“Here: an exercise in choice. Your choice. One of these tales is true.
She lived through the war. In 1959 she came to America. She now lives in a condo in Miami, a tiny French woman with white hair, with a daughter and a grand-daughter. She keeps herself to herself and smiles rarely, as if the weight of memory keeps her from finding joy.
Or that’s a lie. Actually the Gestapo picked her up during a border crossing in 1943, and they left her in a meadow. First she dug her own grave, then a single bullet to the back of the skull.
Her last thought, before that bullet, was that she was four months’ pregnant, and that if we do not fight to create a future there will be no future for any of us.
There is an old woman in Miami who wakes, confused, from a dream of the wind blowing the wildflowers in a meadow.
There are bones untouched beneath the warm French earth which dream of a daughter’s wedding. Good wine is drunk. The only tears shed are happy ones.”
- Written by Neil Gaiman.
Karen Thompson Walker, The Age of Miracles
Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things
So, I didn’t quite get to fifty books. 43 books and then, nothing. The back half of December was a lost two weeks. _sighs_ Alas. However! I did read a fair amount. My favorites:
Best Young Adult Novel
The Fault in our Stars//John Green
From my original review, here:I realize that this book sounds grim and rather morbid. “Why on earth would I want to read a book about cancer?” you might be saying to yourself. But that’s the thing — this book isn’t about cancer. It’s about very real, very normal teens who happen to have cancer, but don’t let their cancer define them. It doesn’t make you want to sing and dance in the sunshine, but it will make you smile, or even laugh out loud, often and think about your own legacy on this earth. The story is engrossing, the characters likeable, and the writing is poetic yet accessible. If only all YA novels were this well-written and engaging.
Best Post-Apocalyptic Novel
Blueprints of the Afterlife//Ryan Boudinot
From my original review, here: The book picks up well after a peculiar apocalypse (which was the beginning of the appropriately titled “Age of Fucked Up Shit”) and weaves a story which features a movie star, a film archivist, a mercenary and the nation’s foremost dishwasher (he even has the badge to prove it) and asks us to think about climate change, the impact of technology, the role of memory in our identity and what it means to be human is such a crazy, fucked up world.
Ready Player One//Ernest Cline
A fast-paced story that takes place in the near-ish future (2044) when all of humanity spends hours of their time plugged into OASIS — a virtual reality where you can be anything and do anything on this or any of the 10,000 or so created worlds. It’s a beach read in the best way possible, with ample references to 80’s and 90’s pop-culture and sci-fi/fantasy tidbits galore. It won’t make you re-evaluate your life, but sometimes you just want to strap yourself in for a fun ride, which is exactly what this book is.
On the surface, this is the story of Arthur Opp, a 550 pound former professor, and Kel Keller, a 17 year old with dreams of becoming a major league baseball player and how their live are connected by fragile threads. But really, this is a story about loneliness in the midst of a crowded world. It gives us two incredibly authentic and likeable characters who are so desperately in need of genuine human interaction and love that every moment we read about them suffering alone hurts us in a very real way. Yet it also shows us the impact that small gestures of kindness can have on a person, how important it is to reach out to others, to connect in honest and genuine ways. This is a story about hurt and loneliness, yes, but it eventually becomes a story of hope and rescue.
My 2013 Goals and Book Resolutions:
Cheers to 2013!
Every story serves a purpose. But forbidden books are so much more. Some of them are webs; you can feel your way along their threads, but just barely, into strange and dark corners. Some of them are balloons bobbing up through the sky: totally self-contained, and unreachable, but beautiful to watch.
And some of them — the best ones — are doors."
Due to lack of time/overwhelming laziness, I haven’t reviewed the last six books I’ve read. I keep telling myself that I don’t want to review any new book I read until I catch up on all the older ones, but really the only thing that does is keep me from reviewing any books. Still working on getting them all down. In the meantime, here are three reviews:
Peter Cameron, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You