I've been really inspired by my friend Olivia's book lists so I thought I would write one of my own. These aren't by any means my favorite books of all time, they're just the books I've read recently, what they're about, and what I thought of them, just in case you care! :)
5/5 * Everyone should read this whether they like the genre or not
4/5 * I would recommend this book to someone who likes the particular genre
3/3 * Worth reading just to say you read it
2/3 * Not worth reading
1/3 * Hate this book
The Dog Stars
"How you refill. Lying there. Something like happiness, just like water, pure and clear pouring in. So good you don't even welcome it, it runs through you in a bright stream, as if it has been there all along."
Synopsis: A man named Hig survives a flu pandemic that kills everyone including his family and friends. He now lives in the hangar of an abandoned airport with his dog, Jasper, and gun-toting acquaintance Bangley. When he decides there has to be something more beyond his safe little bubble, he flies past his point of no return to seek out a random radio transmission.
Opinion: *4/5* This was the first depressingly sad book in a long line of depressingly sad books I've read recently. Yes, it's about the end of the world, but it's more about loss, grief, and healing. If you like happy books and happy endings, don't read this. If you like quick read post-apocalyptic fiction, read this. It's well written, creative and definitely on my must read post-apocalyptic novel list.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Johnathan Safran Foer
"I hope that one day you will have the experience of doing something you do not understand for someone you love."
Synopsis: Oskar Schell's business card reads nine-year-old inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweler, detective, vegan and collector of butterflies. And yes, I did say he has a business card. Oskar's father is killed in the 9/11 World Trade Centre attacks and Oskar enters and wades through the grieving process by following a mystery key left by his father. It leads him through New York City to interact with lots of strangers.
Opinion: *3/5* Don't hate me, I honestly didn't love this book as much as most people do. It's extremely well written, very creative, but it has several pretty slow points and it's painfully depressing. Given, I did read it sitting next to an idealistic pond when Nate and I were traveling for Country Jam, so I probably wasn't in the right mental place to read it. It truly highlights the depth and challenges of the grieving process in a beautiful way though and is worth reading, if only so you can see how much better it is than the movie. Also, my dog apparently liked it because he literally ate an entire corner off this book
"All my life I'd been told what to believe about politics, coloreds, being a girl. But with Constantine's thumb pressed in my hand, I realized I actually had a choice in what I could believe."
Synopsis: If you haven't already seen the movie, this book is a story about what it was like to be a black maid during the civil rights movement in the 1960's in racially conflicted Mississippi. With a light historical context, the very relational centered story shows the hate, abuse, mistrust, lovem attachment and dependence surrounding black/white relationships at the time.
Opinion: *4/5* I actually just picked this up after I ran out of books on a recent vacation. I was pleasantly surprised by how well written and engaging it was. It's surprisingly relevant, a quick read, and has some really amazing character development. I really really wish I had read this book before I watched the movie!
Me Before You
"All I can say is that you make me... you make me into someone I couldn't even imagine. You make me happy, even when you're awful. I would rather be with you - even the you that you seem to think is diminished - than with anyone else in the world."
Synopsis: Lou Clark leads a fairly mundane life until she looses her job, realizes she doesn't love her serious boyfriend, and starts working for Will Traynor, an adrenaline junkie who was rendered paralyzed by a motorcycle accident. In caring for Will, Lou learns a ton about herself, while falling for this cynical man in a wheel chair.
Opinion: *2/5* I hated this book. That cheesy quote up there pretty much sums it up. It's mediocre writing, I didn't like the characters, and I've never read a less redemptive ending in my whole life. I have nothing against depressing books, but there's usually some beauty or lesson or positive spin that comes out of the pain. This author seems to be trying to make the reader cry just to see if she can. The only reason that I'm giving it even a 2/5 is because I believe that people sometimes need to read books just to be culturally educated. I'm glad I read it because now I can tell everyone how much I hated it. Still haven't gone to see the movie.
A Man Called Ove
"He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had."
Synopsis: A grumpy curmudgeon of an old man with strict principles, staunch routines, and a short fuse loves to be alone and organized. When a boisterous young family moves in next door, we find that the below cranky exterior is a sad, but warm heart.
Opinion: *3/5* I liked this book. It wasn't remarkable, and in fact, it really just seemed like a glorified version of the movie UP, however the cynical man in the book reminded me of Nate which I liked. It's a well written, quick read that has some funny and surprisingly charming moments. There's some good themes on grief and love and relationships, but they're shallow and underdeveloped. Another pretty dark and sad book (I told you I've read a lot of those recently), but worth reading!
The Bronze Bow
Elizabeth George Speare
"Riches are not keeping you from the kingdom, he said. You must give up your hate."
Synopsis: 18 year old Daniel is bent on revenging his father's death by joining the first century Zealots in forcing the Romans out of Israel. Throughout themes of friendship, home, love and community, Daniel encounters Jesus in a way that makes him doubt everything he believes about loyalty and love.
Opinion: *5/5* This has been my favorite book for as long as I can remember so I picked it up this summer to make sure it was still my favorite book. It is. I read it in one three hour sitting and fell in love all over again with the characters, the plot, the underlying message and Speare's writing style! It's so basic, and obviously for children, but I just love the way Jesus is portrayed, how people encounter him, and how many parallels there are to our current politics. Even if you're not a Christian, this book is SO good. PLEASE order this book as soon as possible and while you're at it, read all of Speare's other works too. If you hate them, just don't tell me.
The Marketing Blueprint
"I kept wasting my time trying to connect dots that hadn't even come to exist yet. Because I couldn't map my future, I would never take any steps forward."
Synopsis: This is basically a step by step guide with practical ways to grow your brand. It gives lots of tips and ideas within the context of very clearly outlined chapters. Marcoux's own business story is weaved throughout.
Opinion: *2/5* I read this book because someone gave it to me. After starting my own marketing business I needed to start collecting information so I just picked it up and read it all in one night while taking extensive notes. I actually learned a lot from this book, but I think that has way more to do with where I was at and the things I was wrestling with when I read it, than the actual literary value of the book. It's nothing revolutionary and the author is only 22 years old and speaks French as his primary language. How much can you really know about marketing at that age?
Cripple Creek Days
Mabel Barbee Lee
"A miner has no choice but to go to where the mines are."
Synopsis: Mabel Barbee Lee tells her story of growing up in Cripple Creek, Colorado where she watched as the whole place turned to gold within a truly boom and bust economy. She tells of historical celebrations, fires, train wrecks and strikes in places such a Poverty Gulch, the Continental Hotel, and Finn's Folly, using a simple, engaging, childlike tone.
Opinion: *3/5* I never studied Colorado history in elementary school because I didn't grow up here, so I took a college level Colorado history course during my last semester and this book was assigned reading! It's a quick read and more suited for young kids, but it gives a really cool up close and personal picture of life in a Colorado mining town. I found the references to places and historical people incredibly fascinating and I feel like I have a better handle on the timeline of the state's "settlement."