Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson. From the author’s website :
“You should probably go buy it right now, because it’s filled with awesomeness. And cocaine. But only if you hollow it out and fill it with your own cocaine. I’m not buying you cocaine. Because I love you.
And that’s why you should buy my book. Because I’m saving you from yourself. And from cocaine.
Hidden Wives, by Claire Avery. From the author’s website:
“HIDDEN WIVES follows the journey of two young girls forced to grow up in a polygamist community where religion is distorted to justify rampant abuse, incest, misogyny and the taking of child brides.
Fifteen-year-old Sara and her beautiful sister, Rachel, are too young to legally drive a car, but are approaching spinsterhood in Utah’s secret polygamist Blood of the Lamb community. Having long since reached the “age of preparedness,” they will soon be married off to much older men selected by the hidden sect’s revered Prophet.
As Sara, chosen to become her uncle’s fifth wife, grows more distraught over her impending incestuous marriage, she begins to scrutinize the faith she has followed blindly her entire life.
But for Rachel, who will be married to one of the many powerful community leaders vying for her hand, disobeying the Prophet means eternal damnation. Her friendship with the newest member of the community, the young and handsome Luke, starts as an attempt to save his agnostic soul, but ends with the pair falling helplessly in love. When Rachel is forbidden to see him, her absolute faith in the Prophet is severely tested.
When Rachel’s future husband is finally announced, violence erupts, and the girls must find the strength to escape the only life they have ever known… before it’s too late. ”
The Google Story. I shared a few excerpts from this book in a post a while back. Even if you aren’t a techie (which I may not), this book is a great story about determination, creativity and writing your own rules.
Fall of Giants. I chose to read this since I enjoyed the Pillars of the Earth and World Without End which are also by Ken Folett. All I can honestly say is thank god I finally finished it. This book is long, tedious and without reward. I had a mildly similar response to the first two books of his but they at least created a space in time that was intereseting. The timing of Fall of Giants falls to close to present day for the “space in time” aspect of Folett’s writing to be of much consequence. I’m a history major and typically enjoy historical fiction – however, I don’t feel like reading fiction that comes off like a text book for fun. This book is the first in a trilogy – no thank you! Save yourself the time and skip this one!
Divergent is a good follow up to the Hunger Games. I really enjoyed the world building and the idea of preventing wars by combatting evil qualities with their opposing postive qualities. Nick and I listened to this book using audible.com which I really recommend if you have long drives on a regular basis. The story drew us both in right from the start and we found ourself eager to be stuck in traffic, or taking the long way home just so we could get through more of the story. It ended a bit upbruptly but I think they did that in order to leave more to be told in the next book which is due out in Spring 2012. Another interesting fact for you is that Veronica Roth is 22 and a graduate of Northwestern – this was her first book.
The Book Thief is a beautifully tragic story of a young girl who gets sent to live with a foster family as WWII is ramping up. As the title suggests, she begins stealing books and quiet moments away with her foster father while she learns to read. Although her family is German, they are not in favor of Hitler’s program and they end up housing a Jew in their basement. I don’t want to give too much away, but this story is so well written, so vividly drawn out in my head that I can see images as if they were memories of my own and not simply a story I have read. The book is aimed at young adults but some of the content is rather dark (it is Nazi Germany after all) for a teen reader to really take in and appreciate. Apparently, a movie deal is in the works – the release date is 2010 and I have yet to see any updates on that…
The Hunger Games trilogy was widely recommended to me and I decided to give it a try even though the short summary on Amazon sounded a bit out of my typical genre. However, after giving the first book a shot, I was instantly captivated by Katniss Everdeen and her will and strength to not only survive but to rise above the government’s control. This book is also written for the young adult audience, but again, some of the content is dark and if I had junior high children, I’m not so sure this is what I’d want them reading. However, I very much enjoyed this series and am eagerly awaiting the film version so that Nick can appreciate the story that I recounted to him in various snippets. It’s the V for Vendetta story of a future generation.
The Thirteenth Tale was given to me as a Christmas present and is not something I would likely have chosen for myself. I have to say this is one of the most well written, devised plot lines I have ever read. I was in suspense and anticipation of discovering “what was going on” the entire time but I was also captivated by the world building and visualizations that Diane Setterfield created as I was reading. This is the story of a woman, Vida Winter, who is a famous author now long retired. She has given varying accounts of her life to biographers who have wanted to publish her life story. When she is finally ready to come clean about her past, she enlists a young book shop clerk to write the story. The clerk, turned author, Margaret must determine what is real and what is spun tales as the story progresses. I highly recommend this book.
The Manual of Detection is one of the most off the wall, odd books I have ever read. The story is… unique. I enjoyed reading and trying to figure out why Charles Unwin was suddenly promoted from clerk to detective, why the detective he once clerked for was missing (or dead?) and who was master minding the confusing twists and turns of the city. The story alternates between sleep and wakefulness and you have to stay on your toes to keep track of what is real and what is dream. Or is dreaming more of a reality than wakefulness? You’ll have to read to find out.
Nefertiti was my first historical novel. I absolutely fell in love with Nefertiti’s sister, who is the narrator. You can’t help but hate Nefertiti and at the same time love her. Michelle Moran does an excellent job of making the historical characters so real and so relatable – even in a culture that is so completely unrelatable to modern American life. Strong women can learn from the strength of Nefertiti and they can also learn from her sister who is less forceful but equally as empowered. I loved every moment of this book and ended up purchasing the sequel – The Heretic Queen - immediately upon finishing this book.