Reading List 2017- Part 7

61. 1984—George Orwell—Audiobook

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Listened to this one, because I just didn’t like it the last time I read it. Thought that perhaps the 10-15 years since then may have softened my thoughts toward it, but that was not the case.
About halfway through, I was ready for Winston to be caught and shot.
He whinged and moaned about Big Brother and everything that was wrong with the government, and how he wanted to rebel, but how did he rebel? Having sex with a chick he’d just met.
I feel like the book could have been redeemed if he tried something big and went out in a blaze of glory, but he doesn’t really do anything. If you’re risking your life, may as well do something that matters.
I do think that it is scary realistic when you look at it as it compares to the way life is now. Was he a few years early with his prediction? Yeah…but it’s pretty dang accurate.

62. A Court of Thorns and Roses—Sarah J. Maas

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Sort of a Beauty and the Beast story, but not one where the author was lazy when they chose to do a remake of a beloved story. There are no paragraphs of text copied word for word, there are no scenes that exactly mirror the original book, or the Disney movie. It has parts of the story, but for the most part, it is it’s own story.
The heroine is a hunter who kills a faerie in disguise, and as punishment, is taken to live the rest of her life with the faeries.
But the castle in which she lives is under a curse.
There is a lot going on with wars in the faerie world, evil fae trying to take advantage of the weakness of the cursed, and the typical family drama.
I’m definitely reading the rest of the series. Or at least the next one. If it happens to suck, I may stop. My typical take on series…

63. Afterworlds—Scott Westerfeld

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I usually really like Scott Westerfeld’s books. But I had a hard time deciding how I felt about this one.
I did really enjoy the concept…One chapter is the story of a new author who has just signed a publishing deal with a book she wrote during NaNoWriMo. Her story is about a young girl following her dreams but also realizing that the life of an author is not quite as glamourous as she expected.
The next chapter is the beginning of her book, “afterworld” through a near death experience, and finds herself able to talk to ghosts.
The chapters alternate between “real life”, and the novel, and it’s interesting to see how Darcy’s life experience played into the book that she wrote (such as modeling the god of death off of a Hindu god).
The book explores some lines of cultural appropriation for the sake of a novel, how much of yourself and your family to put into a book you write, and the importance of balance in work, relationships, and life.
In all, I do think I liked it. It is a YA book, and as such, has a lot of the teenage angst typical of such books. But the overall story and the style of writing was different, and good, if a little dark in places.

64. Newton and Polly—Jody Hedlund

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A fictionalized story of the man who wrote Amazing Grace, and the woman he fell in love with. You have probably heard at least some version of the story of John Newton, who was pressed into the Navy, then served on a slave ship, was treated as a slave himself, then started selling slaves (not much for learning lessons, hey?).
Amazing Grace really means a lot more when you understand just what a wretch the author actually was.
I don’t know how much of the stuff about Polly was fiction, and how much was fact, but I know that I have read a lot of the details in other places, so I think that the author kept as close as possible to the truth of what happened.
A bit sappy in places, as christian fiction tends to be, but good overall.

65. Girl in the Blue Coat—Monica Hesse

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“When things come to an end in a way you don’t expect, in a way you never could have imagined, do they really come to an end? Does it mean you should keep searching, for better answers, for ones that don’t keep you up at night? Or does it mean it’s time to make peace?”
Another WWII book (I keep being drawn to them…). This one is about the futility of trying to fight against evil so much bigger than yourself, but the importance of each single person you can help.
Definitely not a feel-good book, but it is a good book.
And it talks about the Underground Camera, a resistance network of professional photographers who kept records of Dutch life during Nazi occupation, as well as other types of resistance groups you don’t always hear about.

66. The 100—Kass Morgan

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I read this because I have been watching the tv series.
Oh my goodness…nothing like the series. Half of the main characters aren’t even people in the book, and those that are in the book are nothing like the character on which they were based. Sort of weird.
I wasn’t super impressed with the book, not sure if I’ll read the rest, we’ll see. I think that if I’d read the book first, I’d not have watched the tv series…

67. The Poisonwood Bible—Barbara Kingsolver—Audiobook

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Oh buddy…I love this book.
However, I already wrote a lot about it, and you can read it here.
But I will say, read the book. It is so good.

68. The Last  Dodo—Jacqueline Rayner—Audiobook

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I don’t like the Doctor Who books nearly so much as I like the show, but they’re pretty good. This one is about allowing a species to go extinct as a whole, vs saving the last one, and having it live forever as the last of its kind. Which, if you have ever seen Doctor Who, you know is sort of a big issue for the Doctor.
Like any episode, there are funny parts, sad parts, parts you don’t totally agree with, and characters that sort of make you wish the Doctor carried a gun.

69. The Night Girl—Amy Cross

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So…Amy Cross’s books are weird.
This one starts innocently enough, with a girl getting a 3rd shift job at a nursing home. Not that weird. I prefer 3rd shift, because you don’t miss out on the whole day.
But then the story is told between present day, where she is seeing this girl that may or may not be a ghost, and 11 years ago, when she was a really messed up child.
It’s all told in the 1st person, so you’re only getting her version of things. Which is a bit skewed as you come to find. At first, it seems like she has outgrown some of her really messed up tendencies from childhood. But it’s all still there.
Interesting read about mental illness and whatnot, but very much a casual attitude toward violence that was almost too much to stick with.

70. The Last King of Angkor Wat—Graeme Base

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Not so much a book to read as a book to look at. Which is how most of Graeme Base’s books are.
4 animals are fighting over who should be king, so the elephant sends them on a quest to learn about true leadership.
The story is a good one, and the pictures are gorgeous. There’s a butterfly hidden in every picture that you need to find as you go along, and the borders are images from the elephant terrace at Angkor Wat. I have no idea how he gets so much detail into his books.

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