Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Books I've Read

This year/since I arrived here I have read a handful of books. Which I wanted to keep track of along with a bit of what I thought of 'em. This is one of those things I want a record of for myself as much--if not more than-- I believe you will be interested/fascinated by what I'm posting, but nonetheless enjoy:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Such an amazingly beautiful, if significantly sad book. I've loved all of the John Green books that I've read so far (as in I own multiple copies of more than one of them so I can lend them to everyone I meet who hasn't read them yet.)   He manages to pull off a girl's perspective of the narrator impressively well for never having been a sixteen-year-old girl himself. I didn't mind that the characters are a little overly-witty-and-wise for their age, mostly because I enjoyed their wit and wisdom I think. Plus there are very few books that flow easily between using mathematical concepts and poetry. It's awesome.

 "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities."
This is one of very few books to have made me cry (repeatedly). Yet I fully plan on rereading it as soon as I get home to my sloppily signed paper copy. Added bonus here's John Green reading the first chapter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_vFvbfn9Fs

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight By Jennifer
When John Green suggests books written by Nerdfighters I almost always go and get them on my Kindle then very mush enjoy them. This is one of those books and I did indeed every much enjoy it. I feel like this would be a perfect book for a long flight, because it was a fun fast read and largely because it centers on a couple who meet at the airport and get to know each other on the plane ride. Along the way to falling in love, they have some witty conversations and make clever observations and all. The narrator's point of view was slightly odd - maybe because I had just finished a string of books written first-person, but I kept getting a bit distracted when I realized it wasn't from her point of view. It wasn't that bad or anything, just lots of little wait-she?-aren't-I-already-in-her-brain?-oh-yeah-nope-not-in-this-book-moments.  In a lot of ways it felt almost like reading a movie, in that it was a very contained story - all taking place over the course of one of those can't-remember-the-last-time-you-slept-long travel days which overseas flights result in.  Although it's not classic lit or anything I would recommend it, especially to pass time in an airport.

The Paris Wife By Paula McLain
I was looking for something to read on my Kindle at the same time as I was planning my Paris trip so the title jumped out at me. Then I saw it was about Hemingway and his first wife, very exciting, because I'm trying to get my hand on A Movable Feast -- Hemingway's memoir about Paris (and still not having much luck on that front so far). I downloaded and started it the week before I headed to Paris at the beginning of the month.
It's one of those books where you start off knowing what's going to happen, as happy and in love as they both seem in the beginning, you know that Hemingway is not a guy famous for his long happy stable marriage. But it was well written and engrossing even if you know what's coming. McLain captures the artist-infested-wonderfulness of 1920s Paris, and Hemingway before he wrote anything of note, and the flappers who were "Decorative and unfathomable and all made of silver". I read it quickly and I really liked it, plus it made my trip to Paris even more exciting.

There's No Place Like Here  By Ceiclia Ahern
I've read Ceiclia Ahern's P.S. I Love You and Love, Rosie before and enjoyed both. Although she makes me feel like an under-achiever since she is not that much older than me and has published lots and lots of books including one that's been made into movie with very wonderful Scotish-pretending-to-be-Irish-men (not that we've watched P.S. I Love You multiple times since arriving here or anything, no that would be ridiculous, we wouldn't do that.)  I used the Amazon-Prime-Kindle-book-lending-deal-thingy to borrow There's No Place Like Here. It was fun to read a book set in Ireland right after arriving here. The geography of the cities and the late night trips to Super Macs were things I was becoming familiar with myself.  While the other books I read by her were firmly rooted in reality (and coincidentally also in letter writing) this one only takes place in hard-and-firm-reality half the time. The land of Here where everything from lost socks and earrings to people who were never found end up was quite interesting.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins 
Continuing the theme of books written by Nerd Fighters, Stephanie Perkins released Anna and the French Kiss last year around Christmas and John Green recommended it (it was actually the first book I got on my Kindle).  Then this Christmas when I went to get a copy for a friend I saw she had published another book, so I got that too. I started it on the plane and I very much enjoyed it. Although I would say that I liked Anna a little bit more than Lola, but that most likely had a great deal to do with the fact Anna is set Paris and Lola in San Francisco, because Paris has a much more enchanting and romantic character and I've had the chance to visit the landmarks Anna explores. The boy-next-door is quite charming and little things like his hair puff and happy dance were cute nods to the Vlogbrothers. (DFTBA ^_^) His knack for creating gadgets sparks her to point out that "Just because something isn't practical doesn't mean it's not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough." Lola's quirks made her a little too charactery to be a really great character, but nonetheless I still very much liked the book. (I also really really like the fact that nonetheless is one word.)

Having read lots of great fun fast reads lately, my inner lit major decided I needed to balance that out with a Russian novel. So I've started Anna Karenina on my Kindle (it's much easier to carry around huge books when they are not in fact huge) So far I have read 3% and can keep about the same percentage of their names straight, but I'm also honestly enjoying it as well. It's got one of those famous opening lines: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." And my favorite books tend to have great first lines as well, what with "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." and "They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days." (or perhaps it's just the I like Daphne Du Maurier and she's got killer first lines)
I'll post about Anna Karenina whenever I manage to conquer it, along with whatever else I end up reading in the mean time. Books suggestions are always welcome (even ones that aren't from John Green). 


  1. I absolutely ADORE Anna Karenina. When I was a sr. in high school we read it and I devoured it and loved it so much that the teacher gave me the class copy to keep. (I also enjoyed your nod to Rebecca - have you, by any chance, read "Mrs. DeWinter"? It's a sequel by another author, it's fairly famous, but I want to know if it's good before I read it.)

    Also, on the Moveable Feast/Hemingway note, did you see Midnight in Paris??

  2. I'm enjoying Anna Kareninia so far and I'd love to hear if you remember any of the themes or whatever they pointed out in your class Lotus :) And I'll check out Mrs DeWinter. I really liked Midnight in Paris with all the great 1920s peoples populating it!