I’ve spent the past month finishing my degree program at IADT and redesigning the distro website. Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time reading on my Kindle, and I’m glad that I now have a lot of time to do that. One thing I missed while in school was all the hours I could devote to reading – and now I have them back.
Here are two reviews of the books I read recently. I’ve copied the reviews from my Goodreads account.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: Harry Potter meets Peter Pan. It was an interesting story, definitely a page turner, and I loved the pictures throughout the book. I used to think it would be cool to take my antique/vintage photographs and write a story about them, so I was excited to see what Riggs did with it. Overall, I would recommend this book to most readers. It’s a fast read, interesting plot, and beautiful to look at. But I took off two stars for the following reasons:
1) The end obviously sets it up for a sequel. The main plot was not wrapped up at all. It ends so awkwardly that I was expecting there to be another chapter…but there wasn’t.
2) The character development could have been stronger. SPOILER ALERT! We only get to know one of the Peculiars beyond her ability – everyone else is just…their ability. Floaty girl! Invisible boy! Tree girl! I wanted to delve more into the psychology of the kids, but it never happened. /SPOILER
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto: I’ve read five or six of Yoshimoto’s novels, and this one falls in the middle. It wasn’t as good as Kitchen (which remains, by far, my favorite) but not as weak as Goodbye, Tsugumi. This is a quick read, and the style, ending, and pace made it feel more like a short story.
I like how Yoshimoto slowly exposes the character of Nakajima. I read on Good Reads that his big secret is revealed on the back cover, but I read this on my Kindle so I didn’t have that problem. I think knowing his secret would ruin most of this book, as the true beauty of the writing is showcased by that slow revelation. I also enjoy Yoshimoto’s simple, conversational prose – it’s definitely easy reading, which is something we all need once in a while.
Sometimes the dialogue was a bit heavy handed and filled with aphorisms. I guess that’s true of most of her work, but it’s been a while since I’ve read one of her books. I also think this is a very dysfunctional love story, but certainly not as dysfunctional as, say, the love story in Twilight. I did like that the narrator recognized its dysfunction, but she sort of pushed it all away in her mind because of her love for him.
Overall, I’d recommend this over some of her other books. It’s probably a good introduction to her writing style and stories.
Right now, I’m reading Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. I have a very strong attachment to Dana (the narrator) – she’s pretty kick ass, smart, and maybe my favorite literary character in a while. I love the time travel element, but I also find it completely terrifying. Butler has a way of transporting the reader right into the middle of the story, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Next, I will probably read The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing by Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards. I could really use any help in the writing area, and this looks like a good place to start.