June 2016 Books

The Poisonwood BibleThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stunning. I've been meaning to read this book for 15 years, and I'm utterly blown away. Vivid characters, with a villain who produces that twisted, dread in the gut, the bile of hatred. Wow. This book made me feel so much—horror, pity, sympathy, disgust, fascination, respect.

It's really opened my eyes. I didn't know much about Congo's history, but hearing it through these varied and honest perspectives has given me a window in.

The Princess Bride The Princess Bride by William Goldman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to give this 4 stars. I love the movie so much, and the tongue-in-cheek irony and satire in that is so much more polished and present in the book. Goldman's simple storytelling of the classic fairy tale tropes still makes your breath stop and your teeth clench.

However, I did find the "Morganstern abridgement" style of narrative disorienting. His aside comments I found confusing, because I had to deal with more than one fictional reality. 1) The narrative, 2) Goldman's supposed childhood memories, and 3) Morganstern's own notes and book. I found myself irritated and skipping those italic sections entirely. So for that reason it doesn't get a 5. I would read it again only if I felt I could get lost in the story... like Gaiman's "Stardust", but I don't think I would.

Ironically, when I have kids, I want to read them this book. But I will omit all the italics. All the asides of Goldman and Morganstern. Sacrilegious, non?

Red Rising (Red Rising, #1)Red Rising by Pierce Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So at the beginning, I figured it was just another Red Queen/Hunger Games, and plot-wise I wasn't far-off. However, the world-building was complex and surprising, and kept me intrigued and engaged until the end. I'm interested to see what comes of Darrow. Not that emotionally engaged, but his rage-motivated character is an interesting one.

And the author, curiously, never bothers to explain terms or technology. So even though you're not entirely sure what he's talking about, it keeps you in the story.

Golden Son (Red Rising, #2)Golden Son by Pierce Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent. A great sequel: new challenges, new victories. People die. MC gets hurt. And a suspenseful ending that makes me itch for book 3. Some parts I glazed over, as tactical explanations of U clarified technology can be hard to follow. But Brown's world building is exceptional.

StardustStardust by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lovely. I enjoyed Gaiman's similes and metaphors-- one powerful phrase is all that's needed to introduce a character. I love that. And such a magical little fairy tale.

The only thing I felt was missing is that Tristran always took things in stride. I never felt a lot of emotional reaction from him, unlike the other characters. For that reason it stays a 4 in my book, but I'd love to read this to my kids someday.

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling GiantsDavid and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Didn't know what to expect of this. Found it a little rambling---not exactly a drive-home kind of ending, but still quite thought provoking and a challenge to paradigms. Certainly won't ever look at an underdog or a giant in the same way again.

Would definitely recommend, for the unique perspective.

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great details. A coat with many sides--multiple realities layered within one another. Love and consequence.

I did find the villains a little stock. Not much rationale or human-ness to them. But great MC and sidekick. They had chemistry and kept me engaged. Interested in the sequel.

See all my Goodreads reviews