Book 481: Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

I’m going to go ahead and say it, this was better than Gone Girl. There, now let’s get on to my actual thoughts on this novel.

As with the few Harlan Coben novels I’ve read and even the few J.K. Rowling Cormoran Strike novels I have to ask WTF these people eat/drink/smoke to make them come up with these stories! I know a lot of them are based on some evidence of truth, but really some of these, especially this one, are some dark dark stories.

I had very little expectations going into this one as it’s been sitting on my shelf for a little over two years. I purchased it just after finishing Gone Girl and after I realized a little later that I wasn’t as much of a fan as it seemed everyone else was of that one, I put off reading this one and I’m a little disappointed I did so. There were enough differences between the two and this one I just liked more because I guess it was less psychological and more murder mystery.

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Book 480: Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood

I picked up my copy of Cat’s Eye back in December of 2011 and I’ve waited WAY too long to read it. I’ve been looking at my bookshelves thinking I needed to read more of those books and so I went back to my list and looked at the oldest on there and this was one of them.

I’m glad I read this because every time I read a another Margaret Atwood novel I ask myself why in the hell I waited so long between novels. I’m doubly glad I read this as it’s kept my belief that the short and long list booker prizes are more approachable than the winners. I haven’t read the 1989 winner yet, it’s Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day, and it could break that streak with how much of an impact Never Let Me Go left on me.

I think what has always drawn me to Atwood are her strong female characters, her awesome speculative fiction, and what seems like her fascination with age and aging. I thought it was weird at first, but then I realized that some of these novels I’m reading from the late 80s were when Atwood was already in her late-40s/early-50s. So it made a lot more sense when I realized that. Continue reading

Book 479: The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) – Lemony Snicket

If I weren’t reading this for book group, I don’t think I would keep reading the series. The exponential increase of negativity and darkness is too much for me. I’ve struggled with the balance of the darkness and the humor. Thankfully, the one person in our group who has read them told us that they’re not all as doom and gloom as the first few and that other story lines develop, so needless to say I’m looking forward to that.

This one was once again even darker than the one before, and the reason I wrote about the above. There was a scene where the person who was supposed to be the Baudelaire’s guardian offered them as a sacrifice instead of themselves and I was like WTF, this is just too much. I also felt the appearance of Count Olaf and the rapidity of the demise of the guardian was even faster than the previous books.

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Book 478: The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) – Lemony Snicket

I’m still not sure what to think about these. This one got so much darker so much faster than the first book. I’m also trying to figure out why these books are okay for kids.

I mean I get it, but it’s a bit overwhelming when you think about how dark and how dangerous these books are. Thankfully there’s a lot of (light and dark) humor that it sort of balances out.

I actually really enjoyed Montgomery Montgomery and was sad how that ended, but I’m continuously amazed at how idiotic the adults are, which really is why we’re reading these books this year because of the whole Trump elections thing.

What I enjoy most about the series so far is that Snicket’s language skills are incredibly great and with a town called Tedia (think tedium), Lousy Lane, and there are even more ways in which he plays with language.

Recommendation: The series is good and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m fascinated by Count Olaf and all of his pawns, but I’m concerned that we won’t get that far with these characters because these are children’s books.

Opening Line:The stretch of road that leads out of the city past Hazy Harbor and into the town of Tedia, is perhaps the most unpleasant in the world.”

Closing Line: “They stood together in the moonlight, and kept waving, even when Bruce shut the doors of the van, even as the van drove past the snake-shaped hedges and down the driveway to Lousy Lane, and even when it turned a corner and disappeared into the dark.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers.)

Book 477: Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It – Anne Ishii, Chip Kidd and Graham Kolbeins

ishii-anne-chip-kidd-and-graham-kolbeins-massiveDon’t worry, I’m going to keep this response PG even though this book is definitely X-rated!

I can’t remember where I first heard about this book, but when I did I remember flagging it to look into. I’m not a big Manga reader or erotica reader for that matter, but when I found out there was an entire genre of manga dedicated to larger gay men I thought it sounded interesting. It is read like a normal manga from right to left and thankfully my earlier dabbling with Jane Austen manga adaptations helped prepare me for that. Two things to note, the word “erotic” was replaced with “Japanese” for some reason in the US Library of Congress’ database and m cover has a different beefy man on it, also drawn by Jiraiya. Continue reading

Book 476: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Original Screen Play – J.K. Rowling

rowling-j-k-fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-newt-scamander-1I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. See the movie and if you enjoy it, read this. (Also how adorable this is posting on Valentine’s Day – Newt and Tina 4ever!)

I don’t know why I loved this so much. I think it’s because I was so disappointed in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that this one stood out for me. Don’t get me wrong though Cursed was okay, but it just wasn’t up to the same standard as the original seven books.

I fell in love with Newt and Tina when I saw the movie. I saw it four times in the theatre (yeah I know right?) and each time I found more to enjoy, just like the original books every time I re-read them. I know there were some plot holes and I know there were things people didn’t like, but for me it was perfect. The awkwardness of Newt and Tina and all the other characters just made me grin like an idiot.

Recommendation: As if you need to ask. READ IT. I found this a fast and delightful read. It also allowed me to actually understand a few lines where it was either hard to hear or I was distracted by something on screen.

Book 475: Difficult Conversations – Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen

stone-douglas-bruce-patton-and-sheila-heen-difficult-conversationsNow that it’s been almost a month I figured I might as well catch up on some books. I’ve actually made quite a bit of progress reading this month, given the facts of everything that’s going on and  affects my day-to-day work life (thanks Trump).

This book came to me from my current Human Resources Director when I spoke with her about how not-so-great Miguel Ruiz’s books were. Based on our few previous conversations she was like you should try this one because it’s more of a practical guide and less “worldly wisdom.” And boy was she right!

Even though the two books say basically the same thing, this one was so much easier to identify with and take action points away from it. This could have to do with the fact it was written by a group of Harvard University associated individuals, or it could also have to do with the fact that it was less spiritual and more practical.

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