BIRD BOX by JOSH MALERMAN
Oh yeah, I read Bird Box!
Perhaps my expectations for this book were slightly higher than they should have been (Blame the overblown hype for the movie (which wasn't good in comparison either!)) because I can say I was definitely let down by how little this book takes advantage of its main conflict, to which some had already described it as being Lovecraftian.
I will say that the story does not meander for the first 50 pages- it gets straight to the point right from the beginning. The problem is that, well, nothing of interest happens. Most of the drama takes place in one confined location and while that gives leeway to a situation where tense relationships can arise from lack of contact with the outside world, even that barely happens. The writing, how can I describe it without coming off as insulting, is simple. There's no personality to the author's writing and if there is, it's not gripping or captivating. The characters are one dimensional and either used to make certain characters appear more sane or insane.
And goddamnit, who thought it was a good idea to name the children Boy and Girl?! How do you expect me to take this the slightest bit serious with something like that!
LOLITA by VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Hmm... well, hmmm.
Due to a certain state of circumstances having taken place maybe two months ago now, my booklist and ability to read any book took a throttle off the rails. A majority, say 90% of my collection is sitting tightly packed in a box 1000 miles away from me, so anything I planned to read will have to be retrieved in a different way or put on hold indefinitely. But anyways, while the box is waiting for me patiently, I'm accumulating more books while I can. The best way to restart is to score whatever I can at thrift stores.
Never did I ever anticipate myself reading this particular novel. It was sitting on a shelf at a Value Village and I thought, fuck it, I guess this is what we're doing.
What do I start with? How much the contents disgust me or how eloquently written every page of this book is? True, that that is the whole point, it's a trap into reading this as a woeful love story and not a man's fucked up extremist journey in pursuing a young child and essentially destroying her entire life. The gracious wording is tantalizing to gloss through, and yet I'd feel immense paranoia if anybody were to see me holding this book in my hand when in public. (Well, maybe not so much that, but the anticipation that someone will ask, "Hey, what are you reading?") Though the real criticism shouldn't be focused so much so on the controversial contents, but rather the readers very wrong interpretation and glorification, so much so creating a semi-small subculture dedicated to the Lolita aesthetic, the nymphet. (Which sadly, happened to be my introduction and what kept me away from this book for so long)
Nabokov's writing makes me wish I knew what I was actually doing. I should probably be glad I felt to give Lolita a chance, it's an endearing novel that sets a clear line between portraying something so grotesque and yet strays from truly idolizing it. I'm going to go burn this book now.
THE MARTIAN by ANDY WEIR
I should preface this first and say I started this book the beginning of February, read maybe 1/4, put it down, resumed in September, put it down, resumed in October, put it down, and finally finished come November. Excessive to say the least, but it accurately sums my attention span with books.
Anyway, I finished it and that's all that matters. At least I had a grand story to derust after... our previous book.
Anyone who's passionate about aerospace will be all over the loaded terminology detailed throughout that otherwise tangled my brain. I'll admit those parts were a sludge for me to get through, so hopefully others can appreciate it's careful attention to accuracy. But that's not what kept me drawn to reading this, Mark's snark and wit is the absolute highlight, and there's no better way to showcase it then to leave him on his own trying to navigate shit that may or may not get him killed. I can't remember the last time I've audibly laughed or even giggled while reading a book, some of the logs and character interactions are very genuine. Rarely does the pacing feel too slow as the format of story telling changes appropriately to match the situation.
If I had to say anything that occasionally took me out of focus, I felt most of the scientific explanation that Mark relays to us could have been written in a way that a character like Mark would deliver, as opposed to having it come off as long winding paragraphs written for a textbook. I think this is one of those cases where having a film adapation is appropriate, 'cause I need visuals on just about everything I couldn't process purely through written words. No need to "dumb it down", just less... wordy. Wish there had been more we could read about his thoughts on a situation as grim as his.
Despite the existential situation we're in, it's determined and elevating.
TWILIGHT by STEPHANIE MEYER
At the beginning of the year, I laid out a New Year's resolution list and set out to achieve as many as I could. One of them was to read every book that was currently collecting dust on my bookshelf. Seeing as I haven’t read anything since February, I decided to set aside some time and power through my collection. To return from my hiatus, I had to pick a book obviously. I thought, “Which one should I choose to get me back into the groove of things?”
I chose Twilight. And now I don’t feel like reading anything ever again.
Sure, I wasn’t expecting anything great, but I was expecting something of SUBSTANCE. Hardly anything, whether it be the characters or the lore, left an imprint on me. It didn’t help that it was hyper focused on one of the most poorly thought out protagonists I’ve seen in awhile. I know we’re supposed to relate to Bella; the outcast struggling to fit in, living uneventful day to uneventful day. But that’s the cool thing about writing, you can take these otherwise boring aspects and turn them into something that doesn’t make me constantly flip through the pages to see how much longer I have to go until the next chapter. So much in this book made me think, “Why is this here? Why did I need to know all of this unneeded detail?” It’s all filler to compensate. And to make matters worse, every other piece of dialogue of Bella’s CANNOT go without speaking of Edwards incredibly perfect face and body, his angelic complexion, his melodic voice, how he’s literally descended from God's. Thanks, I think I got that the first 500 times you spoke of them. Clearly Bella’s character struck a chord with so many individual’s, but even me being in the exact same predicaments as her, I guess I’m one of the few that couldn’t be bothered. Speaking of things that struck a chord...
I assume that anyone reading this is familiar with the movie more than they are with the novel, and are more than familiar with what a character Edward is (or should at least know about the comically intense hatred Robert Pattinson has for him) Now imagine that, but 50 times more dreadful. That’s book Edward. I’m impressed they were able to tone down the cockiness, over possessiveness, controlling personality the way they did in the movie. You think it couldn’t get any worse than that. I don’t think there was any part of this that made me genuinely big mad more than Edward and Bella’s dynamic. I fail to remember a time in which he doesn’t slip some sort of mental cock tease during what is supposed to be an intimate moment between him and Bella, because it always ends with him making an unnecessarily snide remark about her in some way. Bella could be on the verge of some sort of mental breakdown and Edward would butt in nonchalantly with, “Wow, you look like a dumpster fire.” And Bella’s just a straight up sadomasochist. “Edward said I looked like roadkill. I can’t get over how perfect he is.” I know I’m talking a lot about how these two are both individually and together, because it’s kind of the most prominent part of the story. It’s all so jarring.
I feel like I could say a lot more about this book, and I can, but for the sake of me having to relay information about it that I can barely even remember, I’ll spare everyone with a final consensus to pass on this one. I’m glad I don’t have any obligation to read the rest of the series. But the legacy of vampires will forever be tainted.
ps. rosalie was right.