Hello everyone! It is the third day into my freedom (lol from school that is), and so far TheBetterCup and I have finished some books that we would like to share with each other. So far I have only finished 4 and TheBetterCup has finished 3, so now we have a seven total. I think I will try and keep this in about some chronological order of some kind. My sister, my father, and I went to Goodwill for the first time in search for cheap book deals, and we were not disappointed. I think we bought a total of over 40 books. If all goes well, there should be many reviews this summer.
1. Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The description for this book may be the shortest one on this list. This was a little book, like very tiny, maybe about 130 pages at the most (115 on Goodreads though). I am a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, so I willingly jumped into reading this with out reading the back for information or any of that. I really was not expecting the story to go the way it did. The story, it turns out, is about a man who just turned ninety years old and decided he needed to sleep with a virgin whore (about 14 I think) before he died. Majority of the time, he tells us (the readers) about the different women he slept with throughout his life (all he calls whores because he would always pay them, even the ones who did not want money because he could not understand how anyone would willingly sleep with him). Anyways, he falls in deep love with the young girl and does not have sex with her once in the year that the book follows. I think the book is less about his love story, or the women, but more about how he just started to live life at the age of 90, all because a little love changed his out look on life. I really enjoyed the book, and I really liked the main character (who I think was left nameless). At first, I thought I would hate him (for wanting to sleep with a child), but soon you could not help but find him endearing. This is like most of Garicia’s other books. It is in a Latin American environment, and more of a historical fiction book. Before I end this review though, I would just like to point out how beautiful the cover art is.
2. Antrax by Terry Brooks
I got this book one day from my dad. He said he picked it up because it had a flying ship in its description, and that reminded him of me. I was really excited to read it actually, because my favorite genre for books is fantasy, and best of all the main characters were teenagers and there was magic and elves. I do not want to spoil anything, but this is part of a trilogy, which is part of a trilogy (if that makes sense). This is I believe part of the third set of books based in Shanara, but I think was very unfortunate in getting this specific book first. The book was exciting, and I read it in no time, because I was so enthralled I couldn’t put it down, but damn was it messed up. The 1st book introduces all the characters and the quest for a treasure in a far away land. The magical Druid (Walker, who was a main character in the 2nd set of books) calls upon an assortment of young dwarfs, elves, sailors, shape-shifters, and fighters to join him in collecting keys to get an ancient treasure. The entire time they are being pursued by a powerful witch and her snake-man army. Well, I didn’t read this 1st book, which sounds amazing, but I thought the 2nd book would have the same adventure feel to it, but boy was I wrong. Instead the characters find themselves against a vicious and sick post apocalyptic (yup, you learn that the ancient shit they are looking for is really just our modern knowledge) computer named Antrax, which puts them in situations straight out of those horrendous never ending nightmares. Characters die, innocence is lost, robots attack, all in all this is more of a science fiction novel, not the high fantasy it appears to be. My favorite parts, however, involved the crew of the Airship and the main character Bek (not gonna spoil anything, but these parts had nothing to do with the scary ass computer). Seriously, though I enjoyed the book, but I feel like it was not entirely what I wanted and that the 1st or even 3rd book will be much more enjoyable for me.
3. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
For my sophomore year at university, I roomed with a girl who became one of my closest friends during freshman year, lets call her Precious Rock. Anyways, Precious Rock took Spanish classes and in these classes, she had lots of assignments where she had to watch Spanish movies. She hated watching them alone, so I would always go and watch them with her. In early October (I think), we watched this one movie that was ridiculous. I want to say that every single one of us, that she invited to watch with her, laughed at that movie. There were so many parts that were to exaggerated, and the acting was one of them. I won’t say what parts felt stupid (I don’t want to ruin it for you), but watch the ending of that movie before reading the book and tell me you don’t see why we felt that way. Anyways, I pick up a book in our home library that my mother was given as a gift some 20 years ago, and I start reading. Maybe one chapter in, I realized it was the same story as the movie, but I continued to read it and I found that I adored the book. All the exaggerated parts became more magical when explained better, and unlike the movie that relies on visuals for the audience to understand a certain point, a book can give detailed explanation for their meaning. Like most Latin American stories, this one was magical realism genre and was very beautiful. It tells the story of the life of Talia, a girl born to take care of her mother for her whole life. Talia is not allowed to marry because of this tradition, but she falls in love anyways. You can imagine what problems she faces, but with her amazing ability to make food (she is a cook with some magical properties) she finds a way to get through them. My biggest problem with her and most everyone around her was their inability to say no to other people in ‘authority’ positions who treated them like crap. Even so, I really liked the book. Another interesting fact was that the book was a novel in monthly installments, with recipes, romances, and home remedies. The story really had all these things mixed and blended well, so when I first started reading I did not even notice. I am not sure if they were useful, I never tried them, but I thought it was cool.
4. Lost Heroes by Rick Riordan
So I never really cared much for the Percy Jackson novels, mostly because I didn’t care to read about Greek Mythology that was very black and white (the beauty about Greek myths are that everyone is pretty much gray, there is no definite force of good or bad). Anyways, I got this book by mistake, because it didn’t have a cover explaining the plot, and I liked the name (and if I had known 100% what the story was about, I probably would not have bought it). But I can say that in the end I REALLY liked the book. I liked the three main characters (Piper, Jason, and Leo) more than I liked Percy or Annabeth, and I liked how funny the book was. I loved the adventure, the magic, the fact that they were children riding a mechanical dragon for crying out loud. Sure some things bothered me, like how Athena had kids (she is a VIRGIN goddess like Artemis) and Hera was treated like garbage (no one had to like her, but they either had to respect her or fear her, she is still a goddess), but I liked the incorporation of Roman aspects and the idea that the two sides of the same Mythologies get to come together. Again if you like high fantasy, Harry Potter/ Edge/Peter Pan type books, you might just enjoy.
5. The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
Every book I have read on this list was enjoyable, and something that I would recommend to others. It is no surprise then, that I will only have good things to say about this book as well. This one was a mystery novel set in the 1845 New York, with the creation of the police force being the focal point of the plot. I really enjoyed the story a lot, as it touched on the discrimination of Irish immigrants into the United States and how badly all people seemed to fair in that time period. The book was completely historical fiction, and to me that was very wonderous. I also liked the main character a great deal, though I preferred his morally imperfect brother. Timothy was a little to modern in terms of his personal opinions and that tended to take away from the realism/authenticity for me. But it was still a great book, but maybe my least favorite of the four I read. The story follows Timothy Wilde after a fire left him somewhat disfigured and jobless. Under the instance of his morally ambiguous brother, Tim joins the newly created police force and goes searching for the murderer of 20 dead kinchin (children) all child prostitutes. The story is full of slang from the era, but after a while you get used to it. I loved all the twists and turns that the author gave to the story. And though I could guess who the main antagonist was from early on, it still was not in the way you would guess. Turns out, that this is part of a trilogy. I read the backgrounds on the others, and they don’t interest me all that much so I won’t buy them.
6. Shadow Climbers by Mickey Zuker Reichert
So this is your basic adventure book. Its pretty short with only a little bit of magic towards the end, but honestly this book kept my attention, so I like it. It starts off with this young man Tazir whose small size and rough past forced him to be the renowned thief, Shadow Climber. His desire to take on any challenge ends up getting him caught by the man who essentially murdered Tazir’s father and mother, but he escapes with a barbarian from the North. The two grow close, battle their way North, make new friends, find old friends, and reveal hidden secrets. Even though this is your basic good vs bad, adventure/hero story, its not bad and truly entertaining. The book is the second one out of a series known as the Bifrost Guardians. I have not gotten the chance to read any other, but I looked them up instead. The Bifrost series seems to span over many different characters. I am not too sure, but the stories seem to involve a war between Norse Gods, and humans mixed in between. At some points there are soldiers from the Vietnam involved, and in other points, there are medieval knights and dragons.
7. Good Omens by Niel Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
I did not actually read this one, instead I listened to the audio version of this. Precious Stone is a big fan audio books (though I am mostly 100% against their existence, at least for me personally), but she really insisted that I would enjoy it. So late nights (like 1:00 am) when I would go running, I would listen to this book since I could not read while running (trust me I tried). I loved the book. It is very funny and since it was an audio book, the English accent really added to it. I would rather have read it as a book, but I am glad either way. The story focuses on the beginning of Armageddon, as Crowley (a demon) and Aziraphale (an angel) try to stop the coming of the end of the world without angering their superiors (respectively Hell and Heaven). I do not want to give away too much, but I just want to say that the story is hilarious while still being very well researched (full of historical and biblical illusions and so on). I really like how deep the authors can get too, talking about human morality and behavior, with out once losing the funny and carefree feel of the book (one that has the Antichrist involved for pete’s sake). All in all, it is a very good book that I highly recommend you try.
Anyways, what books have you read lately?
What did they see? His GPA of the last semester?