Maggie’s book club, part two.

So even though I’ve made sure to get my reading time in as a post-college grad (you know…reading things besides textbooks andΒ a class syllabus), reviewing them on this blog hasn’t been my strongest asset. But because of that, I have not one, but TWO books to review today. Yippee!

Lately, I’ve found books to read on Pinterest, Amazon wish lists or simply wandering Barnes & Noble until I find something that looks interesting. The first book I’m going to talk about, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, is 1 – nothing like it sounds, and 2 – a book I saw on a reading list on Pinterest. I added it to an online wish list and got it for Christmas from my parents. When my mom saw the title, she was utterly confused. But again, it’s not what it sounds like. Remember, I’m in PR, I’m into writing and reading and grammar and that kind of stuff, so physics (or any realm of science for that matter) – not my thing in the slightest. Moving on…

Image from pagepulp.com

I read this so long ago, I actually am not sure why the title has to do with calamity physics. Oops. Regardless, I LOVED this book. It was long and it was written in a strange way, but it was mysterious and dark and creepy and I couldn’t put it down. It’s about a girl named Blue van Meer who moves to a new town and somehow gets in with this group of friends who are (again) very mysterious. They hang out with one of their teachers, Hannah Schneider, and have a sort of club amongst them. Blue doesn’t really get the obsession with Hannah, and even senses something off about her (as does the reader), and I will say the ending is not at all what I expected, but it was still very good. This is a book that starts out, “The day Hannah Schneider died…” or something to that effect. Then you get to know Hannah and this mysterious group of high school students and finally it all unfolds before you.

As for the writing style, Blue’s dad is a professor who reads a ton and has passed that onto Blue. Throughout the entire novel, she’s quoting literature that she’s read. In the reviews on Amazon, there were some who didn’t like that, but I found it fascinating. I am a total bookworm, and certain quotes from books can stick with me for years. Blue applied these quotes to what was happening to her, and I loved it. All in all, it’s a long and somewhat tough read, but I was enveloped in the story, characters, all of it.

Next up is one that probably everyone and their dog had read…besides me, of course. However, the movie is coming out this week and I hate watching movies first if I want to read the book because it ruins the ending and makes the book so much less enjoyable. Drum roll please…

Photo from wikipedia.org

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but if you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet – read it. It’s fabulous. I’m in my early 20s now, and I still skim the young adult/teen section at bookstores. The way I see it, we use these books and stories to teach young adults about the important things in life – the wins, the losses and everything in between. Just because I’m 23 now instead of 18 doesn’t mean I’ve already learned all that. I still love reading real, emotional stories, even if they are about children, like this one. As if you didn’t already know, this book is about a young girl, Hazel, who has cancer. She meets a boy named Augustus Waters in her support group and they fall in love. Although the main characters are so young, they’ve been forced to mature in a way that not everyone else does. They know they have limited time left together, and they take full advantage of it. This is a tragic but beautiful story that I’d recommend for readers of all ages. However, I don’t recommend reading it in your office on your lunch break like I did… you’ll be holding back tears all day.

I also love the quote that keeps being used in one of the movie trailers – “I fell in love with him like you fall asleep…slowly, and then all at once.” I think that is a perfect description of falling in love, and it just gets to me.

I just started Emily Giffin‘s new book (author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue and other wonderful fiction novels), The One and Only, so that will be my next review if I ever get around to it. So far, from what I’ve heard and the little bit I’ve read, it seems to be Friday Night Lights-esque. It takes place in a football town in Texas and that’s about all I know so far. I’ll keep you posted!

 

Introducing: my own personal book club.

I’ve decided I’m going to introduce a new segment to this blog: my love of reading. I’ve loved reading ever since I was a little girl. I want to say that my parents have said I was reading before I even started kindergarten, but I might be a little overzealous on that one. Regardless, one of the best things for me about being done with school is that I can now readΒ for pleasure. Anyone who loves to read can vouch that during school, it’s nearly impossible to find time to read something for your own enjoyment rather than a textbook or study guide.

I’m going to start reviewing books as I read them, so I’ll start with my most recent read: The Dinner, by Herman Koch.

Image from npr.org

I want to say I saw this book in a magazine, maybe Cosmo, and the mysterious synopsis sparked my interest. In short, it’s about two couples, two brothers and their wives to be exact, who meet for dinner (shocking, I know) to discuss something horrible their children have done that has warranted a police investigation and could change their lives forever. I’m a sucker for vague mysteries like this (self-proclaimed SVU addict here), so when I saw it at my local Target, I had to buy.

This is a hard one to review without ruining the ending and what the kids did, but overall, I’d probably give it 3.5/5 stars (my own scale there). It was a good read, but I wasn’t blown away. It was a bit slow at times and there were parts that seemed irrelevant to me. There was lots of buildup to finding out what the children had done, and for me, the outcome lacked the excitement I was hoping for. It’s a very interesting read as far as dysfunctional family relationships go, both between the adult brothers and their children as cousins, as well as in the couples’ respective marriages. It was an easy read and worth my time, so if you have all the time in the world to read whatever you want (as a new graduate should!), I’d say go for it.

Next on my list, which I just started yesterday, is Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl. Funny story regarding the title: I put this on my Amazon wish list for Christmas, and my mom told me when she came across it, she was completely confused. I’m not a science gal, and she thought I was asking for a book about actual calamity physics. While I did take AP Physics in high school (toot toot), I haven’t the slightest idea what calamity physics are or if that is even an actual scientific term. So disclaimer: the book isn’t what it sounds like…at least I hope it’s not!

If you have any book recommendations, please comment and let me know some of your favorites! I really love anything…from Harry Potter to Pretty Little Liars (judge me) to mysteries to classics like To Kill a Mockingbird (perhaps my favorite of all time), so don’t hesitate to suggest anything!