What I’ve been reading, January 2014

If I could, I think I’d just hibernate this winter with a mug of hot chocolate and about a thousand books. (Seriously, it’s way too cold, as I’m sure your Facebook friends have readily informed you.)

But since that is apparently not a possibility (thanks, responsibilities)(and marathon training), I’ll have to settle for my usual subway reads.

Speaking of which, it seems like a good enough time to share a new installment of “What I’ve been reading.” You can read the first one here.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
What it’s about: The tragically beautiful story of a middle school girl coming of age when suddenly the planet inexplicably stops rotating. It’s a little disconcerting how realistic the response is to the phenomenon, and 10-year-old Julia’s hauntingly innocent descriptions of her world falling apart keep you wavering between hope and heartache until the last page.
What I thought: My brother recommended this to me after being less than impressed with “The 5th Wave.” That lapse in judgment aside, he’s usually pretty reliable for a good book recommendation, so I dove in. I can see why he likes this book better; it’s a bit deeper and not really YA despite being narrated by a preteen. Highly recommend to any former English majors out there.

11/22/63 by Stephen King
What it’s about: Essentially, narrator Jack Epping goes back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination. The problem is, “time is obstinate.” The more he tries to change, the more time fights back, ending in a violent stand-off and an unexpected ending.
What I thought: I’m pretty sure I was reading this book when I wrote my last round-up. Another recommendation from my brother (he sent me about eight books a few months ago, so he should really just start sponsoring this series), this was one of the more interesting stories about time travel I’ve read. And in true King style, it’s nearly impossible to put down once the action gets going.

Allegiant (Divergent Series) by Veronica Roth
What it’s about: Ughhh please don’t make me go over the plot again. YA dystopian lit, society has been split into factions, a teen girl has to save the world, blah blah blah.
What I thought: Those who know me will not be at all surprised that I read this series. (Dystopian YA lit? Sign me up.) But while I love the genre, I wasn’t that impressed with the series as a whole. Frankly, all three books were just kind of…forgettable. Waiting months between reading the second book and the release of “Allegiant” was hard mostly because, by the time the third book came out, I could barely remember what had happened in the second book. Don’t get me wrong, if you want a (somewhat shallow) escape and liked “The Hunger Games”, this is the right choice, just don’t expect to get too invested in the characters.

World War Z: And Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
What it’s about: It honestly doesn’t matter a stitch what you thought of the movie because there are maybe two similarities. Namely, there are zombies and the main character has roughly the same job as Brad Pitt. (Sort of.) The book is a collection of interviews of people who witnessed the Zombie War. All walks of life are represented, from marines to teens, and the character voices are riveting. Again, the realism might make you a little uncomfortable (and maybe prep a go-bag in your apartment). Fair warning.
What I thought: Yeesh, I really need to read something besides science fiction, amiright? This is what happens when you descend from a family of nerds. Regardless, I really liked this book. Oddly enough, I feel like it gave me a really interesting insight to how wars are waged and the philosophies around breaking down an enemy. Plus, some of the stories are so intense, you might miss you subway stop. (Hypothetically.)

Ready Player One: A Novel by Ernest Cline
What it’s about: The book opens in the year 2044, and the world is kind of awful. Most of society spends their time in OASIS, which started as the most advanced video game in history until it became an entire virtual world where people go to school, go to work, fall in love, etc. Everything changes when the game’s creator, James Halliday, initiates a 3-tier challenge in his will, the winner of which will inherit his virtually limitless fortune and gain control of the entire OASIS. Teenage narrator Wade Watts gains immediate fame when he becomes the first person in five years to find the first clue, and then it’s a race to the finish as he tries to find Halliday’s Egg before it falls into the wrong hands.
What I thought: Yes, I finished the book I was reading when I wrote my New Year Sum-Uppance. And, you guys. I like this book so much. If you like literally anything nerdy, you should grab a copy, because your personal passion is probably mentioned by name. (Nintendo? Dungeons & Dragons? The Breakfast Club? They’re all in there.) If you like action, riddles, nerdy ’80s nostalgia, and hey, even a little romance, read this book.