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Thread: What's the last book you read?

  1. #1066
    I sometimes wonder if I'm too harsh on romance in YA novels and whether it's just something you have to accept in the current climate. I recently read Exodus by Julie Bertagna and I thought it was really fun stuff that I'd recommend for kids. It's set 100 years from now as the inhabitants of one of the few islands in the world yet to be swallowed by the ocean have to leave in search of a "sky city" they've heard may exist to the south. Bertagna does a good job of world-building for the most part, and she forces the reader to consider their place within history while testing the protagonist's ethical limits for survival. It tackles Big Issues like environmental change, class warfare, the ignorant rich, refugees, police states, etc. It comes across as a smart read with a strong female lead. There's even a whole sequence where she walks through a ruined museum and asks where the hell the world-changing women are!

    And then at the end she falls for the Mysterious Young Man with floppy brown hair and pale skin and INTENSE EYES, whose intelligence and technological smarts she needs in order to save the world. And one of the other strong women in the book is revealed to be a WOMAN SCORNED, the backstory to which makes her seem all the more nonsensical and ridiculous. I ended up really questioning how the author wrote women.

    I still enjoyed it a lot, but I'm wary of how the trilogy (gotta have a trilogy) will pan out. There seem to be newer editions of the books whose covers include taglines about love saving the world, and it's SO disappointing if she's really going to take an interesting Atwood-for-the-kids water-world and fill it with soggy romance. But then I just think maybe I'm being unrealistic to expect better and that it's just something that young readers truly want and don't find as silly as we do. But THEN I think maybe it's books like these that warp kids' views of romance and oh, oh, I don't know.

    I have The Hunger Games reserved so hopefully I'll get a chance to give it a look over Christmas.

  2. #1067
    see a sea anemone devnull's Avatar
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    I remember feeling the same way about love stories in some junk YA novels that I read when I was young. I liked it at the time because I was so curious about ~~~romance!~~~~ but all along I knew the sap was compromising something bigger. Nothing against romance arcs, it's just that YA authors in particular seems to really mess them up with cheese.

  3. #1068
    They can REALLY mess them up with cheese, and they often write them as if they themselves are 15 year-olds who have no idea what they're writing about. It can be character derailment in the extreme.

    I think a few people here have read Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and loved it? I read it for class recently and it just irritated me. On the one hand I like it because it's thought-provoking and stays with you while being really accessible for teens. But on the other the voice of the girl who has killed herself is horrendous when the romantic aspects come into play and she's talking to him via a tape deck calling him "baby". "Clay, baby, these tapes weren't meant for you!" The terms of endearment are so overbearing and weird given their limited history together and the fact that the tapes are being broadcast to a whole bunch of people. The character development comes out of nowhere - it's a predictable plot turn, but her suddenly going from Juno to Bella is BIZARRE. Baby! Baby! Baby! Ohhhhh! Blech.

  4. #1069
    and it sounds like all our lives Kari's Avatar
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    I thought the romance plot in Hunger Games was secondary to the other awesome stuff going on. In fact, I always appreciated that katniss viewed her romantic inclinations as more of a distraction and annoyance.

    Stillorbiting - I agree to a certain extent about the third book, but I thought it was a good ending nonetheless.

  5. #1070
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whappo View Post
    They can REALLY mess them up with cheese, and they often write them as if they themselves are 15 year-olds who have no idea what they're writing about. It can be character derailment in the extreme.

    I think a few people here have read Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and loved it? I read it for class recently and it just irritated me. On the one hand I like it because it's thought-provoking and stays with you while being really accessible for teens. But on the other the voice of the girl who has killed herself is horrendous when the romantic aspects come into play and she's talking to him via a tape deck calling him "baby". "Clay, baby, these tapes weren't meant for you!" The terms of endearment are so overbearing and weird given their limited history together and the fact that the tapes are being broadcast to a whole bunch of people. The character development comes out of nowhere - it's a predictable plot turn, but her suddenly going from Juno to Bella is BIZARRE. Baby! Baby! Baby! Ohhhhh! Blech.
    Never read it, but this post made me giggle. "Baby" is the worst.

  6. #1071
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whappo View Post
    I think a few people here have read Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and loved it? I read it for class recently and it just irritated me. On the one hand I like it because it's thought-provoking and stays with you while being really accessible for teens. But on the other the voice of the girl who has killed herself is horrendous when the romantic aspects come into play and she's talking to him via a tape deck calling him "baby". "Clay, baby, these tapes weren't meant for you!" The terms of endearment are so overbearing and weird given their limited history together and the fact that the tapes are being broadcast to a whole bunch of people. The character development comes out of nowhere - it's a predictable plot turn, but her suddenly going from Juno to Bella is BIZARRE. Baby! Baby! Baby! Ohhhhh! Blech.
    I dunno about the romance aspect of the novel, but overall I thought that book wasn't researched well enough. It was a good attempt at a serious subject matter but it fell short and the explanation was too concise.

    I wouldn't recommend that novel to anyone, really.

  7. #1072
    safely on a cloud tully's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whappo View Post
    I think a few people here have read Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and loved it? I read it for class recently and it just irritated me. On the one hand I like it because it's thought-provoking and stays with you while being really accessible for teens. But on the other the voice of the girl who has killed herself is horrendous when the romantic aspects come into play and she's talking to him via a tape deck calling him "baby".
    I felt the same way!! And then I had to pretend I didn't because one of my colleagues gave it to me as a Christmas present so I feigned enthusiasm when asked for my review (she's too sweet to shut down).

    As for The Hunger Games, I've only read the first book so far, and I found the story compelling enough to finish it within a day, but I just could not turn off my internal editor and ignore the comma splices, lapses in voice, clunky narration, sometimes-irritating characterization (it could be that I just finished A Visit from the Goon Squad before reading it, and that book is essentially flawless). I am planning to read the second and third books, though, just to see how the story plays out -- I actually did have a fun time reading it once I got past the writing (that sounds weird).
    ... here i am!

  8. #1073
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    Quote Originally Posted by tully View Post
    [...] I just finished A Visit from the Goon Squad before reading it, and that book is essentially flawless

    YES.

  9. #1074
    safely on a cloud tully's Avatar
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    Jennifer Egan is coming to a college near me for a lecture & signing and I've already planned my fangirl trip!
    ... here i am!

  10. #1075
    and it sounds like all our lives Kari's Avatar
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    That has been on my list of "to read" for a while now! I've got to finish the book I'm reading and Pale Fire and then I will get that one.

  11. #1076
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    I just finished Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis, worst book I've ever read. I am such a huge fan of his work and this was a sequel to Less Than Zero but it took me forever to finish. I cared nothing about any of the characters and the ending was so WTF.
    My face screams without an emotion

  12. #1077
    and it sounds like all our lives Kari's Avatar
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    I finished We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver last night. It made me want to tear out my uterus with my bare hands. The writing is amazing, but jesus that shit was bleak.

  13. #1078
    The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
    Good. Maybe very good. Simple quick read. It's the first I've read from Bender and I think I have a crush. I really like her writing style.

    I picked up, Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh at a garage sale. I'm about 30 pages in and finding it a very hard read! Not sure at this point if I'll see it through.

  14. #1079
    thundering blissful towards death stillorbiting's Avatar
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    Finally bought A Feast for Crows today. I'm a little worried by everyone saying it's the weakest in the series, but I am a very patient person. Secondary characters? Bring it. I trust Martin that it'll all be for a reason in the end.

    Oh, the last book you read, right. .... A Storm of Swords! Not much variation in my reading lately; too obsessed with burning through this series. It was my favorite in the series so far. Really well done!

  15. #1080
    This one's for a paper I'm working on, but it's so fascinating that I have to share it: The Curse of Eve, the Wound of the Hero: Blood, Gender, and Medieval Literature by Peggy McCracken.

    One of my favorite inclusions in the book, translated from the late 13th century's The Secrets of Women (I believe by Pseudo-Albertus):
    Menstruating women are somewhat sluggish and do not enjoy sexual intercourse...When men go near these women they are made hoarse, so that they cannot speak well. This is because the venomous humors from the woman's body infect the air by her breath, and the infected air travels to the man's vocal cords and arteries...It is harmful for men to have sexual intercourse with menstruating women because should conception take place the fetus would be leprous. This also frequently causes cancer in the male member.
    And there's more! So much more.

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