Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rookie Reviews

I've been wildly busy with books, lately. Mostly audio books. Mostly YA novels (I'm trying to beef up my recommendation abilities for my students at school). 
Here are some of note from the past few months:

Read this one for school (YA Lit is my middle name these days). It was enjoyable and contained thematic material ranging from race relations to homosexuality. Still, a lovely little book.
Review: Read it.

Do you know what I love more than this book? The audio version of this book. Seriously, if you haven't taken the time yet to read it--no matter your age, make time. If it is easier to listen than to read, I think that is an even better idea! It is one of the loveliest little books in my entire reading history. 
Review: Read it, read, it, read it!

Well written. Tragic. A dynamic and varied set of characters. Lots of F words. Even still, it tackles the socioeconomic ladder in a quaint British parish. And it dives into our own biases toward poverty. The teacher of impoverished children in me LOVED this book. The reader in me was glad I was listening instead of reading. (Bonus: Tom Hollander narrates.)
Review: Read it (with caution).

I'm a fan of Kaling's new show on Fox--The Mindy Project. So I decided to take this one for a whirl when it showed up as a sale item on my Audibles home page. I was not amused by this book. It was trite, not-so-funny, and read like your average shallow fashion magazine with attempted humor. Kaling is funny and endearing for the 30 minutes of her show interrupted by commercials. But several hours listening to her voice made me hate her. This is my least favorite on the list by far.
I still watch her show religiously.
Review: Skip it. You're welcome.

This one was several months ago, so I'm struggling to remember anything beyond the fact that I liked it. 
It was a little gem of a find on my Kindle. I hope there is a sequel out soon.
Review: Read it!

Every nerd should read this book. Every computer nerd. Every book nerd. Every puzzle nerd. I listened to it thanks to Audibles, but rumor has it the book cover glows in the dark. Glows in the dark, people! Delightful little "mystery" read. I totally give it 2 thumbs up.
Review: Read it!

My favorite read of 2012. If you haven't read it, do. Don't let the YA label deter you. It is such a beautiful, beautiful novel. I have recommended to everyone I know. I have given it as a gift to several people. I love John Green as it is, and I've loved several of his other novels. But this one. Oh. This book. Read it. 
Review: I demand you read it. Or else.

After my TFIOS high, I wanted more John Green and this was his only novel I hadn't read. I listened to it thanks to my lovely Audibles. Truth: it was hilarious. Truth: it was a bit raunchy. Truth: I'd hesitate recommending it to the vast majority of my students. Truth: I hated David Levithan's Will Grayson (the character, not so much the writing). I mean, I pitied him, yes, but I mostly hated him. Tiny is the gay bestie I've always wanted. Listening to the novel is the way to go. A great audio book. Not, at all, as gush-worthy as The Fault in Our Stars, however.
Review: Read it (with caution).

Want to know which audio narration beat out Tina Fey, John Lithgow, Rob Lowe, and Ellen DeGeneres for an Audie? Libba Bray's own rendition of her novel, Beauty Queens
It was funny. It was quirky. It was creative and delightfully surprising and snarky. 
It was filled with girl power (which I always love). 
Listening to it made the commute to and from work my favorite part of the day. I met Libba Bray while listening, which only sealed the deal. She was so gracious and kind, she signed the books for my students, and then gushed on and on about how great English teachers are and that her mother was one. 
It was kind of fantastic to get back in my car and turn her voice back on as I finished the novel.
Review: Read it! (Better yet, listen.)

Happy reading!


silvernic said...

I know I just have to disagree, but here it goes:

I was incredibly disappointed with TFiOS. I'm sure a lot of it had to do with my expectations, but I was completely unmoved and unimpressed. So unimpressed, in fact, that I read it a second time just to make sure.

Will Grayson, on the other hand, was amazing to read. I read it in one sitting and well into the night. I'm not a huge Levithan fan, and his Will Grayson was pretty off-putting, but I think John Green was at his best. And, if you don't love Tiny Cooper, then you're gay.

Beauty Queens was too much of a girl book. Libba Bray is definitely talented and hilarious, but this one was too feminine for me. Check out Going Bovine, I liked that one.

I understand that I'm supposed to like The Book Theif, but I got half way through it and put it down because I still didn't care. This is saying a lot, because it's very rare I give up on a book before I'm done.

Mr. Penumbra is next on my list. I'm a huge fan of glow-in-the-dark anything, so I'm expecting to like this one.

Also, GLAD YOU'RE BLOGGING! I hope I'm not the only one that's still reading here!

Shannon said...

The Book Thief is one of my all time faves. Nick, it took me a year to read it. I was like you. I had to put it down. And then I came back to it, and I'm so glad that I did.

Thanks for all of the recommendations. I've been needing some. It's my 2013 goal to actually start reading again (you know, more than facebook...pathetic).

The Rookie said...

Nic, my advice to you is to LISTEN to The Book Thief. Trust me, it is a fabulous recording!

Jessica Donbrosky said...

LOVED the Book Thief! Added many of the others to my Goodreads list. Thanks!