In February, I read 12 books. TWELVE! How is that possible?
I did start running out of steam at the end, if you’ll notice the steady decline in my ratings… and how I read only romance books at the end. Oops. Maybe I was just getting too angry to read. Who knows!
But also, I came to realize that after a certain period of time, I completely forget what a book is about depending on how much the book influenced me. If I only remember 5% of the books I read, have I read them at all? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Oh, oh. I have another one that a few of my friends and I came up with once while filling out a university survey. If no one is around to witness the walk of shame, did it even happen?
But back to the memory thing: does anyone else have such a spotty memory?
Truth in Comedy by Charna Halpern
Chicago is well known for its comedy scene, spawning some of our favorite celebrities today (cough Amy Poehler cough Tina Fey). One of the founders of long-form improv wrote this book loaded with exercises and comedy theories.
Recently, I’ve been getting more into comedy and the idea of comedic writing… even though I know it’s probably an uphill battle. For me, I loved this book because I love studying how and why people laugh. I’ve very little experience in improv, both attending and performing, so this was a fun, light read.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
After serving as a nurse in World War II, Claire is transported back to 18th century Scotland. Chaos and a very poignant love story ensues. It’s become a TV show on Starz!
The last time I read this, I was 17 and totally head over heels in love with this book. Back then, it evoked rather strong emotions for me and since I have the time now, I figured I’d get back into it and finish the series. I was also curious to see if the book had held up over all these years and all the books I’ve lived. The answer is that it kindsa did?
I enjoyed the book, but was not as engrossed as I had been back in high school, to my disappointment. I didn’t swoon over Jamie or dream about him at night–I’m serious, these things happened when I read it as a 17-year-old! Watching the show, however, did create that same sort of obsession. Maybe it’s because a re-read is never as good as the first time? Anyways, I’m hoping to dive into the sequels soon!
The Martian by Andy Weir
Mark Watney had been accidentally left behind on Mars by his crew and the next mission wasn’t supposed to arrive for 4 years. Using his wit and problem-solving skills, he has to figure out how to survive.
This was a highly-anticipated, yet surprising read. I knew it was going to be good not only because the movie was well-received, but because a lot of book bloggers like it. Having never seen the movie, I figured I should read it before watching it. Many a book has been spoiled for me because I watched the film/TV version first. What I was not prepared for, however, for the tone of the novel. It’s HILARIOUS. Even though he was in the worst possible position, the main character never failed to crack me up! The tone along with great tension throughout the novel made this book an amazing read. I would definitely recommend this.
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
If you’ve never read the blog Hyperbole and a Half, you should go read it now because it’s one of my favorites ever. Its creator, Allie, illustrates HILARIOUS childhood events and never fails to make you laugh. Back in 2011, she received a book deal and this is that book.
Ever since finding her blog in college, I’d been a fan of Allie Brosh. For some reason, I never got around to picking up her book. Similar to her blog content, this book had me rolling around in laughter. Her writing combined with the images she creates make for a lethal dose of humor.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
It’s the year 2044 and basically everyone lives in this virtual reality called OASIS, created by one socially awkward genius. Upon his death, his will states that whoever is able to find the Easter egg in the virtual world will receive his legacy. Five years pass before one unassuming kid (also socially awkward) find the first clue.
Guys, this was SUCH a fun read. I’d been floundering about for something that would transport me into its world and had almost given up before finding this book. Written for an audience familiar with 80’s references, the throwbacks Cline includes were pretty awesome each time you got it. There was a lot going on in the book because not only was there a plot happening in reality, but one that you had to keep track of in virtual reality. It’s more plot-driven action/adventure/sci-fi, but it’s exactly what I needed. I’m really excited to see what Spielberg does with the movie.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Each time Lara Jean loved a boy but was ready to put those feelings to rest, she would write a love letter to him and store it in a hat box her deceased mother had given her. But one day, she realizes that her letters had been mailed out to all the boys.
This was a cute, easy read! It definitely brought me back to all that high school awkwardness with dating and boys. But this book reminds me that YA love stories differ greatly from adult love stories not only in terms of physical expression, but in terms of the part of the relationship that the genres cover. YA romance extends the preamble to a relationship, talking more about the confusing feelings, does he or does he not like me, etc; adult romance, on the other hand, talks more about whether the relationship should be categorized as “serious” or more as a “fling,” exploring the depth of an established relationship.
When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
When she was 16, Maddie invented a Scottish soldier sweetheart to avoid pressures of London society due to her introversion and social anxiety. This charade went on for 5 years until she finally decided to kill off her sweetheart. Years later, he turns up at her door, expecting her to hold up her end of the bargain.
This was definitely an entertaining, fluffy read. She’s funnier and has more personality than most of the romances I’ve read in this era; one of her hobbies is waiting for her two lobster pets to finally mate so she can illustrate the entire lifecycle. Although entertaining, there could’ve been more development in their budding relationship. It felt like it went from “not into it” to “totally into it” really quickly, with an added piece of last-minute information about Logan’s background that could’ve been more interesting had Dare incorporated it earlier on.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Libby Day is one of two people in her family who survived a massacre, testifying against her brother as the murderer. It’s 25 years later and she’s running out of money, which she got as donations from people who felt sorry for her. Desperate, she agrees to attend a club of amateur detectives trying to prove her brother innocent. Each time she talks to someone from the past, they pay her a hefty sum; through her investigation, she faces a stunning revelation that her brother may not have been guilty after all.
After reading this, I… honestly have no idea why it was such a sensation. I didn’t really like any of the characters, but that hasn’t prevented me from liking a book before! I wasn’t that invested or curious as to who actually killed the entire family and even when I did know, it wasn’t that much of a revelation or that good a twist to have justified continuing with the book. I don’t know, maybe I was in a weird mood when I read this? But it wasn’t that thrilling!
Searching for Always by Jennifer Probst
Arilyn is a yoga and anger management teacher who just caught her boyfriend(?), also a yoga teacher, cheating on her passionately. Stone Petty, a police officer, is sent to her anger management class for his behavior on the job. And go.
This is the start of my romance novel binge, mostly because my brain was frying from work and non-sleeping due to reading the novels above. Oops. This was your standard love story. Nothing special about it, really. Hot-headed guy meets serene girl and somehow they work. The end!
Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst
Gen is a surgeon resident who is about to marry the Chief Doctor at her hospital when she leaves him at the alter. Wolfe, her best friend before the relationship, takes her away for some much-needed space. Turns out that the Chief Doctor had been emotionally abusive, leaving Gen with some issues to work through, while her platonic relationship with Wolfe evolves into something more.
I actually really liked this one.
Still the One by Jill Shalvis
Darcy is asked by her physical therapist, a kind Navy veteran named AJ, if she could help him secure grants for his patients at a conference one weekend. She isn’t keen on the idea, since he rejected her when she was drunk one night. But he offers her money, which she could use to rescue more dogs. At this conference, they get snowed in for a few days. You guess what happens.
This one was new because AJ has always been in love with Darcy. She was the one with cold feet, not AJ. A refreshing twist.
November 9 by Colleen Hoover
Fallon, a child star turned nobody due to being a burn survivor whose face is basically wrecked, meets Ben, an aspiring writer, when he rescues her from an awkward situation with her dad at a restaurant. She’s on the cusp of moving from LA to NYC and they decide to spend her last day together. Fallon has always believed that you shouldn’t make any huge decisions before being 23, so instead of trading numbers, they agree to meet annually on the same date, November 9, until they turn 23.
This one is a tricky one. And it’s my first Hoover novel. So many people talk about it, so I decided to give it a go. On one hand, it was a refreshing new take on the genre–I think the term is now New Adult (the genre is weird and confusing to me. Apparently, it’s YA-like adult fiction)? On the other hand, it definitely had some not-so-good underlying messages throughout the entire thing. I’m talking about insecure heroine needs to gain confidence through getting a boyfriend type messages. So take this one with a grain of salt.
What good books did you read?