Friday, August 7, 2015

2015 | Book Challenge No.2

I currently have a monstrous stack of library books beside my bed waiting to be read and I've poured all my literary focus into those instead of writing about the ones I've already read (oops). With the fall semester fast approaching it's time to get through the posts sitting idly in my drafts folder and write about the remaining borrowed books on my shelves.

further reading: intro / part 1

6. A graphic novel - The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
I had never read a graphic novel before but decided to try one of Neil Gaiman's as I have loved everything else by him that I've read. To my surprise I really enjoyed it and even read the next three novels in the Sandman chronology. Preludes & Nocturnes, the first of the series, follows Dream, one of the Endless, after he escapes the captivity of  a magician and tries returning to his home realm, only to discover that it has fallen to ruins and he must recover his totems of power. The illustrations are fantastic and the dialogue is dark yet comical, and the series once again solidifies Gaiman as one of today's great writers.

7. A book written by someone under 30 - Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
I was highly sceptical of reading Dunham's book as, from what I knew about her, I wasn't a huge fan of hers, and after reading her book I can conclusively say I dislike her. Her writing style is certainly engaging but I didn't enjoy its content. Dunham seems to have no purpose to her book other than to share her "crazy" sex life and quirky personal anecdotes, but instead of sounding funny or amusing she comes across as over-privileged and self-obsessed. In addition, the subtitle is a misnomer as she does not appear to learn anything throughout her experiences. While I think Dunham has some good opinions re: feminism I do not enjoy her brand of entertainment and will continue to stay away from her productions in the future.

8. A book by an author you've never read before - The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
I've heard for several years now how good Barnes' 2011 novel is, and I finally got a chance to read it during a layover in LGA. Though The Sense of an Ending is not even 200 pages long it holds a substantial amount of material. Split into two parts and narrated by a retired man named Tony Webster, the book recounts his schooltime friendship with a student named Adrian Finn and the ensuing results. The first half details his school days while the second half jumps into the future with Tony as a older man seeing how his past has caught up to him. Barnes is a phenomenal writer, making The Sense of an Ending a wonderful reading experience despite its abrupt ending.

9. A book that came out the year you were born - Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore
Lorrie Moore's short novel makes for a quick, intriguing read despite its general lack of a plotline. Instead, Moore uses her 160 pages as a walk through memory lane for her main character/narrator Benoite-Marie (Berie). Berie, vacationing in Paris, looks back on her summertime adolescence in 1972 where she worked at a theme park with her best friend Silsby. Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? covers events from Berie and Sils' bestfriendship to Sils dating life to Sils' subsequent departure from Berie's life and their eventual reconnection at their high school reunion. It's a short and bittersweet tale, but worth a read.

10. A book by a female author - #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
With a title like "Girl Boss" I was hoping for something like Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In, an inspiring read about women in the workforce. Instead, #Girlboss is more like a personal memoir with some career advice thrown in between the chapters. Though not the book I'd hoped it to be, #Girlboss is still an enjoyable read, as Amoruso takes the reader through her journey from thief to organiser of an eBay shop to CEO of a multi-million dollar company. Her humour and her enthusiasm for her current work take what is otherwise lackluster advice and turn it into an entertaining read.

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