Book 326: What Matters in Jane Austen? – John Mullan

Mullen, John - What Matters in Jane AustenNeither a bad end to 2014, nor a bad start to 2015, this was well worth the read. It wasn’t all I thought it would be, but considering it was a galley I got ages ago (2012 I think) and never read (Sorry!) I’m glad I finally read it. I think I’m going to spend a lot of time with Austen this year. A few friends and I are doing a Jane Austen book club and I have quite a bit of non-fiction I’m looking forward to reading about Austen and her life. I hope everyone sticks with me throughout! I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and received nothing in return for my honest response.

What worked best for this book was the selecting of 20 themes and then talking about them across Austen’s novels. I’ve read all of her novels at least once and a few of them much more. You can look at the chapter titles to see the themes, but the ones that stood out most to me where when Mullan spoke about Austen’s mastery of novels and groundbreaking skills as a writer.

“She did things with fiction that had never been done before. She did things with characterization, with dialogue, with English sentences, that had never been done before.”

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Book 71: Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal – J.K. Rowling

Rowling, JK - Harry Potter y la piedra filosofalI’ve had a copy of this book on my bookshelf since undergrad. I bought it when I was still taking Spanish classes and could probably have read it a hell-of-a-lot easier back then that now, but I never made it past the first few chapters no matter how many times I tried. This time, with my 30th birthday looming and it being one of the final three items on my 30×30 list I pushed through and finished it!

I’ll talk more about reading it in Spanish in my 30×30 item post, this is just a recap of the story. This is the second time I’ve read the first Harry Potter book while blogging, the first was back in July 2012. And as with every time I re-read the first novel in the series I’m amazed at how much world-building (adapting) Rowling does in such a short novel. Sure she spreads it out over the first few, but introducing so may ideas and people within such a short span AND telling a story wow.

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Book 69: Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan

Levithan, David - Boy Meets BoyI was not as enamored with Boy Meets Boy as I was with Levithan’s other books. It was just as humorous as Will Grayson, Will Grayson but it wasn’t as beautiful as portions of it, nor as incredibly moving as Two Boys Kissing, but I am glad I read it.

From the cross dressing quarterback to the school’s bookie, Levithan definitely writes personable characters, but I just couldn’t get drawn in like I have with his other novels. I’m still debating on if it had to do with the “magical” aspects of “everything is perfect in Paul’s world” and all of his dramas seem self-created. But it could also have been that when I’ve loved Levithan in the past it has been when he wrote stories and characters that were so far above and beyond emotional comprehension.

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Book 67: Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

Green, John and David Levithan - Will Grayson, Will GraysonI’m not sure how David Levithan went so far under my radar for so long. Seriously, I’ve read two books by him (with a third on my shelf) and I’ve seriously enjoyed both and it doesn’t hurt I pronounce his name Leviathan no matter how many times I read it.  As for John Green, the only thing I know about him is that he wrote The Fault In Our Stars which until I finished this novel I’ve had no desire to even look into.

I can’t remember whose blog I saw this on, but I knew I needed to read it when I read the synopsis and I finally got a copy from my local library. It was a quick and hilarious read, even if I didn’t like the lack of capitalization in half the book which is funny as that’s the portion by Levithan. according to Wikipedia, they split the book evenly and it worked perfectly. The juxtaposition of the two styles and stories was perfectly balanced and the final scene had me in tears.

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Book 65: The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus #5) – Rick Riordan

Riordan, Rick - The Blood of OlympusThis is one of those books that I probably should’ve re-read the entire series before reading. So much has happened in the novels, especially if you go all the way back to the first Percy Jackson book, but even just within the five books of this series it’s been a long journey.

As much as I want to say this was the best book in the series, I honestly think The House of Hades was better. And this is for a couple of reasons. If possible The Blood of Olympus had TOO much action. I get that this is the end of a series which is a spin-off/second half of another series, but this book just didn’t stop with the epic battles. Sure they’re facing the end of the world and Riordan said it best,

“Today, one way or another, their journey would end.” (378)

But honestly, the book left me exhausted and not in a good way. It felt like there was so much that happened off the page that I couldn’t keep track of who was where and what was happening. There are spoilers to the series and this book so don’t read past here if you’re planning to read it.

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