Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Reviews - August 2014

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

At first, Gone Girl seems like a standard murder mystery, with every clue pointing convincingly at the husband. But all is not as it seems. I really can't say much about it without ruining at least a little of the surprise, and I don't want to do that. Let's just say that Flynn has crafted something chilling here, with dimensional characters that have the capacity to surprise you. The prose is masterful, and the patchwork of story threaded together creates a complex and stunning narrative fabric. Gone Girl captures a relationship from which you really want to avert your eyes, but you just can't.

Warnings on: language, violence, sexual situations. Be warned - I mostly review YA on this blog. This particular book is an ADULT thriller.

Godless - Pete Hautman

When agnostic-turning-atheist Jason  gets beaten up under the water tower, he looks dazedly up and realizes, water is life. From that epiphany springs an idea. He decides to create his own religion centered on the Ten-Legged God -- the town's water tower. He pulls together an unlikely group of followers, from his best friend Shin, to the boy who beat Jason up in the first place. At first, Jason enjoys being the spiritual leader to a bunch of modern teenagers, but soon, things take a dark turn. This book touches on questions of faith and dogma, and what it really means to believe.

Warnings on: language.

Beautiful Darkness - Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoet

Dark and lovely, this graphic novel is aptly named. It follows the story of Aurora and her friends, expelled from the head of a human girl who has died in the woods. As the body decays, Aurora and the other fairy tales eke out a forest living, and the niceties of society degrade into brutal pettiness and all the darkest things of which people are capable. Aurora continues believing that people mean well, and that her efforts to provide and care for those around her will always be reciprocated, until she is forced to understand that not everyone is interested in a happy ending.

Warnings on: violence, disturbing imagery.

Rocket Boys - Homer Hickam, Jr.

I've read this before, but Luke read it this past month for a project at school, so I did too. This fascinating memoir chronicles the early life of the author and his obsession with building and launching rockets. Raised in a coal-mining town, Homer understood that his future would go one of two ways: either to college or the mine. Since he wasn't a football player, he wouldn't be going to college, so everyone assumed Homer was destined for the mine. Until he discovered rockets.

In spite of all the odds against him, and with the help of town members, an inspiring teacher, and his closest friends, Homer earned a college scholarship and a career at NASA through his love and dedication to rocketry.

Highly recommended.

 Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

I read this book last year and felt it was time to read it again. Since I'm just a couple of months out of WIFYR, I noticed a few things about the writing this time, but it was just as impressive a feat of 80s what-the-heck fan-boy love as ever. Here's the original short review.

Geary mentioned Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, that it was possibly an inspiration for Ready Player One, so I am reading that now. It's cyberpunk awesomeness.

Warnings on: language, sexual situations.

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