February Book Wrap-Up

I made a goal to do more reading in 2014. I don’t have a set goal, like 50 books in a year, or anything, but over the years I’ve noticed I was reading complete books less & less often. Pretty shameful, for a librarian…

I also have enough social media sites to manage, so instead of keeping Goodreads updated, I’m keeping a running spreadsheet of the books I read in 2014 & blogging about them here.

In January, I read 9 books. In February… I didn’t read for 3 weeks. I don’t know really know what happened, I wasn’t busier than in the previous month. Part of the problem was that the last book of the series I read last last month was really, really awful (like, CHAPTERS about a 13-year-old girl working as a prostitute & it “not being a bad life for her”, awful). I couldn’t make myself read any more of it, then I just didn’t read anything else until the last week of February. What the hell, Piers Anthony?

I still read 5 books, bringing me to 14 (& a 1/2, counting the terrible rapey book) novels for the year, totaling 3823 pages + 1 audio book. I’m starting to feel like a real librarian, with the reading & all. 😉

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In February 2014, I read:

And Eternity (Incarnations of Immortality, Book 7) is the last book of the original series. It’s worth reading if you read & enjoyed the earlier books. Under a Velvet Cloak (Incarnations of Immortality, Book 8) is the terrible child-rapey Piers Anthony book, written over a decade after the other books. Did he get all gross & dotty in his old age? Under a Velvet Cloak honestly made me regret ever recommending On a Pale Horse to people, even though it’s a really fun, solid fantasy novel.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story came to my attention because I read that it’s author, Ned Vizzini passed away in December & had written some of the most popular YA books of all time. I am screening books for this summer’s teen book club at work & wanted to check it out. This semi-autobiographical book based on the author’s own stay in a psychiatric treatment facility is a very accurate look into suicidal thoughts & depression, especially what a teen goes through. I can’t really speak to how accurate a representation of being in a psychiatric hospital it is.

I don’t know if I should really give this spoiler, because it very much colored how I processed the book, but it’s part of a very important dialog. Ned Vizzini is dead. After over 15 years fighting the depression he so clearly describes in It’s Kind of a Funny Story, he ended his pain by jumping off a roof. It’s heartbreaking. There’s so much to talk about here.

Who would I want to read this book? EVERY single person who believes suicide is “the easy way out” or for “weak people” or for “selfish people”. Or family of people who deal with cyclical thoughts & depression. I’m not sure I could in good faith put it in the hands of someone who deals with this level of depression, especially if they know how the story really, truly ends. It kind of put me in a dark place, myself. But it’s such valuable work.

Now on to The Fault in Our Stars. Oh, what a book. This is another YA book I’m screening for the teen summer reading book list.

The Fault in Our Stars is beautiful. Sad, but in a true way. Not manipulative or shallow, nor at the expense of joy, or humor.

The book is about terminal cancer, but it’s not Stepmom. It doesn’t just go for cheap shots, rubbing salt in easy wounds to illicit a big teary response. It’s clever, with characters that you love because they’re fleshed out & you’re invested in them. They’re smart & they don’t WANT you to love them, or cry for them, or pander to them.

It is the truest & most natural teen dialog I have ever read. Laugh-out-loud lines, giggle-inducing lines, heart-stopping lines.

The Fault in Our Stars doesn’t follow the formula books about kids with cancer follow. Great, because I HATE that formula. Why do they DO that?! It’s not for people with cancer that they write these emotionally-manipulative shallow stories, kids with cancer know what’s on their plate. And if it’s for the general public, then we’re pathetic. Kids with cancer aren’t a story you can read so you FEEL something. I have shit tons of feelings every day, many of which are pretty awful. I don’t WANT to be gut-punched by cliches, cry until I’m sick, then just close the book & go on my way. I don’t want kids with cancer to dance for me, so I can feel something.

Do read it. You’ll cry, but it’s worth it. I don’t even want to say anything more.

The links in the post are Amazon Associate links & I receive a percentage of sales made after clicking those links. My opinions aren’t biased by this. All proceeds received from my Amazon Associate account go towards the kids’ homeschooling materials & supplies.

This entry was posted in Reading

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