figures out that Fade is right when one of her friends is framed for hoarding (something that receives banishment from the enclave). Deuce claims that she is the one who framed her friend, a fact that people know is not true, and Fade says that he helped her. They are banished from College enclave and are sent Topside, where Deuce finds that the elders have lied about a lot of things. From there, Fade and Deuce scavenge the remains of NYC and battle against the gangers, as they call them. Eventually they end up heading north, where "Fade's sire" (father) told him that it was safer, but along the way, the run into more Freaks. Will they ever be safe? I thought this was a great book and a fun read, it made me really think I was running around the subway tunnels and battling Freaks. I am pretty sure there will be a sequel to this, and I am looking forward to it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is an overly long, drawn-out tale about two children--a boy and a girl--being chosen to outdo the other with the power of magic while being contained within the confines of a circus that is open only at night. Their magic teachers decide this when Celia is six years old and Marco fourteen. Of course, when they both are at the circus, they fall in love, and then are distraught to discover that the winner of this contest of sorts is decided by one of them dying in one way or another (not magic inflicted by either party). It gets very convoluted and confusing, with each chapter jumping between locations and times. It made me want to pull out my hair at points because I did not have a clue what was going on, and so many characters are involved that by the end I just had to read it and go with the flow and assume I knew who the author was chattering on and on about. This book would have been much better if it had been more tightly written, perhaps cutting 100 pages from its girth (387 pages). There are of course a myriad of sub-plots and whatnot, but something I kept thinking of while reading this was Anne of Green Gables when it is said that it is better to use short words than long ones.

Okay, done whining, but I would definitely put this in the same bin as Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.