I’m finished! I can now stop feeling guilty for not finishing my last non-fiction book because I am done. Now I can read whatever the heck I want. I know, I know. Why would I feel guilty for not reading something that was not required in the first place? That’s just me, people. You don’t need to understand the why — just know that the when is no more. As promised, here are my reviews for my favorites. Only two of them are adult books. No surprise there.
World War Z by Max Brooks: When I chose this book, it was listed as humor. I’m all for a fun zombie book, but there was nothing funny in this one. I was not disappointed, however. Brooks has chosen a documentary style that smoothly ties the individual stories together, leading you from the first signs of outbreak to a victory that is far from final.
It’s better as an audio book, I think. Each character is voiced by a different actor, many of whom are quite well-known. Included among the cast are: Alan Alda, Carl Reiner, Mark Hamill, Henry Rollins, John Turturro, and Rob Reiner.
The Magnificent Twelve: The Call by Michael Grant: With his long list of phobias (including hydrophobia, claustrophobia, and even phobophobia), Mack is the impossible hero. Nevertheless, it’s up to him to assemble the Magnifica: a team of twelve 12-year-olds who must combine their powers to defeat the greatest evil the world has ever known: the Pale Queen. With a golem (Mack substitute) in place at home to tend to Mack’s everyday life, our hero sets out into the world accompanied by Stefan Marr, his personal bully-turned-bodyguard, and absolutely no clue what he’s doing.
This book is hilarious! My favorite parts are the golem’s diary entries and the airplane scene. If you get it in audiobook format, you’ll be treated to the most awesome impersonation of a garbage disposal grinding up a poisonous snake. Can’t wait to read/listen to the rest of the series.
Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go by Dale E. Basye: This is the story of twins, Milton and Marlo, who die while committing a crime and consequently get sent to Heck (Hell for children). There they have to attend school (the principal is a demon named B. Elsa Bubb) and try to mend their wicked ways before the day they turn 18 and receive the final verdict on where their souls will be sent for all eternity. They, of course, decide to escape.
One of my favorite scenes so far is music class with a teacher who is actually an angel with the “teacher exchange program”, which is intended to expose the children to influences from both “H” places. (She’s Maria Von Trapp, complete with Austrian accent and bubbly personality.)
(The next book is not the one from my bingo card. That book was The Scorch Trials. It wasn’t as good as the first in the series, so I’m reviewing volume one instead.)
The Maze Runner by James Dashner: Thomas wakes up in some sort of elevator with no knowledge of who he is except his name. The world he finds outside of the elevator is a large glade surrounded on all sides by stone walls that seem to reach the sky. There is an opening in each wall that leads into a maze made of those same, impossibly high, stone walls. The glade is populated by about 50 or 60 boys, between the ages of 12 and 18, who have managed to form an ordered, almost completely self-sufficient community. There is a farm with gardens and livestock, and everyone works to contribute to the community. Every day, runners are sent into the maze to map it and attempt to find the way out. The walls move every night, so the maze is different every day, and it soon becomes apparent to Thomas that there is no solution.
Shortly after Thomas’ arrival, all of the “rules” of the glade seem to change, and the leaders among the boys realize that they must find a way out or die. Oh, did I mention that the maze is populated by giant creatures that appear to be a cross between slugs and Borg?
Matched by Ally Condie: The Society controls everything: what people will wear, what hobbies they have, what they study, what they eat, what books/poems they read, what movies they watch, what music they listen to, and even whom they marry. Cassia has never questioned the Society until one glimpse of a choice denied (whom she will marry) causes her to question everything. If life-long friend Xander is really her perfect match, how can she be falling in love with Ky, an aberration who will never be allowed to marry?
I’ve decided I really enjoy dystopian lit. I love reading about the shift from blind obedience to awakening discontent and the desire for true freedom.
Animal Farm by George Orwell: Fed up with Farmer Jones’ incompetent administration, the pigs lead the animals in a revolution. Jones and his family get booted off their own property, and the animals set out to build a utopian society. Inevitably, corruption and greed turn paradise into a cruel, oppressive, and ultimately futile existence.
I’m not sure why I like this book. It’s ridiculous and depressing. Boxer’s “retirement” nearly brings me to tears every time I read it. But for some reason, I can read this book again and again. Wonder what that says about me.
Anyway…those are my top six from this year’s library reading program. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pick up my daughter at school and show her my awesome new flashlight.