May 30, 2016

Books I Have Read (May 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 12:19 am

1. The Bat by Jo Nesbo – This is the first book of the Harry Hole series and all I can say Harry was an asshole in the beginning. The story is a bit dated (cellfone triangulation) and I kind of miss the Norwegian landscape. Also the murders were not as creepy as in The Snowman but still a fast, easy read.

2. Rat Queens Vol 3: Demons by Kurtis J. Wiebe – l don’t know where the story is going though in this volume the focus is on Hannah. Less on the sex and violence but there were fun times like the candy eating dragon. Also, I prefer the old illustrations.

3. 4 Kids Walk into a Bank Issue#1 by Matthew Rosenberg – Kids get involved with ex-convicts. The art is quirky. It shows promise but I don’t know when the next issue comes out.

4. Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh – Coming out is not a story that I am normally interested with but this was handled beautifully in this graphic novel. The illustrations are surreal and I could almost feel the movement of the characters.

5. An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – I just love Lucy Knisley’s work, those that I have read are a combination of travel, food and personal thoughts. There is a lightness in her graphic novels that makes it enjoyable every time I reread them.

6. Saga Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples – Not as good as the previous volumes but still worth continuing the series!

7. Queen Victoria’s Mysterious Daughter: A Biography of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley – This is different from the biography of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Princess Beatrice. Here it is apparent Queen Victoria’s cruelty and manipulation of her children. Also there are a lot of juicy bits: an illegitimate child, numerous lovers, homosexual husband. Unfortunately any evidence of these have mysteriously been recalled by the Royal Academy.

8. Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – Another of Knisley’s work which hit a bit closer to home when she goes on a cruise with her ageing grandparents (her grandmother most of the time forgets who Lucy is) and takes care of them. It makes me think about my parents, growing old and losing independence. I can’t see myself beyond 50.

9. Winter by Marissa Meyer – I was so happy to finally finish this because I liked and hated this book. I really don’t like to read non-stand alone books especially when it has been a while since I read the last one. I was struggling a little with the past details but then it hit me, I hate the romance in this series. In the first two books the romance was bearable but then it got awful in Cress. Why did all the leading four characters have to be paired off? They were much interesting when they were not together with their significant other. There is this ridiculous scene wherein Cress and Thorne come into terms with their relationship right in the middle of infiltrating Levanna’s castle! Every time Winter was with Jacin, she was all mushy but then when she was with Scarlet she was able to confront several troops of genetically modified soldiers. In summary the romance irritated the hell out of me. Kai who I used to find pretty useless finally pulls himself together and Iko was sometimes irritating. I think the book was too long, too many things happening that I don’t particularly care about. However the best thing about the series is that I always forget that these are fairy tale retellings, sometimes I get caught up with where the story is heading before I realize again that these are based on fairy tales. I am glad the series is over and there is no way I will reread it again.

10. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – This is a must read for all working women. I wish I read something like this 8 years ago or even during my first job. This made me understand why I sometimes feel like I am stuck in this job. Is it too late for me to make any changes?

11. Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown – A cute breather from the books that I have been reading. Any Star Wars fan will get the humor.

12. I Hate Fairyland Vol 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young – I picked this up because JeansBookishThoughts mentioned it in a vlog. It was pretty much okay but then when I reached the last page of the volume, I just had to laugh out loud! Also, who doesn’t like the name Darketh Deaddeath?

13. She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor – I am always fascinated with unknown royal women who end up as wives in political and economical alliances. This book focuses on women who had the chance to wield power as kings of England, some of them were not successful while others had to compromise. Some of these histories have influenced A Song of Ice and Fire. If you were disgusted by Ramsay’s setting his hounds on his stepbrother and half brother, those things happened several hundred years ago. The book was very readable but there was a time that I got a headache especially with the names, it was necessary to go back every few pages or review the family trees. Which Henry are we talking about now?

14. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Despite the title this is not a horror story. A good middle grade read interspersed with moody graphics.

15. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – I would be lying if I understood more than 1/5th of the book. There were just names and events that relate to the African-American experience that I have no background in. However there were glimpses that allowed me to understand the racism that exists in America. I would have better understood this if I were an American.

16. The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke – I heard a lot of negative comments on this, most from those who read the book after watching the movie. This book needs to be read on its own merit because it is different from the movie. Glass did not crawl into the belly of a dead horse and he did not kill Fitzgerald! However this book is a fictionalized account of Glass’ story which has somehow become a sort of legend. When I was reading, I was amazed by the back story of the four main characters but then the author explained that the book is a fictionalized account, some characters are made up while others are real. Nobody knows the real story except that Hugh Glass was attacked by a grizzly bear and his companions left him behind and he somehow managed to survive all of it. I enjoyed the concise writing, no meandering descriptions of wilderness (I would rather watch that on screen).


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