Books

Book 498: Remember How I Told You I Loved You? – Gillian Linden

I’m not sure why I picked this up back in January 2014, but I did. It was either the sadness in the title or the open envelopes on the front. I had no recollection of it being short stories as I rarely read them. And yet even when I went to read this, because I wanted a quick read before vacation, I was surprised they were short stories and it says STORIES on the front!

Honestly, this book disappointed me. There were two beautiful quotes, but overall I found the stories to be lacking and somewhat stunted. Many of the stories loosely tied together and I felt it distracted from what could’ve been a wonderful collection of (somewhat depressing) coming of age stories.

“Homesick is how Karen feels, though she doesn’t miss home, more like an earlier version of herself, a person who, in her memory is hardworking, starightforward, pure.” (Common Rooms, 12)

“Lewis and I decided this last night and it was a relief. Not everything has to do with me. Even the things that have something to do with me, like this contract, don’t have much to do with me.” (Sam, 87)

I would rather have not wondered if everyone was connected (and I could be wrong).

All of this being said, I think what bothered me the most about the short stories was that really good short stories to me, leave you curious about everything before and after, but simultaneously leave you feeling fulfilled. These did not, partially because there were characters that were either the same character or one with the same name and it was like wait what, is this a continuation? And partially because they just didn’t feel complete with the exception of Common Rooms, it was by far the strongest and it was the lead of the book.

Recommendation: Pass unless you are really interested in college coming of age stories or really interested in short stories.

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Books

Book 496: The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events #13) – Lemony Snicket

The End.

I think that’s about all you can say about this book. It wasn’t as disappointing as I though it would be, but it also wasn’t the ending I wanted/needed for a 13 book series investment. Perhaps, Snicket hit it on the head with the final line of the book, which doesn’t spoil anything because there was a 14th chapter.

“Under the circumstances, it is the best for which you can hope.”

I’m not convinced it was the best for which I could’ve hoped for, but I think it’s the most I was going to get. If these books would’ve been difficult to read or any more of a time commitment, I would probably be angry about the ending or even disappointed, but because they were quick reads and mostly easy to understand it didn’t feel like too much of an investment. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS, skip to the Recommendation if you don’t want spoilers.

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Books

Book 495: The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12) – Lemony Snicket

And now I’m starting to wonder if ANYTHING is going to be wrapped up. I mean I was already wondering this, but I honestly felt like this book didn’t really take us anywhere. It brought together a lot of people from the series, but for what reason!? But can I be mad at Snicket, it’s like he is warning us:

“Each mystery the Baudelaires discovered only revealed another mystery, and another, and another, and several more, and another, as if the three siblings were diving deeper and deeper into a pond, and all the while the city lay calm on the surface, unaware of all the unfortunate events in the orphans’ lives.” (Loc. 213)

But still, I’m not 100% sure I’m okay with a series that doesn’t wrap up everything. I can sort of get on board with a sad mopey series, but an incomplete/unfinished one, no thank you.

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Books

Book 493: The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11) – Lemony Snicket

Okay, so maybe it’s because I’m binge reading these, but I can’t stop saying OMG OMG OMG. So many cliff hangers and “say what’s,” I should’ve put all of the books on hold at the same time. I’m still waiting for the last two as I write this but I should get them any day and hopefully will have read them by time this post publishes. Fingers crossed at least.

We’re in the thick of the mystery aspect of this series and the plot continues to become more convoluted. It’s hard to say who is or isn’t alive and how long they’ve been so. There was a reveal at the end of this book that I think is leading to something that I’ve been waiting for since my friend let something drop that wasn’t really a spoiler but a is this going to happen or not type question.

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Books

Book 492: The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10) – Lemony Snicket

Again with the cliff hangers and the sudden reveals?! It’s like Snicket figured out people were getting bored or he was playing the long game and waiting to reveal everything in the last half of the series making it worth the trudge through!

Similar to The Carnivorous Carnival, I was excited to see the Baudelaire’s being separated and having to work on their own to solve problems. Since we’re seeing this through Sunny in the last book and this book, it’s definitely felt more like character progression than Klaus’ and Violet’s interests in reading/researching and inventing that were built in from The Bad Beginning. Don’t get me wrong it sucks they are separated and Count Olaf seems to be getting closer and closer to achieving his goals, but they’re verging on real peopleness now!

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Books

Book 491: The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events #9) – Lemony Snicket

Not to set the standards to high, but this may be the darkest of the books, which is saying something after The Wide Window and the kids being offered up by their guardian for death instead of the guardian. I’m not sure if it has to do with this book hitting the closest home to our current state of affairs in the US, or if it just hit home to me.

As I keep saying, and as is to be expected, the story and the characters are continuing to evolve and become more complex. The Baudelaire’s took charge at the end of the last novel and took their own fate into their hands and ended up following Count Olaf and his troop of evil-doers this time rather than the other way around. But what I took from this story wasn’t even the moving forward of the series, it finally clicked why we are reading this series this year after Trump’s election.

This book takes place in a carnival, shocking detail right, and the big focus is on the freak show of the carnival, but when it comes down to it it’s not really a freak show, it’s a prejudice show. And with the way we talk about anyone and everyone in today’s media and everyday conversation it sort of hit me that Snicket was just amplifying what was actually happening in the U.S. to idiotic proportions and yet that’s where we are now. When I read,  Continue reading “Book 491: The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events #9) – Lemony Snicket”

Books

Book 490: The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events #8) – Lemony Snicket

Now we’re going places!

I know I said this with the last book, but things are definitely starting to pick up with the Baudelaire orphans and I’m thoroughly enjoying the series now. I’m not sure if it’s because Snicket appears to be writing more to include the adults who probably read these to younger children or if there is something more to it.

In this novel he lists a few of Virginia Woolf’s iconic characters (Orlando and Clarissa Dalloway) and he even randomly name checks two of arguably the most famous non-English authors out there Mikhail Bulgakov and Haruki Murakami as patients in the hospital.

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