I’m back, from my months-long hiatus that I never actually announced, with another monthly wrap-up as though nothing ever happened!! Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain! After I quit my job and came back from vacation, I had a lot of free time on my hands. The reading slump became a reading boom, and here I am with seven books. I read three poetry books too, but I’m not going over them here just because I don’t have the analytical skillz to mull over poetry collections after I’ve just reviewed them. Maybe some day I’ll be capable of looking back on delicately worded abstractions and tell you what I think about them twice over.
I don’t even know why I do wrap-ups of books. I have to be up front and say that this wrap-up is going to be shorter than previous months’. Originally I had a summary and wrap-up section for each book. Those quickly disappeared, and now these wrap-ups are getting shorter and shorter. The main reason is I put most of my thoughts and impressions of a book into the GoodReads review. I apologize for the laziness of this entry, but I don’t feel like doing wrap-ups is really necessary or even much fun to write anymore.
Why do I have to review things twice?? I’ve been wondering if I should try my hand at wrapping other kinds of things up. I could start watching TV shows like a normal person, and then I could review the episodes I’ve seen here. Or I could wrap up video games as I play them, or music that I’ve been listening to, or stuff that I’ve bought and find useful. I could wrap up all of those things and showcase it here as one big monthly present. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet (clearly), so we’ll have to wait until November for these questions to be answered.
You instinctively know there are just some genres that are never going to interest you. In your well-meaning efforts to “broaden your horizons,” you will inevitably look up some of the genre’s defining authors and grab a book by one of said authors from the library when you have a chance on what you think is a free-spirited bookish whim. Soon, you’re fifty pages in and your interest is lagging because you can see where this is headed. You’re already disappointed, but you’re not even surprised. That’s what I thought would be my experience with this book. My experience turned out to be even worse.
My flirtation with the New Adult genre wasn’t even a flirtation. It was an ill-omened Tinder date gone wrong, and I hope I never see it again. I thought I could handle some cheesy moments, or a lot of corny romance. I was wrong to underestimate how infuriated I would become when I picked up this innocuous contemporary romance. I didn’t understand the characters and I couldn’t stand the main one, the conflict was contrived, and the writing was bad. This was not romantic. This was maddening. ★☆☆☆☆
I’ve never been so creeped out by nature in my life. Annihilation has that unsettling subtlety that is hard to come by. A worthy modern addition to the weird fiction tradition. This is only the first of the Southern Reach series, but I’ve heard the next two books don’t compare to the first, so even if I did want to learn anything that would help to connect any loose threads, I might not be inclined to pick those up. ★★★★☆
I usually shy away from Japanese writers because I haven’t any luck with Japanese literature, but this book reminded me so much of the Zen-like joy I got from when I was working in a café that I couldn’t resist. I found the convenience store woman in question, Keiko, and I had some things in common. I don’t know what the normie reaction would be to Convenience Store Woman, but I’m guessing it would waver between amusement at its strangeness and sympathy for the loner convenience store worker. I just thought it was so… cute. Keiko is constantly told she’s strange and should be ashamed of who she is and how she lives her life on a ridiculously (exaggeratedly) frequent basis. She doesn’t understand. After all, the convenience store provides her with a salary, a routine, and purity of purpose. A simple, wholesome story. ★★★☆☆
Wanna know something horrid about me? While I was reading this, I kept thinking the Harry Potter series as a young adult knock-off of The Lord of the Rings at its core. And that’s how I knew why LOTR is considered the basis of all modern fantasy worlds. There’s a quality to it that makes Lord of the Rings so definitive, so… paradoxically groundbreaking in its classicality. I rarely find myself rushing to complete series, but I immediately started to read The Two Towers after this. ★★★★★
I’ve seen some articles and lists tagging this book as a feminist book, but I didn’t think so. It was the honest experience of one woman, certainly with some observations particular to women, but I didn’t detect any feminist lens in Plath’s semi-autobiography. I read her collection of poems, Ariel, shortly after reading The Bell Jar and it possessed the same frank, melancholy honesty. ★★★★☆
None of the selected stories included with The Sea-Wolf really begged me to read them, but I was enraptured by the novel for a good portion of the book, a naval adventure on the worst hellship with a villain for a captain — until a woman showed up. I could have done with the two main characters, the ship, and the sailormen only, but London wanted to take his story in a different direction, and he messed up. It was fun while it lasted, anyway. ★★★★☆
Written in, yes, interview style, that backwards-looking confessional point of view (still am not a fan), but a highly entertaining story nevertheless. Anne Rice’s imagination takes us to ever greater heights in our collective perception of the dark world of vampires. She directly alludes to the incomprehensible and illogical allure of these undead who are dangerous and amoral, symbols of seduction and temptation. Someday, I might pick up the next book in the series, because it’s titled after Lestat, and I kind of need to know what happens to him. ★★★☆☆
Yay! We’re done unwrapping; now it’s time for a lil’ reading check-in. As of now, I’m 12 reviews away from hitting my goal of having written over a hundred GoodReads reviews by the end of this year. My 2018 Reading Challenge is unfortunately littered with children’s books I turned to in my desperation when I was still slumping (I shouldn’t phrase it that way, but that’s how I feel when I look back on it…), so I will gladly keep chugging along.
I’m also going to challenge myself to read the five books I voted on the list, “Books I Have No Intention of Reading,” which will happen next year if I don’t start this year. I’ve also compiled around ten books as a starting point for next year’s TBR, which I’ve shelved as my 2019 hitlist. This way, I can avoid any more wicked slumpsies at the start of the new year by knowing exactly what I should read and limiting myself to only choosing books from the nice list I made for myself.
See you next month, maybe! And if not, please don’t worry. I’m probably still alive. For several more decades, hopefully.