Sunday, February 01, 2009

January 2009 Book List

Where did all my time go? I guess I have to settle for re-posting this book list that I've been making since the start of the year. It's my way of keeping track of all the books that I've read so far, and while my thoughts here as not as extensive as I would have liked, I feel that they suffice.

1. Stick Out Your Tongue (Ma Jian)
Rich, visceral stories told in a sparse and straightforward narrative. An easy read, if by 'easy' you mean short. But the situations depicted in the book have stayed with me long after I closed the book; it's quite heavy and unsettling in that way.

2. Special Topics in Calamity Physics (Marisha Pessl)
Oh, where do I begin? It had a good premise but I found its narrator too self-indulgent. I found it painful to finish the story (for the most part, I wondered where the story was) when I had such dislike for the narrator. The author threw the reader a curveball eventually but while it was unexpected, I found it far-fetched. I mean, here was a first-person narrator who did nothing else in the rest of the book but catalog and judge events based on her literary knowledge, a narrator who loved dramatizing everything and she does not foreshadow this at all? Parang inutot lang nya yung twist. The best part of the whole thing, I think, was when the narrator gives a speech where she does not reference a single person (well, one, I think) and speaks for herself. I would still like to see the author's other works, though; I think there is merit to her. Just please keep me away from Blue Van Meer.

3. The Princess Diaries 10: Forever Princess (Meg Cabot)
End of the Princess Diaries series. Pretty light read, but it was evident to me that Meg Cabot's and Princess Mia's voices have matured a lot since the first book. It was satisfying enough if you're a fan of the series, but if you're just starting out, I have to warn you that not much really happens in the middle of this series. You might be in for a long 10 books.

4. Austenland (Shannon Hale)
Was only interested in reading this book because I like Shannon Hale's books a lot. This was pure indulgence. I think the author felt strongly about the topic that she was compelled to write a chick fic inspired by Pride and Prejudice (I swear, this in itself deserves a sub-genre of its own). But it's still a pretty decent romantic novel.

5. My Swordhand is Singing (Marcus Sedgwick)
After hating his Book of Dead Days and loving his The Dark Horse, I wasn't sure how I would feel about Swordhand. Very interesting take. I felt as if I was really there. Sedgwick's prose has a way of doing that to you. In the end, I wished there was more of the story so that I would feel more of the terror. I found Horse much, much better, but Swordhand's still recommended for YA fans.

6. No one belongs here more than you. (Miranda July)
Thin collection of short stories. Serviceable, with Sapphic undertones. She writes with a good voice, but none of her stories particular stood out to me.

7. The Little Book of Forensics (David Owen)
Nonfiction. Just a collection of crimes to illustrate the different evidence-gathering and crime-solving methods that forensics have employed over the years. Reading the cases is almost like watching a True Crime, only shorter.

8. Color: A National History of the Palette (Victoria Finlay)
Nonfiction. Highly recommended! I just wish that the entire book came in color so there would be more illuminating photos to accompany the already illuminating black text.

9. An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England (Brock Clarke)
Still reading this one. Teenager burns down Emily Dickinson's house. Serves time. Goes back out to society. Unfortunately, someone else has started burning down houses again. Reviews said that it was a funny read; I guess I haven't really gotten to the funny part yet. :P

1 comment:

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