Tuesday, October 27, 2015

YA kick

I had to ask one of my fabulous local librarians, what makes a book "young adult".  It seems that many of the so called YA books that I have read, really and truly aren't about young kids.  In fact, some of them tackle some pretty big issues.  The answer I got is that books are YA because they deal with teenagers (for the most part) and have to deal with young adult issues - like high school, reaching maturity, etc. Put this way, it does make some sense. Ready Player One, although the main character is 18, isn't a YA novel because it does not deal with young adult themes.

This is an easy reading, fantasy novel with a bit of the mystical thrown in for good measure.  A good read for around Hallowe'en.  I enjoyed it.  I liked getting to know the characters, and I like the idea of exploring the "ley lines".  It is amazing that with so many words out there written, that it can be pretty hard to read about energy paths, different kinds of power, ghosts, and the occult.  It is much like religion - it comes down to a leap of faith, and what feels right in your overall set of beliefs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Yup. I am a fan...

No hesitation. I loved this.  What a sweet, coming of age novel. Although as I learned, there is an alternate universe of fanfiction out there in which the fictional worlds we love carry on, and that this is not truly a novel about fanfiction, rather about finding ourselves.

Left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, and trying to remember a younger version of myself when I first started at university.  It is nice to try to remember a younger, more carefree version of me.  Although I think about 18 or 19 year old self.. working 28-32 hours a week, commuting hours a day, going to classes, playing hockey, going out to the bar too many days a week, putting hundreds of kilometers on my car every weekend.  It was awesome.  It also felt like a delayed high school experience for the first few years.  It was exciting meeting new people, and thinking different thoughts, shedding some of my younger self. I am not sure if I was running away from myself as much as I was running towards myself.

This was a great book to read in a quick sprint. Not quite light and fluffy, but really engaging and very hopeful.  I think more of what I needed in this moment than Wool.  I am not sure if I woke up on the right side of the bed this morning, and it has been a quiet day at work.  It has felt like what I needed today.

I was all geared up to write this post, and I will admit to a certain reluctance to summarizing the plot. I enjoyed this book because it felt raw, and vulnerable, and the characters weren't perfect.  Well maybe our lead male character was a bit idealized, but truly, it felt accessible in the sense that people weren't too idealized, and their problems cliched. It is about moving out when you are 18 to university, and having your world shaken up.  Sometimes I wonder how things may have been different if I would have been able to afford to live on campus, how I would be different.  I think thoughts like that and  my inner voice is thankful I lived at home (no matter if you pay a different price) and had a car so I could get around.  I loved the freedom that my car represented.  I still do.  I still prefer trucks to cars.  Thanks, Dad.  It was hard the few years I didn't have a car.  It was something that bothered me but I didn't think about it because it wasn't a possibility at the time to have two, nor did we need two cars.  I think I prefer this blend of bits about the book I just read and the path that my mind goes on as a result. Isn't that what it is all about? Experience, how we shift as a result, what we remember, what we think is worth remembering, what floats up from our unconscious mind.

Then I think about time.  How fleeting it is.  How unexpected some moments can be.  How you need to hold on to time, and  how it can slip through your fingers.  I still love the poem by Frost, "and miles to go before I sleep".. totally about time. Now how is that for a spoken circle that wandered through the woods?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I didn't know it was another trilogy....

I learned that this is part of a trilogy when I looked up pictures to include with this post.  I am not sure how I feel about this in the sense I don't know if I would continue to read the books... but for no real reason other than I kind of moved on by the end of the book...

This is a well crafted, futuristic science fiction novel.  I enjoyed most of it, and I found that towards the end, I was ready to move on.  You could blame this on Ready Player One because it was such a great read IMHO... this one just didn't catch me the same and I found that although I cared about what was happening, I found the end of the book almost less engaging than the beginning of the book.

It  is good book, if I was rating it, I would give a solid 4 stars... however, I don't think I care enough to read the next two books.  This could also be my head space, and this could change at any given time. It is really cool that this started off as a self-published serial that gathered speed and became a self-published success story.  There are some big themes and ideas at play here.  This is set in a distant future, after humanity has all but destroyed itself, and has attempted to provide the "seeds" for the future in silos built in to the earth where people could survive until the earth's atmosphere is no longer toxic.  Of course questions can arise about how toxic the folks in the silo(s) become, as people slowly begin to grasp that their silos are not the only ones. It would be cool to sit down and discuss this with someone, but as I think you may have come to understand, I enjoy blogging about what I have read and whether or not it really grabbed me, but I am not all that in to providing a summary of the novel worthy of plastering on a book sellers website.  Frankly, I enjoy more putting my opinion out there, if it left an impression, and helping track my own mindset as it is influenced by what I read.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Interesting tale of survival

This is a completely different survival story.  It feels contemporary, and it does recognize previous similar experiences (Alive, the story of the Uruguayan rugby team who were involved in the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed into the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972 in which survivors had to resort to consuming some of their dead) although this survival story does not devolve to this point.

There are several poignant moments, and the characters are portrayed in all their flawed glory.  I like this - definitely not my normal book - but worth a foray nonetheless.  

The story of the protagonist's experiences on a mountain in the desert near Palm Springs with three women speaks to the resilience of the human spirit, and also to the mistakes we may make along the way.  Again, there is a thread of redemption, making errors in judgement, and of choosing different paths.  There is also an element of the spiritual, and there were some passages that really struck home.  If you are looking for a different kind of read, this is a fairly quick, well written choice.  You are told pretty early on that not everyone makes it, and there is a real twist at the end of the book.  I found it was just "long enough" that by the time I was finishing the story, it was time (if that makes sense).