Well, hello, Snobberians! I am MOST PLEASED to be invited to play in sj’s house. I will try very hard to be a good guest. That means I have to keep my elbows tucked in at all times, or else I will knock over grape-juice cups and you KNOW how that stains the carpeting.
Some of you probably need an intro into the world of Amy, right? Happy to do so. Hello! I am Amy! I blog here normally, but very seldom about books. I also blog here, and that IS about books. However, at Insatiable Booksluts, I usually blog about indie literary fiction, and a naughty secret is that I read a lot more books than just classy ones. I like young adult books. I like fantasy. Science fiction. Graphic novels. And I really like writing reviews for the books I read, no matter what they’re about. I think they’re helpful on a lot of levels. They help me remember what I thought when I read the book (I have a terrible memory) and they help others decide whether or not the book might be for them. So I’ve been putting brief reviews up on Goodreads of my non-Insatiable-Booksluts books, but when sj extended the invite to write over here…well, let’s just say that shouting yes yes! was kind of my response.
And speaking of reviews, and how you find the books that you read…
Well, one of my biggest sources for book recommendations is the inimitable sj. Because she a., reads the type of books I would also enjoy, b., writes the best lemming-creating reviews, and c., knows when she’s reading a book if it’s something I would also enjoy. So my to-read list gets longer and longer and I’d say probably half of it is sj-books.
So let’s see what I thought of books compared to what sj thought of books!
sj briefly reviewed this one here. I ALSO dig retold fairy tales; more than I probably should. It’s led to me reading some TERRIBLE books. So I read her review, which wasn’t really glowing, but middle-of-the-road, and immediately said, yep, I need to read this one. Because, retold fairy tale! And also, steampunk! These are things I like.
I ended up thinking the same exact thing sj did.
Not a bad book; interesting premise, well-written, kept my interest throughout. But the foreshadowing was SO HEAVY that you kind of groaned when you got to that part. Then you spent the rest of the book kind of yelling at the characters “HOW HAVE YOU NOT FIGURED THIS OUT YET?”
I don’t know if I’m enough into this to continue on with the series. I have so many books to read and I’m not going to live forever. OR AM I? *evil laugh*
Last year, I went through a very bad patch. Unemployment plus total malaise plus then my part-time job gave me a ton of hours so that I could pay my bills and my rent and such. This led to no time to read. At all. Months passed without being able to read a single book. I don’t know if my mood was worse because of the work situation or because of the lack of beautiful words being regularly siphoned into my eyeholes.
Once things let up a little, I decided I had to make time for books, because otherwise, they were not going to ever come back to me, and I needed them again. So I looked at my sadly-ignored and overflowing library books shelf (what, you don’t have one of these?) and saw this book waiting for me. And I said, yes. After sj’s review, this is the book that will start me back down the reading rainbow.
It was wonderful. She was right. It was full of whimsy and adventure; it was beautifully written; it had so many literary references it kind of made your head spin (in the best possible way.) It made me laugh in places and it made me a little weepy in places. It was a very intelligent book. It was the perfect book to break a dry spell. (And it totally broke my dry spell. I’ve had a book on the go ever since. I haven’t read as many books this year as I have in the past – living on the internet and writing this much and having three jobs kind of eats away at your writing time – but I’m pleased with my progress for the year. It’s much better than the zero books I had read when I started. And my mood? MUCH improved.)
Now, just so you don’t think EVERYTHING sj recommends is all rainbows and kittens for me…
sj was sure I would love this book. And yes! It sounded just like something I would like. Zombies! Horror! Apocalypse! A cult classic!
I had to force myself to finish this book. And the whole time I was SURE there was something wrong with me. I’m still not quite sure there isn’t. Everyone loves this book. EVERYONE. (Fine, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. There seem to be some people on Goodreads that didn’t like it. A few.)
Here’s the problem with this book for me. I am a fan of a linear storyline. Or at least a somewhat-linear storyline. Or at least a storyline that makes SOME SORT OF SENSE. I had no idea what was ever happening in this book. The characters kept disappearing; the settings would change without notice; things would happen that I wasn’t sure if they were REALLY happening or if I was just supposed to see them as a METAPHOR or what exactly the author was expecting me to think was going on…
…and it made me feel very, very stupid. It made me feel like when I was in college, and there would be this group of English majors deconstructing, say, Finnegan’s Wake, and they’d have these affected chesty chortles, and they’d say something like “Amy! What did you think of the sentence ‘This is the bog lipoleum mordering the lipoleum beg’? Your interpretation?” and I would have no answer because I HATE THINGS LIKE THAT and they would look at each other very knowingly and nod and in that nod was “ah. Yes. Amy is a troglodyte who can’t understand the deeper meaning of TRUE LIT-RA-CHURE.”
I don’t like a book that makes me feel like an idiot. I like a book that makes me think; I like a book that challenges me. But if a book is written in a way that seems JUST to be confusing, JUST to be esoteric, I don’t enjoy that. Not even a little bit.
Poor sj. She felt like she failed in recommending this to me. However, I let her know that it is not a failure to recommend a book to someone and have them not like it. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. If EVERY ONE of them were winners, where’s the fun in that? We’d never have any discussions! We’d always be all “good good yes loved it great lovely!”
A true friendship means you can dislike the other person’s most favorite books (or television shows, or movies) and yet STILL LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Yes! It is true! I know, it’s totally shocking.
Back another day with more bookish goodness, everyone! Thanks for not noticing the place I spilled pasta sauce all over the tablecloth. That’s very polite of you. Just avert your eyes. No one’s the wiser.