Book Reviews: June Wrap-Up!

Yes, this is long overdue… Better late than never, right? This has been sitting in my drafts folder for close to a month now. If you’ve read my last post, you’ll probably know why.

As usual, spoilers (if any) will be marked with a forewarning. Cover designs shown as well as publication dates (unless otherwise stated) are of the editions which I have read.

 

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

by Karen Joy Fowler

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

310 pages / paperback / published may 30th 2013 (for some reason, I can’t find the publisher for this version and the physical copy I read has already been returned to the library…)

3 cookies (stars are overrated)

I wasn’t sure what to expect but it definitely wasn’t what I read. I felt the pacing slowed down in the second quarter of the novel but I did like the format in which it was written – where it started off at chapter ‘one’ again in each part (for those of you who have read it, I found it significant to the whole ‘begin from the middle of my story’ concept).

There were many insightful and thought-provoking, as well as shocking moments in this novel. This is a book I wouldn’t consider a light read due to the themes discussed and in that aspect, the time needed to digest how it has been presented. Interesting exploration of identity, social and self awareness, evolution, various kinds of love and the animal-human bond. I was also rather relieved by the ending.

Karen Joy Fowler’s Q&A of this novel on her website is definitely worth a read for anyone curious and left pondering long after they have turned the final page.

 

Between Shades of Grey

by Ruta Sepetys 

Between Shades of Gray

344 pages / paperback / published 22nd march 2011, Philomel Books

4 matchsticks 

Stayed up till 2am to finish this AND I DID IT!! Historical fiction in 7 hours plus – I never would’ve imagined because this isn’t a genre I reach for often, and the last similar novel took me awhile.

Sepetys doesn’t disappoint. While I preferred Salt to the Sea (see previous wrap up for review!), this book was a great read of wartime tribulations, compassion, love, courage and the human spirit. The writing style was very different from Salt to the Sea; it was less poetic but straightforward. The foreshadowing was relatively easy to pick up on and there were effective poignant moments she chose to zoom in on to relay part of the plot instead of info-dumping. I also thought that the flashbacks were inserted rather seamlessly.

Fantastic epilogue and for some reason, I find the short (but many) chapters makes it easier to fly through the book. The edition I read had an author interview at the end and I love the rationale behind the title. Would definitely recommend Sepetys to anyone wanting to try reading this genre!

 

Second Chance Summer

by Morgan Matson

Second Chance Summer

468 pages / paperback / published 7th June 2012, Simon & Schuster UK

5 licorice 

Before I go any further into this gem that made me an emotional wreck, lets take a moment to appreciate the beauty that is this cover, shall we? Truly a gorgeous novel, inside and out.

This novel is an exception to my usual reviewing habits i.e., I did not could not bring myself to review this immediately after turning the final page. The main reason being the fact that I was crying so hard because it was a scarily timely read for me (refers you to my last post).  Oftentimes, I had misread certain characters names as that of my family’s; the similarities were shocking, especially the feelings… and it was all just too real, and too much for me.

In that sense, this was a difficult book for me to read. I wanted to read on because it was just so good but at the same time, there were moments when I hesitated because I knew it would just bring more tears and I was just… so tired from crying so much lately.

I am aware that perhaps this isn’t much of a critical review and leans towards my personal reading experience… but this is just what it was is : a timely read. A novel I will remember differently from others because of when I read it and its impact on me at that time in my life.

 

Charlotte’s Web

by E.B. White

192 pages / hardcover / published 2nd June 2016, Penguin UK

4 butter-cream puffs

GORGEOUS EDITION. I MEAN JUST LOOK AT IT!!!

Actually a re-read since I forgot most of it (first read several years ago for school). The story came across as mostly plot driven to me, and honestly, I wasn’t too invested in any of the characters. However, I did love the subtle, universal observations about humanity; so cleverly interspersed in the novel. Also, vivid imagery and cool animal facts!

 

The Little Prince

by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

112 pages / paperback / published 5th June 1995, Wordsworth

4 baobab trees

An allegory? A fable? An enigma. I think we can all agree on the significance of the illustrations in this book.

I feel as though my review won’t do the book justice as I hadn’t read it critically… Certainly, there’s a lot more than meets the eye with this one, and I’m not enlightened because I didn’t read it as I would have studying a literary text. (Are the baobabs symbols of manifestations? Exposing a few shortcomings of the common adult is but one of the many things The Little Prince does in this classic.)

To quote an essay from The New Yorker, “the book’s meanings—its purpose and intent and moral—still seem far from transparent”. But then again, as readers, we can only speculate on something as subjective as authorial intent, no?

I actually read this at work (just clarifying, when there weren’t customers for me to attend to. For any of you wondering, I work at a bookshop) and am definitely up for a re-read; looking forward to my mind being blown.

The Meaning of Maggie

by Megan Jean Sovern

The Meaning of Maggie

220 pages / hardcover / published 6th May 2014, Chronicle Books

3 bootstraps

Fantastic middle grade read that handles emotional familial relationships and trials with realistic portrayals. Loved how the ending was written; [NEXT COUPLE OF WORDS ARE MILD-ISH SPOLIER-Y] the full circle and flow of the narrative (technique-wise) was something that stood out to me.

Would have loved more scenes with the other family members in the falling action though.. I thought the denouement could have used more dialogue to further explore the various relationships between the individual and affliction.

Fantastic Mr Fox 

by Roald Dahl

112 pages / paperback / published 2016, Puffin

4 bottles of apple cider

So this was one of the books which I read after I’ve seen the movie adaptation (on a flight, if you were curious)…

Twas an enjoyable, quick read! The illustrations enhanced the fun in reading this. A whimsical narrative that is distinctly Roald Dahl. Happy 100th anniversary!

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane 

by Kate DiCamillo

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

218 pages / paperback / published 18th March 2011, Candlewick Press

4 porcelain cups

I’ll confess that I picked this up after watching You Who Came From the Stars (wonderful, hilarious korean drama 10/10 would totally recommend). It was referenced multiple times by the male lead in that drama and I just had to grab a copy. No regrets!!

“Someone will come for you, but first you must open your heart.” No matter which way you read it, this timeless quote will forever be applicable.

Simply yet beautifully narrated. A touching must-read!

Having finished this post and editing it in July, I’d like to think June made up for the sad amount of reading I’ve done this month. If you’ve read any of the above, I’d love to hear your thoughts about them!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s