Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Books of 2013 (Part II)

Brief update about my life: finished summer internship, back in Cambridge for year 2 of law school, and secured job in DC for next summer at a big law firm (which hopefully ends in a permanent offer). Looks like I'll be starting my Real Adult Life in DC. I'm excited about this. DC is a beautiful, vibrant city, and yeah, ok, I really enjoy living in our nation's capital.

Still working on the novel. I hadn't written for a long time, but in the past week, I made a resolution to stop spending an unreasonable time on Facebook and Netflix. I have nothing to show for it when I waste time that way, but if I'm writing, I'll at least have a novel at the end of the day to feel good about myself, right?

Anyway, continued books.

11. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
12. A World Away by Nancy Grossman
13. Without Tess by Marcella Pixley
14. The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory
15. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
16. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
17. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
18. The White Princess by Philippa Gregory
19. Hold Still by Nina LaCour
20. If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin
21. See You At Harry's by Jo Knowles

Best of the bunch: Without Tess. Blew me away. This is a book about childhood mental illness. Pixley is, without a doubt, an author who has confidence and control with language, and the book is interspersed with Tess' poems, which of course, demonstrate what an amazing poet Pixley is. (Indeed, she is, because I'm pretty sure she's won awards for her poems). The book reminds me of Life is But A Dream which deals with schizophrenia and how reality/fantasy blur in a terrifying way for those afflicted. But I think Without Tess is a stronger book, and not for those with a weak stomach. The way Tess both cements and ruins her relationship with her sister as it becomes increasingly apparent that Tess is mentally ill hurts to read. Affecting prose, though. A mix between literary and horror.

Surprise favorite: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. I put off reading this for a long time, and as frequently happens with books I put off, it ended up being amazing, of course. Ransom Riggs pulls off a creepy, delightful, rollicking adventure in the best sense. It's a rare book that opens the door to Narnia for an afternoon and you go through the last page being wistful that the fantasy must end. I can't wait to see what Riggs comes up with next.

Biggest disappointment: For the first time, it's actually hard for me to say, because this was a pretty strong batch of books. If I had to pick, I'd go with The White Princess. The Kingmaker's Daughter was kind of surprisingly good, but The White Princess was lazy Gregory. Although I got through The White Princess pretty much in one sitting--it was entertaining enough--I finished it with a strong feeling of meh. Just not distinctive enough out of Gregory's long line of historical fictions to be anything too special.

Currently reading: Code Name Verity. I KNOW I'M FINALLY READING THE BOOK NO ONE COULD SHUT UP ABOUT FOR THE LAST YEAR. But like I said, books I put off, I almost always regret waiting when I actually read them. I'm sure this will be the same. It's already pretty freaking fantastic.

Will I make it by the end of the year to 35 books? Only time will tell.

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