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abookaweek: week forty-five through fifty-two

2011 December 26
tags: ,
by Romy

Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?, by Mindy Kaling

I have the biggest platonic crush on Mindy Kaling. She’s as funny as Tina Fey, but more relate-able. And she knows how to write a coherent book that isn’t all over the place.

I came across a few preview chapters of this book earlier this year, and found myself snort-laughing on the tram, while other passengers looked on, helplessly caught on the same vehicle as a nerdy, inappropriate girl. Needless to say I pre-ordered the book as soon as I got home, and it is one of the most anticipated and over-delivering books I have read this year.

It’s a collection of essay-cum-memoirs that every girl should read, and then tell everyone else about, like I just did.

Zone One, by Colson Whitehead

This is technically a book about zombies (and admittedly that is the main reason I picked it up) but it is a lot more intelligent than you’d expect, considering the amount of zombie-related entertainment that has come out in the past couple of years.

Told from the point of view of a zombie-apocalypse survivor who is now part of a unit clearing parts of Manhattan from the last remaining zombies in that area. There is very little action, so don’t expect stories about groups of survivors holing up inside shopping centers, but instead you’ll find a take on society after a zombie plague, sort of like what The Road did for environmental apocalypses.

However, I wouldn’t compare it to The Road, which shines in its bleakness and authenticity. Zone One feels a bit more forced, and suffers from an overly complicated plot revealed in flashbacks and internal monologues. I had to put in a bit too much effort for what I got out of it, but it was a good read nonetheless.

Looking for Alibrandi, by Melina Marchetta

My YA book club recommended this book to me, as a seminal Australian young adult book, and it really is an Australian take on the YA novel.

Having had three big glasses of sparkling wine tonight, I can’t for the life of me say anything meaningful or funny about this book. Sorry, Melina Marchetta.

The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had to, by DC Pierson

I don’t know what I was expecting when I bought this, but I don’t think this was it – which is not necessarily a bad thing!

Imagine if you never had to sleep, the extra hours you’d have every night to do as you please while the rest of the country is sound asleep. Sounds awesome, right? So why didn’t this book delve more deeply into that?

Instead this is sort of a coming of age story of the main character, Darren Bennett; boy discovers his artistic ability, boy discovers friendship, boy discovers girls and sex and heartbreak, boy discovers what it means to betray and to be betrayed. Which is interesting, and the friend who can’t sleep gives it an interesting spin, but it isn’t exactly groundbreaking.

That said, Darren was portrayed so realistically, with such authentic voice, that that really makes up for it.

So we come to the end of the year and the end of this challenge. I figured I’d be one book over or under, but in fact I am eerily on par with my challenge: as of December 26th, I have read 52 books!

I really enjoyed doing this, and I would feel a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction if it wasn’t for Callum pointing out to me that over this year, I have acquired as many books as I’ve read. Which kind of defeats the purpose of this ordeal! But never mind that; I got to take a lot of books off my ‘to read’ list (though not all), and gave up on reading a number of books that, to me, just weren’t worth the time and effort I had been putting into them (Atonement, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the Year of Magical Thinking, and We Were the Mulvaneys, for example).

I was going to leave you with my favorite out of the 52 titles that I read, but it seriously is like Sophie’s Choice. It cannot be done.

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