Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Weekly Read: 18

Another good week for reading, helped along by a couple of re-reads and a book on CD. I'm happy to say I am back on track for my 100-book goal.

READ: The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening | L.J. Smith
READ: The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle | L.J. Smith
It makes more sense to talk about these two together rather than apart. Not only are the from the same series, they don't really stand by themselves as novels, to be honest - each one is connected to the next with lovely cliffhangers. I first read these books multiple times as a teenager, when L.J. Smith was one of my favorite authors. I then read them again about 2 years ago, when the vampire craze hit and they were reissued with hip covers and packaged in sets of 2. I recently decided to read them again because I have been slightly obsessed with the TV show that has been adapted from them. I remembered that events in the book didn't quite happen the way they were in the TV show, but to be honest, the TV show is completely different from the books. Pretty much the only things they have in common are the names of the main characters and their basic relationships: human girl, torn between two vampire brothers. However different they are, there are things to like in both the show and the books, and I enjoy them both. Elena is a strong and competent girl, and Stephen is brooding and self-sacrificing. There is a lot of tension in the book between Stephen and Damon, even more so than in the show. Damon is hard to like, but also hard to not like - we feel all of the magnetism that Elena does pulling as towards him, and don't really have the connection with Stephen to stop us. It's hard to resist a bad boy, because you can't help but want him to change. :) The main difference between the first and second book is that we get to know Damon much better through the second one - and we actually start to get glimpses toward the end of it that maybe he isn't as bad as we always thought. Yay! Also, the end of the 2nd book takes us someplace I'm pretty sure the TV show will never go. Since these books always end in such cliffhangers, I really need to find the 3rd and 4th ones in the series, so I can finish my refresher course. And of course, I can't wait for the end of the season of the Vampire Diaries TV show. :P

READ: Lock and Key | Sarah Dessen
As I mentioned in last week's Weekly Read, I previously felt very resistant to reading anything by Sarah Dessen, but only because it was something I would have picked when I was in my teen-fiction-reading-rut. It was more of a mental block than anything, and I'm happy to have busted out of that, because how silly! This is a book about family. What Ruby learns throughout the book is true: family means different things to different people; family is ever-changing, and we have many throughout our lives; sometimes a family is flesh and blood, people you've spent your whole life with. But sometimes a family is the people who support you, who appreciate you for who you are and love you unconditionally. This book is also about learning to trust people when all you've ever know is hurt, loss, and abandonment. It's about the importance of friends, whether you think you need them or not. And it's about trusting and believing in yourself, and never selling yourself short. Ruby is a hard person to get to know, both as a person and a character, but the further along the novel gets, the more Ruby opens up both to her family and friends and to us, the readers. It doesn't take long until you love her so much, you just want her to be happy. Nate is not just a nice guy, but a guy who is still nice, despite having a surprisingly crappy life. The rest of the characters are just as real and lovable, and they become a family you just want to belong to. I'm not ashamed to admit I was crying while listening to this on my way to work one day. I'll just say this - it was when Cora was talking to Ruby about her wedding. Yeah. Overall, I really liked it. I'm wondering if maybe I would have loved it even more if I had read it instead of listening, but we'll never know I suppose. Also, since it was taking too long to listen to in the car, I brought it in to work and listened while I worked Thursday and Friday, which made it go by almost too fast! But it worked out really well, actually.

READ: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls | Steve Hockensmith
When I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies last year, the first book in this "series", I was really disappointed. My hopes were high, and perhaps there was no way it could have ever matched them, but regardless of that eventually, the book fell surprisingly short. When I heard about the plan for this "prequel", however, I was intrigued by the possibilities of learning how Elizabeth and her sisters turned into zombie slayers, about the motivation behind their training and about the rise of the zombies. This book definitely benefits from the fact that there are no actual words for the book to be based off of, and is thus more unique than the first one. It was interesting, fast-paced, fun, and throughly enjoyable to read. The style as accurate as could be when combining Austen's world with that of zombies. My only complaint is that the new characters - Lord Lumpley, Master Hawksworth, and Dr. Keckilpenny in particular - were pretty one-dimensional and unrealistic. I had a hard time imagining either Elizabeth or Jane being truly interested in them, even if they were 4 years younger than in the original Pride and Prejudice. They were just too overly comedic and quite ridiculously obvious. Other than that, I would recommend it as a quick, fun read, for both fans of Austen and zombies alike.

STARTED: Tender Morsels | Margo Lanagan
I picked this one up while browsing the audio shelves at the library last week, but it's actually been on my to-be-read list for almost a year. I am a sucker for fairy tale retellings, and the reviews I heard of this one were excellent: a deep and dark reimagining of the classic Snow White and Rose Red. So far, it was been more of a challenge listening to this one than the previous audio books I've listened to. Add together narrators with accents, characters who speak an old english sort of slang, and a point of view that hops around, and you have a confused Rachel, sitting in her car, trying to figure out what's going on. After a few discs, though, the narrative sort-of settled down, and I was able to keep track of the characters and the action. And it's starting to get exciting! There's a bear! Who's really a man! And he's made friends with the girls! Anyways, I am quite looking forward to my commute and working this week, because it means I get to listen more. :)

STARTED: Whip It | Shauna Cross
Earlier this year, I finally got from Netflix the movie Whip It, which I had been meaning to watch for a while. I really enjoyed both the action and story and ended up watching it quite a few times, mostly while sewing and doing stuff on the computer (and by stuff, I mean mostly playing games on Facebook, with a side of editing photos). I remember reading when the movie first came out that it was based on a book, so after actually seeing the movie, I looked the book up and got it from the library. So far, it is a fun, quick-moving read, and has pretty much the same feeling as the movie. That's not so surprising, as apparently the author adapted the screenplay herself. Regardless, I am enjoying reading it, and should probably finish it up tomorrow.

That's it for this week! Up on deck next week: finishing up the Vampire Diaries series by reading The Fury and Dark Reunion, and then Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which is due back to the library sometime soon. Also, listening to more Sarah Dessen books! :) Happy reading, whether it be with your eyes or your ears.

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