May 27, 2016

Today, my friend Christy and I are hosting another linkup for our book club, Beyond Words. You don’t have to be a blogger to join! If you’re interested, you definitely should request to join here. I would love to have you. Each month, we’re linking up to discuss the book we read as a group. But we also want you to link up your posts about what other books you’re reading, what you want to read, and any thoughts you have about books and reading.

Today, I have 6 book reviews to share with you, 5 of which I think you might will want to devour over this long weekend.

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1. This month, our book club read Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma. This book is the reason why you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. I was tricked by this beautiful cover.

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For me, this book was hard to get through.

This may sound harsh, but this book was boring. I didn’t find the characters or the plot compelling. I especially didn’t like the way the women were pushed to the sidelines, or the things that the men got away with. For example, one character, a guy, breaks into one of the women’s homes to try to figure her out. When he confesses this, she doesn’t seem to mind. On what planet would that be okay? There seemed to be a lot of violation of the female characters’ privacy and disregard for their feelings. No, thank you, Kristopher Jansma.

It was full of cliches, and the author seemed to be trying too hard to be emotional and poignant. It was so boring that I couldn’t even remember the name — I keep calling this book, What We Did in the City. 

Luckily, I read a few life-changing books recently that made up for this one.

Yes, life-changing.

2. Feed by M.T. Anderson

Go get this book and read it. Right now.

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This futuristic book depicts a world in which there no devices, like smart phones or tablets. That’s because the devices are implanted into people’s brains. This is called the Feed. The book revolves around a character named Titus, who is perfectly content with this life. He is constantly connected to the Feed, which is always streaming in your brain, showing you advertisements, chats from friends, directions, menus, literally everything. He meets a girl named Violet who didn’t always have a Feed implanted in her and who looks at the world and the Feed in a different way.

In addition to the frighteningly real commentary on where technology is going, the author does a wonderful job creating this world and immersing you in it. For example, people don’t rely on speech too much because they don’t talk to each other, they just chat through the Feed. So the words that the narrator (a teenage boy) uses to describe what is happening to him, are simple. He has a hard time communicating his thoughts because he never has to.

3. Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robinson

John Elder Robinson is the brother of Augusten Burroughs, who wrote the memoir Running with Scissors. If you enjoyed that book, you will love this one.

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John Elder Robinson learned the hard way at a very young age that he was different from the other kids. When he had a hard time making friends and was yelled at by teachers for being unable to look them in the eye, he quickly realized that he communicated in a different way than how he was expected to. With an abusive, father and a mentally ill mother, he had no support or direction.

Over the course of his life, he learned what other people would expect from him socially, and used his savant abilities to immerse himself in an engineering career. He went on tour with KISS, creating their fire-breathing guitars, and continued to work in engineering, where his work would speak for himself and he didn’t have to worry about social cues. It wasn’t until later in his life that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s. His life story is pretty incredible.

4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodran

Fantasy! YA! Adventure! Greek gods! Yes, this book really does have it all.

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I adored this book and devoured it like a delicious meal. Percy Jackson finds out that he is half mortal, half god, and finds himself in the middle of the war between the gods. He meets other kids who are also half-mortal, half-gods, and adventures ensue. I’m on the waiting list at the library to read the next book, but I might just cave in and buy the whole series. If you love fantasy and YA, this book is for you. Another quick read.

5. Messenger by Lois Lowry

The Giver is one of my favorite books ever. I wasn’t that into the second book of the series, Gathering Blue. But I loved the story of Messenger, the third book that is set in the same world as The Giver.

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Village is a safe place. People come from oppressive villages, like the village in The Giver, to seek haven in Village. All are welcome. It doesn’t matter where you come from, how sick you are, or what you have done. But now people want to start closing off Village to refugees. They even start building a wall…..

This is an excellent book and I recommend it to anyone who loved The Giver. I think that both adults and children would enjoy it and could get something out of it. You could read it in a few hours.

6. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer 

I believe that this book essential reading for every human.

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As you may know, I am a huge fan of Jon Krakauer and will read anything he writes. In this book, he investigates rapes that occurred in Missoula, a college town in Montana, over a four-year period. The book is extensively documented, with official documents, discussions with victims and perpetrators, police officers, and more people involved in handling these cases.

I believe that this book is essential reading for everyone because, as Goodreads so eloquently puts it:

Krakauer documents the experiences of five victims: their fear and self-doubt in the aftermath; the skepticism directed at them by police, prosecutors, and the public; their bravery in pushing forward and what it cost them. These stories cut through abstract ideological debate about acquaintance rape to demonstrate that it does not happen because women are sending mixed signals or seeking attention. They are victims of a terrible crime, deserving of fairness from our justice system…

Rigorously researched, rendered in incisive prose, Missoula stands as an essential call to action. ” 
What have you read lately?

I’m looking forward to reading other bloggers’ book reviews today! If you link up, it would be awesome if you could check out some other awesome bloggers, too 🙂

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13 responses to “Recent Reads: 5 books you will want to read this weekend.”

  1. Mandy says:

    Yay! I’m glad to link up for the first time. Mine is just a review this month but I’ll be more involved in the group by next month.

    I’m glad to see some YA on your list as I’m a great fan. I have read the Percy Jackson but not any Lois Lowry yet. It’s a pity the book club book was boring. I’ve started discarding books I’m not enjoying, so it is always a bind if it is a book club book or one I’ve been asked I review as I feel obligated to finish those!

    • Carolann says:

      Mandy! I’m so glad we found each other’s blogs because it seems like we have similar tastes, especially for YA. Sometimes it’s hard to find people who love YA as much as I do!

      After wasting so much time reading Why We Came to the City, I just decided that if I don’t like a book anymore, I’m not going to finish it. Even if it’s for a book club! There are so many amazing books out there that there is no need for wasting time on a bad book!

      Have you read Feed? I think you would like it a lot.

      • Mandy says:

        Sorry for the super late reply Carolann, I dropped off the radar after my last exam. At times like this, where I am a little up in the air after an exam or something, I especially can’t read a bad book! This week I decided to watch the film for Room instead of reading the book!

        I haven’t read Feed but will add it to my to-read list!

        • Carolann says:

          Mandy, I think you will LOVE Feed! And I finished reading We Are the Ants yesterday. It’s easily one of my favorite books ever. I think that it’s truly one of those important books that young adults need in their lives, but that adults can certainly benefit from too. Thank you so much for sharing it with me.

  2. LisaLDN says:

    Wow, the Feed seems like such an interesting read! Will have to add it to my list 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    • Carolann says:

      Feed was probably my favorite book that I read recently – I highly recommend it! Let me know how you like it!

  3. Isabel says:

    Oh thank you for these suggestions. I will for sure check out Look me in the eye, and Feed!

  4. Lux G. says:

    I love The Messenger. I’m all full with my own reading this weekend though so maybe other weekends. 🙂

    • Carolann says:

      I almost didn’t read Messenger because I really didn’t like Gathering Blue, but I ended up loving Messenger!

  5. Feed sounds so interesting!

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