Book 539: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Guide #1) – Mackenzie Lee

After seeing this over and over being the darling of the book blogosphere and reading the rave reviews of it I figured I should check it out. I read a lot of LGBT literature, a lot of young adult literature, and quite a bit of adventure literature so I thought why not. And although I wasn’t completely disappointed, I was genuinely underwhelmed and for once it wasn’t the mood I was in. I’ll start with the not-so-great and finish with what I enjoyed.

I’m a finicky reader at best and have curated a pretty good system of choosing the books I read, including taking into account books that fellow bloggers who have similar tastes to me read, but this one just didn’t click for me quite like others have. I kept to my usual style of not reading anything about the author or the book after I decided I want to read it. [Generally I get excited about a book/author and purchase/reserve something by them and then I let it sit for a while so that I can clear my palate.]

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Books, Professional Development

Book 535: Nudge – Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

I’m really taking to heart all of the articles I read about the most successful people and I’m trying to read one nonfiction book that will teach me something every month this year. I just looked back on all my stats from the last year and I’ve averaged 16 nonfiction books a year.

I’m still not 100% sure what list I saw this on, but I picked up a copy back in August of 2016. It was probably when I started reading about the importance of mental acuity and keeping your mind sharp and constantly learning how to do new things. That or it was when I was dealing with some craziness at work and needed all the advice I could get! Pick any number of these books and you’ll see what I mean, specifically those dealing with conflict.

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Book 533: Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

This is one of those books that has been on my metal list to look into since it came out. For some reason though, I had lumped it into the same sort of release period as Ender’s Game and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and boy was I surprised when I realized it was written and released in 2011. I knew I would get to the book some day, but the movie release in the next few months, preview embedded at the end of the post, my desire to read the book increased dramatically.

I didn’t read it quite as fast as I read some of the recent Jane Austen fan-fiction, but I did get through this one pretty quickly. I found the writing simple enough to breeze through and my vague familiarity with a lot of the 1980s pop culture helped (even if I did have to google quite a few). The strengths, for me at least, were the realistic vision of where we could easily end up as a society within the next few decades if something similar to OASIS actually becomes reality. The OASIS or, “The Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation was a big place.” (48), is in essence an internet/game type situation that could include full or partial body immersion. Cline isn’t the first, nor will he be the last to write something like this. It’s a dystopian vs. utopian, good vs. evil, privacy vs. corporate consumerism story for the ages.

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Book 528: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

Of course after I saw the trailer for Love, Simon (embedded at the end of this post) I HAD to read the book they adapted it from. Who doesn’t love an awkward teen romance, especially an LGBT one? Seriously, just go watch the trailer so adorkable!

I’m not sure if I’m in love with Simon or in love with Simon’s hopelessness. I’m sad that books like this weren’t around when I was a teenager, but also so incredibly happy that books like this exist for teens! Was this a literary wonder? No. Was this a beautiful coming of age/first love story that anyone could identify with regardless of their sexuality? Yes.

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Book 525: Origin (Robert Langdon #5) – Dan Brown

I’m not sure if this has pulled me out of my reading slump, but I did read it. When I got the notification from the library for this I was surprised. I had completely forgotten that I’d requested this.

I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to read this, but I figured why not? Brown might not be the most high brow of authors, but the man knows how to write a page turner (mostly). I still remember reading The Da Vinci Code it’s year of publication and quickly seeking out Angels and Demons and Deception Point. Ever since then I’ve made a habit of reading his books as they’re released. I enjoyed both The Lost Symbol and Inferno, and this one probably falls somewhere with those two. The wonder and awe as the action in Da Vinci Code unfolded just wasn’t there in the follow ups.

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Book 524: The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet – Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley

Like the Damon Suede book I just finished, when I finished finally reading The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, I went to my local library to see if they had this. I didn’t necessarily want to read it, but the completionist in me was like there are only two books in the series so why not. So here I am almost two months later finally writing my response.

Let’s start with the bad: I honestly don’t think Austen would’ve wanted Lydia to be this likable or this redeemable. I get that Rorick and Kiley, and the writers of The Secret Diaries of Lizzie Bennet web series made creative choices, but Austen very rarely wrote redeemable characters unless they were the stars of her novels (i.e. Elizabeth and Darcy). Lydia’s comeuppance  was to spend her life with Wickham basically exiled from her family. That doesn’t happen in The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet and this isn’t a bad thing as it definitely makes this a lot more readable, it’s just not the same to me.

Now on to what worked great!

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Book 523: Lickety Split – Damon Suede

I hadn’t planned to read more than one of these, but when you’re caught up in the moment you can’t really control what comes through on your kindle (or you buy at a bookstore, get from the library, or… well you know what I mean). After finishing Hot Head, I checked to see if this was available at the library and it was, so of course I checked i tout and blazed through it.

Lickety Split, is sort of the opposite of Hot Head in that it’s set in super rural Texas and you’ve got small town life versus big city living. There are still some family hiccups in this one as there were in the first. I guess Suede writes what he knows with a big impact either way. He grew up in small town Texas (surprise, surprise) and fled for the big city at the first opportunity he could.

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