Monday, May 8, 2017

The Books of March and April

Well! I meant to post this at least a week ago, but haven't gotten around to it until now. I don't suppose the world would stop spinning if I neglected to tell it what books I read in March and April...but I like to talk about books, so I shall proceed to post this anyway. :)

All images have been snagged from Pinterest.

March's Books

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Comment below if I should read this. I'm not that sure if I want to so I need some suggestions.:

This was entirely new territory for me. I...don't think I'd ever read a modern YA book. Ever. But several dear friends had been raving about the Lunar Chronicles, and I trusted them when they said I'd like them, and it seemed I should read futuristic YA if that was the genre my space opera fit into, so...I took the plunge.

And I loved it. I couldn't put it down, and read every spare moment until I had reached the last page. The characters and plot were awesome; the pacing was tight; the writing was flawless. What  impressed me most of all was the world-building. It was remarkable. Cyborgs and hovers and Lunars and letumosis and eek!

Cinder was a great character. I loved how even though she was far more "tomboy" than "girly-girl" and emanates strength, she was very much a teenage girl. She wanted to be pretty and feminine, even if she would have died before admitting it. And Kai! He was so lovable, an upright kid with responsibility thrust upon him.

On top of everything, the story left off at such a cliffhanger I absolutely had to get my hands on the next book.

That said, I did have some issues with it. (As I understand, this is particularly clean and wholesome for YA, so I'll try not to be too hard on it.) It was a little dark and violent at times for my taste. The theme of "it's okay to be different" felt very...typical. And then there were inappropriate comments sprinkled throughout--nothing too bad, but still.

Basically, I'm glad I waited until I was eighteen to read this. 

Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer

Sacrlet: Book Two of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHERE I CAN FIND THIS BOOK?! I AM DESPERATED> IF Y(OU FIND IT OMG I WILLL LOVE YOU FOrEVER.:

More of the same from Cinder. The plot, pacing, characters, world-building, etc. continued to be excellent. And there were more characters for me to get attached to now. Interesting, lovable, hilarious, conflicted, hurting characters. (Thorne! Wolf! Cinder! Iko! Thorne!)

And the writing. It impressed me in Cinder, but now Marissa Meyer's verbs really jumped out and knocked me flat. Look at this sentence:

"Wolf peeled himself out of the shadows and prowled towards the staircase."

It's flawless. Absolutely flawless.

Content-wise, this one struck me as darker and gorier than Cinder. The sprinkling of inappropriate comments was worse. (You know those sentences that don't make a book bad but make it so that you can't wait to turn the page in case someone looks over your shoulder? There were a lot of pages I couldn't wait to turn in Scarlet.) And the "mush" was worse.

Cress, by Marissa Meyer

Cress  (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer:

I believe this to be my favorite of The Lunar Chronicles. The cast of characters is almost complete, and I had a regular fit of delight when I realized who was going to fall in love with who in this book.

But my poor dear characters! Marissa Meyer tortures them with the inciting incident, and, and, and--! Masterful. Simply masterful, I tell you. But I am not used to such intense fiction. I can't handle so much shooting and bleeding and emotion. I come close enough to flipping out when I watch old black and white Westerns, for Pete's sake.

But! Content was a lot better in this book. I mean, except for this one super-uncomfortable scene that could have gotten really bad really fast. (Come to think of it it's a miracle nothing really bad didn't happen sometime or other, what with Cress' overactive romantic imagination and Thorne's cavalier flirtatiousness, both of which are bad enough at times.)

But anyway. All in all this was definitely my favorite.

Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

1991 Book Club Book - Treasure Island By Robert Louis Stevenson. To see this book in LCL catalogue click on the book cover.:

The first time I read this some six years ago, I didn't like it much. Mostly because I was used to the Muppet adaptation and thus found the characters incredibly boring and un-relatable. (I mean, there's no Gonzo or Rizzo. How is this supposed to be entertaining.)

But then! A couple of years later, after seeing a friend's enthusiasm for the story, I decided to give it a second chance. And that time I liked it much better. So I read it to my siblings last year while we were vacationing at the Outer Banks (a very Treasure Island-y place, that). And then, to my infinite delight, my high school English literature class read it at the end of March.

Now, I can't imagine not loving the characters. Blustery, patriotic Squire Trelawney...calm, sophisticated Dr. Livesay...brave, impulsive Jim...they're all delicious. Not to mention Captain Smollet. Let it hereby be known that Captain Smollett is one of my favorite characters ever, second only to Sam Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings and Dym Ingleford from Enemy Brothers.

(At the moment. It will change sooner or later, I'm sure. But still.)

April's Books

Winter, by Marissa Meyer

Winter by Marissa Meyer • November 10, 2015 • Feiwel & Friends https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13206900-winter:

A fitting conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles! It was so exciting that the middle of the book felt like the climax. And the actual climax about killed me.

And all the characters were awesome...and I almost cried a time or two...and the concluding sentence was perfect...

Of course. There has to be the content thing. I now know what to expect when told a book contains "passionate kissing." *cringes*

The Wasteland and Other Poems, by T. S. Eliot

The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot. The best poem. Ever.:

I don't know if I can really say I "read" this one. My eyes ran over it and took in the words. I finished it just because...well, because I had to read "The Waste Land" for school and thought I might as well read the rest of the poems so I could add one more book to this year's list.

*Lucy wallows in the shame of her own shallowness*

Let's just say I much prefer T. S. Eliot's "The Naming of Cats" to "The Waste Land." Not that "The Waste Land" doesn't have value! I began to appreciate it after my literature class had a stirring discussion about it. And often I find that my favorite poems are the ones I don't understand at all the first time.

So I'll revisit T. S. Eliot's serious poetry in a year or two and see what I think.

The Tempest, by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's The Tempest, cover by Milton Glaser, a Signet Classic paperback from the 1960s:

You can't go wrong with Shakespeare, can you? This isn't my favorite play of his--I read it mainly so I could enter an essay contest--but I did enjoy it. Ferdinand and Miranda are so cute.

...I think. My memory of this play is actually fading fast.

The Winged Watchman, by Hilda van Stockum

THE WINGED WATCHMAN This acclaimed story of World War II is rich in suspense, characterization, plot and spiritual truth. Every element of occupied Holland is united in a story of courage and hope: a hidden Jewish child, an "underdiver," a downed RAF pilot, an imaginative, daring underground hero, and the small things of family life which surprisingly carry on in the midst of oppression.:

This is the kind of book I would like to write someday. It's historical fiction about a family living through the Nazi occupation of Holland. While there is real danger, suffering, and heartbreak in it, overall it is a dearly sweet story. It was composed of such great elements--windmills, landwatchers, the Underground, collie dogs, aviators, dikes.

And the characters! Of course a book can't be delightful without delightful characters. I think my favorite was the mother, who loved her family fiercely and sacrificed so much for them and for her country. But I also loved the cheerful Underground worker Uncle Cor. And ten-year-old Joris, and his older brother Dirk Jan, and--oh! All of them.

Anne of Windy Poplars, by Lucy Maude Montgomery

Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery:

I've been reading the Anne of Green Gables books in a harum-scarum order. Here's why.
My copy of Anne of Green Gables (which belonged to my great-grandmother) was a three-volume set comprised of Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne's House of Dreams. As an eight-year-old, I believed these three books were one book and read them as such...although I was very confused whenever Anne's House of Dreams referred to events that sounded dreadfully exciting but which I had no recollection of. ("Gilbert was dying of a fever?? How did I miss that?")

Anyway. What with picking up books here and there at the library and Half Price Books, I eventually pieced together the story until I'd read all but this one and Rilla of Ingleside, which is the conclusion to the series. After reading Rainbow Valley, I was aching all over to read Rilla and bored with the idea of Windy Poplars. But of course I can't read the conclusion without having read all the other books, can I? So I had to read this one.

While it wasn't my favorite Anne book, I still enjoyed it. Lucy Maude Montgomery's style is like autumn wind through yellow leaves and a spring brook over smooth gray pebbles. Anne is an old friend, and Green Gables is home. There's something heartbreaking about these later books that look back on the earlier ones, and I expect the last one to break my heart irrevocably...

But I can't wait to read it.

So! I've talked enough. Tell me about the books you've been reading lately! And have you read any of these? If so, who were your favorite characters? Do you ever read series out of order? Do you like YA? Historical fiction? Classics? Sit down and have a bookish conversation with me whilst I serve you a cup of tea!

9 comments:

  1. Haha, I know how it is with Muppets Treasure Island... I love that movie. Never liked the book as much... Oops. :P Hmm... Cinder, eh? People have been raving about those books a lot lately, it seems like. Probably why I didn't read 'em. ;) And while I don't like tea, I am quite happy to listen to you talk about books, Lucy. :)

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    1. I love Muppets Treasure Island too! Even though it's so different from the book and Kermit is NOT Captain Smollet. My siblings and I used to have that movie memorized. :) So I can forgive you for not liking the book, as long as you...give the book a chance someday...far in the future if need be...but I'm not gonna push it...

      Heehee, I know how that is--not reading a book because it's popular. I actually don't think you'd like The Lunar Chronicles very much...they're SUPER intense. And the moral problems are just bad enough that I wouldn't want my younger sister reading them (yet, at least). So while I absolutely loved them, I don't go around recommending them to people.

      Books is the best thing ever!

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    2. Oh, I like the book Treasure Island very much, it's only that I like the Muppets version better. :) Yeah... my don't deal with intense stuff... I just can't take it. :P

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    3. Oh, in that case "there's nothing to forgive," to quote Aragorn. (That line of his. I dislike it, but I quote it more than any other line in the LOTR movies.)And I think it's neat you're able to say "I can't deal with intense stuff." :)

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  2. I liked Treasure Island, although it has been years since I've read it. I've never seen the Muppets version- I'd kind of like to see the animated version set in space, though.

    I read Donita K Paul's Chiril chronicles out of order when I found book 3, but not book 2.
    I need to read the Anne series again. Love that series!

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    1. (Eek I missed this comment!)

      Oh, yes, I've seen/heard of that animated version...and it looks most intriguing. I'd really like to see that, come to think of it...

      Ha, my family has a habit of reading/watching things out of order--we read the Lord of the Rings before The Hobbit and watched the second half of Ben Hur before the first. ;)

      It's a delightful series! Makes me want to visit Canada. :)

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  3. Oooooooh!!! It seems EVERYONE (even my more conservative blogging friends) are hopping aboard the Lunar Chronicles train!!! OBVIOUSLY I NEED TO SEE WHAT I'M MISSING!!! I feel like the only person in the world who hasn't read them! :D I know EXACTLY how you feel, though! When I read The Hunger Games (about FOUR year ago now, WHOA!!!) I was so out of my league!!! I had never read any popular, mainstream, YA fiction before and it was like a whole new world (that was an accident, I promise...)! I actually really enjoyed that trilogy though and I was lucky to have such a good experience because the Hunger Games trilogy is VERRRRRRYYY clean by today's standards. (Some romance, like in TLC, and some disquieting ideas set forth by the bad guys, but no language to speak of and no explicit content whatever. I think you would like them!)

    Ah, Anne!!! I love the first book and have read it OVER AND OVER again and it is just so beloved... I read the rest of the series once and there was just something, I don't know, OFF about the whole thing, so I'm afraid I didn't like them too much. I do need to read them again sometime though, just to give it another shot. That is so funny that you thought they were all one book! Isn't it odd how as little kids we can think things that make no sense like that??? Makes me smile... I think you will love Rilla!! Second to the first one, it was my favorite! It was the least "off," if you know what I mean. ;)

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    1. And ack! I forgot to reply to this comment last time I was on here!

      YES! READ THE LUNAR CHRONICLES! *ahem* I mean...yes, yes, I very much enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles and from what I know of you I think you would, too. :) Hmm, maybe I'll try the Hunger Games someday. (I've been resisting them, but the same friend who recommended The Lunar Chronicles reads The Hunger Games and I wouldn't be surprised if someday I just give up all my prejudices and dive into everything she reads that I pretend to disdain.)

      I know what you mean about the Anne books. You're not the first person I've heard say the later ones weren't that good, and I'm inclined to agree. There's something about them... I feel like Lucy Maude Montgomery tends to laugh at little kids' pranks and dreams and imaginings more in the later ones, rather than sympathizing with them as she did in the original. And I've come to the decision that some of her theological/moral ideas are "off" (to steal your word). But yes! I'm very much looking forward to getting to the library and reading Rilla!

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    2. Haha, you're fine!! I take foreeeeevver to reply to comments. I'm sure everyone thinks I'm nuts for even ATTEMPTING to reply to comments after like five months! :)

      Ha! I like The Hunger Games muchly... of all of "those sort" of books, I think they are actually an exception in that they are actually well-written and quite clean???

      That is so true and bothers me very much! Anne HERSELF is like, "Oh, I was such a strange child!" and I'm just like... No???? That's not right??

      I need to reread them to be sure, but I certainly didn't like them the first time. ;)

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