Wednesday, December 10, 2014

toilettereads: November 2014

Also, a video showing other books I got in November:

Not that I read a whole lot or anything. I fell sick for the first week of November, and while you might think that such a situation would've been a perfect opportunity to catch up on my reading, whooo boy, lemme tell you, it totally wasn't. This was the kind of sick with a high fever that induced a migraine for two days. It was not cool at all. Nevertheless, I at least still managed to get some reading done.

Deets under the cut, and no spoilers, so it's all safe.

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones is an incredible storyteller. I read this book's sequel and companion novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed both. Howl's Moving Castle was no exception. Like most of my friends, I had seen the Miyazaki film adaptation before reading the original book. Typically, I avoid reading books whose movie adaptations I've already seen because I tend to lose interest in the book after seeing the film, but this didn't bother me at all. The film actually deviates from the book about halfway, yet both still hold their own, which I think is pretty awesome because for the original novel and its film adaptation to both get love is somewhat rare.

The way Howl is portrayed in the book feels even vainer than the film, and yet this somehow, for some reason that escapes me, makes him even more endearing and attractive. In the real world, he would definitely come off as a lousy douche, but there's something about him -- maybe it's the author's own magic -- that makes him loveable. CALCIFER ESPECIALLY!!! I highly, highly recommend fans of the anime film to pick up this book; it's wonderful and magical and such a joy to read. I loved Howl's Moving Castle so much that I actually stopped reading for about another week just so I could savor the story and really let it simmer in my mind. It was that good.

Riding Icarus by Lily Hyde

I wanted to continue with the 'magical' theme so I picked this up. It reminded me a little of China Mieville's Un Lun Dun (which I also enjoyed) because of the sort of alternate universe theme. Un Lun Dun had an alternate London, whereas Riding Icarus featured a magical alternate Ukraine. I had never read any books that were set in Ukraine prior to this one, so it was interesting to have some kind of insight of it with this novel. The ending of this book felt a little rushed; I felt like stretching it out would have done the book good and would have tied any loose ends.

Lullabies by Lang Leav

Like her first book, I did not particularly connect with Lullabies. However, if I had to choose between the two, I might go for Lang Leav's first book. The voice in the first part of Lullabies felt very obsessive and desperate, as if her happiness solely depended on her lover. That didn't really sit well with me.

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

I borrowed this from my uncle after nearly buying it at the bookstore the same day I borrowed it. This was a fun read; I wish there was a little more backstory into this -- at least to explain more of the ending and why this person was chosen for such a role, etc. Christopher Moore wasted no time getting the ball rolling though; a major event that acts as a catalyst to the story takes place at the end of the first chapter. THE FIRST CHAPTER!

Besides this book circling the life of the protagonist and how he deals with becoming Death, it also tackles themes of grief and coping with the loss of a loved one. Here, I quote:

"There's a fine edge to new grief, it severs nerves, disconnects reality -- there's mercy in a sharp blade. Only with time, as the edge wears, does the real ache begin."

Ah, right in the heart. Also, are my cousins and I the only ones who wrap our books in plastic cover?

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