Saturday, June 30, 2012

50 Book Challenge

 After struggling with a seemingly endless reading slump in the last couple of years I appear to have finally cracked through it and in the past month I've read a ton. I've also been getting more and more into comic books. I know - I'm way past due on that, but I did read my Uncle Bill's extensive collection of Archie and Ritchie Rich comics when I was a kid, so there is a bit of a history there. Anyway, since I haven't done a 50 Book Challenge update since early March, I thought I should get on with it.
A 60-edition comic book series that finished up in 2008, this is a story about a strange occurrence that causes the death of everything on the planet that is male, with the exception of one man and his pet monkey. Like many post-Alan Moore comic writers the author has a tendency to pontificate on random facts just to show how clever he is, but overall, this is a good story that winds up without ever feeling dragged out. I hear there is a movie in the works, though I think it would be better served as an AMC or HBO television show, like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. And it would be fantastic to see a program with a cast that is almost entirely women (Prisoner notwithstanding).

21. The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta

Tom Perrotta is one of my favourite authors, but this is not one of his better books, and all the more disappointing because the premise is fantastic. It's a story about what happens to the people 'left behind' after a rapture-like event occurs, focussing on one family in particular.

22. Is Everyone Hanging Out WithoutMe? - Mindy Kaling

Paaaaaaaaainfully unfunny. I wanted to like this, because I love Mindy Kaling and I think she's really talented, but it was just... bleh.  I think I might have snickered once.

23. Then Came You - Jennifer Weiner

This is one of those 'Oprah's Book Club' kind of books, where a bunch of earnest people in various states of disarray with their lives find the true meaning of everything and grow and discover things about themselves they could never have imagined and blah blah blah blah. You get the picture. It's okay - readable, interesting enough to keep me turning the pages, but pretty forgettable. In fact, I read it a few weeks ago and I'm hard pressed right now to remember what it was actually about.

24. The Last Child - John Hart

Ugh. This might be the most turgid book I've ever read. And that's pretty much all I have to say about it. Full disclosure - I skimmed huge chunks of this. Ostensibly it's about a kid whose sister is murdered.

25. Stay Close - Harlan Coben

Harlen Coben (and to a lesser extent, Dennis Lehane) is my book equivalent of comfort food - his crime stories are interesting enough to keep me reading, and I can forgive the inevitable terrible endings because I've gotten enough enjoyment out of the rest of the book. This one's about a suburban mother whose dark past comes back to haunt her and danger ensues. Pretty much a typical Coben tale.

26. Moonlight Mile - Dennis Lehane

A sequel to Gone Baby Gone, which is my favourite Lehane book. This one isn't as good, but still highly readable and doesn't take a lot of thought. (And by the way, if you haven't seen the film of Gone Baby Gone, you should - it's awesome, though super depressing).

27. Tell No One - Harlan Coben

Another classic Coben trope - the person you thought was dead years ago turns out not to be.

28. Unwanted - Kristina Ohlssen

I had read a really good review of this a while back, so I was looking forward to finally getting around to it. It was disappointing though - very overwritten and dragged a lot. I don't know whether it's the fault of the author or the fault of the translation, but either way it didn't work for me. Serial killer, kidnaps children and murders them because of his own abusive childhood. Etc.

29. Shit My Dad Says - Justin Halpern

Surprisingly entertaining for a book based on a Twitter account. A lot of it is quotes from the Twitter, but many are also expanded to tell the stories behind them, and much of it is hilarious. Much funnier than the Mindy Kaling book, that's for sure.

30. The Woods - Harlan Coben

Wait, so that person we all thought was dead isn't dead? Didn't we already do this?

31. Juliet, Naked - Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby loves music. No, you don't get it. He loooooooooooooves music. And he wants to make sure you are reminded of it at every opportunity. It was bearable in High Fidelity because that book was so well-written, but here it's just super annoying. An ageing hipster unhappy in her long term relationship with a guy who is an uber fan of a long-disappeared musician takes up with said musician after they connect via email. It's as bad as it sounds.

Currently reading:  


  1. I have that Kaling book and have only read a chapter or two. This does not bode well.