on the shelf: my 2013 challenge so far

It has been four months (yikes!) since I have done a book post. It is certainly not for lack of trying. My book review notebook was MIA for about a month until I found it under my bed last week. I was very happy because I had a lot of reviews in it and quotes that I need in order to do these posts. I'm going to try to do a handful of books each week (I've complete 28 of my 35 book goal this year; 8 ahead of schedule, BOOYAH!) with briefer, less structured reviews than I've done previously. Who knows? Maybe I'll enjoy this format even more. I'm always changing, evolving, and dammit, so should my blog!

  • Age of Miracles Karen Thompson Walker: Told from the perspective of 12 year old, Julia, she chronicles what happens when the earth's rotation begins to slow. Not only is the length of days changed, but people's personalities begin to change as well. Julia's pre-teen mind is forced to process things she shouldn't have to at such a young age. Quick, engaging, and a real thinking book. Would you stick with the way clocks work in a 24 hour period or would you be a Real-Timer (awake when the sun is out, asleep when it's dark)? (4/5)

  • Open Heart Elie Wiesel: I'll admit it- I'm a total fangirl when it comes to Elie Wiesel's work. I read Night four times my junior year of high school. His experience during the Holocaust has most certainly changed how Wiesel deals with life and death. He faces emergency heart surgery and revisits his experience during WWII, as well as his life leading up to his surgery. Here are a few quotes that really resonated with me: At the time of the liberation of the camps, I remember, we were convinced that after Auschwitz there would be no more wars, no more racism, no more hatred, no more anti-Semitism. We were wrong. This produced a feeling close to despair. For if Auschwitz could not cure mankind of racism, was there any chance of success ever? The fact is, the world has learned nothing. Otherwise, how is one to comprehend atrocities committed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia...? | A broken friendship results in deep sadness, deeper even than what we may feel at the end of love. (4/5)

  • The Dinner Herman Koch: As readers, we have a tendency to grow used to the hero-narrative- we root for the good guys in the book because that's what you're supposed to do, right? This book gives you no good guy to root for. Other's who read the book had a hard time liking the book because they didn't like the characters. The author does such a good job creating such hateful people that my co-workers forgot about the rest of the book. It's a really quick read. It's very good. Don't let the lack of a good guy to root for turn you away. This is a very well written book. (5/5)

  • Play It As It Lays Joan Didion: The chapters of this novel are like vignettes that could easily stand alone, but are put together to show Maria's full collapse in the end. I pitied her and her inability to overcome her insecurities. It did not seem as though anyone around her was emotionally equipped to save her. Surprisingly, Didion's fiction is not all that different than her essays. She has a strong voice that truly resonates. (3/5)

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