Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Second 10

I've finished 10 more books towards my goal of 100, and in under a month, so I am still ahead of pace to complete my goal! Once again, it is hard to rank books because I liked them all for different reasons, but that's the challenge I've given myself, so here we go!

1 | The Host  Stephanie Meyer
I first read this book when it came out in 2008, and just finally got around to re-reading it. I enjoyed it just as much as the first time. It may not be the most well written book of the lot, but it entertained me the most, and made me care about the characters the most. Set in the future, where aliens have taken over Earth, and there are only a few left fighting to survive and avoid capture.

2 | Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art  Scott McCloud
My good friend Care teaches a course at Queens College CUNY on Graphic Narratives, and it's a topic I've been interested in for a while, so I've decided to read along with her class this semester. First up was this primer and explanatory guide on what the medium of comics is exactly. Not only was it super-informative, but it was really entertaining as well! I definitely recommend it to anyone who has an interest in comics/graphic novels.

3 | The Ape Who Guards the Balance  Elizabeth Peters
I've come to really enjoy listening to these books in the car as I drive - the narrator is excellent, and though I've technically read this one before, it's been so long that it's almost like reading it for the first time! I'm enjoying the addition of Ramses as a part-time narrator, and though Nefret is becoming quite annoying at times, there is an overwhelming amount of emotion and adventure that overcomes and pushes this book to the top of my list.

4 | Before I Fall  Lauren Oliver
I'd heard really good things about this book, some calling it one of the best to be published in 2010. It's a really well-written story, with a fascinating twist that I think is executed quite well - a girl dies, and then relives that last day of her life over and over again, until she can figure out the right way for it to go. Definitely a touching book.

5 | The DUFF  Kody Keplinger
This one I happened upon while browsing through Borders one weekend. The spine was brightly colored, and the cover intrigued me, so I opened it up to read the first few pages.  I was quickly hooked. I couldn't put it down! I ended up reading it in 2 days. The characters were very real and their issues were as well.

6 | Fire Study  Maria V. Snyder
This is the third book in a trilogy. So, did I read this immediately following reading the first 2 books in the trilogy, like a normal, sane person? Of course not, I waited a YEAR! I honestly don't know what I was thinking. I had to refresh myself on how the 2nd book ended before I could pick this one up, but I honestly don't think it made *that* much of a difference, except maybe I wasn't as invested in the characters as I might have once been.  My issues with this book are the same as with the others - the pacing is off in the beginning, and the plot is a little too winding. But other than that, I like the characters and the world this is set in, and the ending to the trilogy is great! Looks like there is another trilogy set after this in the same world, but with different characters, so maybe I will try to read all 3 of those soonish rather than laterish.

7 | Starship Troopers  Robert Heinlein
I'm a fan of Robert Heinlein, and I vaguely remember being amused by the cheesy, campy movie that came out in the 90s that was loosely based on this book, so I've been meaning to read this one for a while. Luckily, it is almost nothing like the movie, which I rewatched after reading the book and is rather terrible, especially in comparison. This book is concise and unapologetic, and really about life as a soldier and at war, about finding a place where you belong and a life that really matters. I really was pleasantly surprised.

8 | Misguided Angel  Melissa de la Cruz
This is another one in a series that I began reading several years ago. While I like the characters, and find their history and backstory really interesting, this book also suffers in the pacing department. I feel like every time the story really gets going, and we actually learn something, the book ends, and we are forced to wait another year for a new book to come out. Of course, I still keep reading, but next time I might wait a year or 2, so I can read a few back-to-back. And see, I've been so preoccupied with talking about the things that annoy me, that I'm just now mentioning that the cool elements in this story are the unique vampires, that are actually fallen angels that have been reincarnated over the centuries. Interesting, right? I wish they would capitalize on the awesome concept more.

9 | Matched  Ally Condie
There has been so much hype around how great this book is, and I was really looking forward to reading it. I love dystopian teen fiction (hence my Hunger Games obsession), but I really felt rather let down by this one. The romance set up seems to be a little flawed, and I can't say I really care about any of the characters, which is not a good sign. I will keep reading this series, but perhaps with lower expectations.

10 | Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife  Mary Roach
This is another one I was really looking forward to, because Roach's book Stiff is still one of my favorite non-fiction books ever. Unfortunately, this one just didn't live up to my expectations. I don't know if that's because there's not enough scientific evidence about the afterlife to say anything definitive, or because it turns out I don't really care what science might say about anyways, but regardless, I just kept waiting for this one to end. I'll still give anything Mary Roach writes a try, because she is an excellent writer, but I also won't be surprised if I end up disappointed again.