Friday, October 26, 2012

House of Leaves

I don't think I've been less able to write a review for a book than I feel I am for this book. And I mean that in a holy shit it was amazing way. I've heard it said that there's a cult following for this book, and I 100% ended up sitting in the woods, clutching this book and giving all my possessions to the leader. Leader is good ya'll. I don't know how I didn't read this book for so long, but my BFF is reading it and told me to pick it up. My BFF is finishing her phD in neurogenetics or *something* complicated like that, and reads a solid mix of amazing books, and romance novels (hey, similar to my reading a solid mix of amazing books and urban fantasy) (I suggest reading UF personally though).
So here's the thing. This book fucked me up. I'm sorry to swear, but there's no other way to say it. Usually I cope with books that disturb  me by taking forever to read them. I was done this book in two days, and I'm relatively sure this book should actually be classified as a category three narcotic because the dreams I had were not ok. I don't normally summarize books because I like to give my feelings - I feel it makes the review more of a feeling based review, I want to tell you why I think you should or shouldn't read the book. Or flat out tell you to go read it. The thing is I cannot summarize this book. Yes, I read it, but this book is basically the definition of metafiction. Have you read Raw Shark Texts? It's kind of like that but it takes it about 20 levels further in terms of making you want to talk about life, the universe and everything. 

So here: 
  • It had footnotes. I love footnotes
  • Played around with typography and colours. A+
  • Metaphysical Space Time Continuum house? Maybe? Excellent.
  • I actually said "Jesus" out loud while reading it.
I don't even know. I loved this book. In case that's not clear. It's probably not clear, because shut the front door what just happened. But I loved this book. I also hated Raw Shark Texts so take from that what you will. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Touch of Power

So I generally hate reading the first book of a trilogy - something about how I finish and want to keep reading. Instant gratification at its best/worst.  The thing is I really really do like Maria V. Snyder. I couldn't put down Study series, it was fantastic and I really wanted something that was an easy read, but not a boring read (and I mean this in the best possible way).  Snyder reminds me a lot of Tamora Price - strong characters, solid plotlines, great pacing and romance that doesn't make you roll your eyes and go "Really?"

All that held pretty true to form for this book. For lack of a better term this is a lovely book. There are twists and turns and adventure and while there are a few gaps in the flow of some background information, I'm pretty sure that will come out in the next two off the series. There's also a lovely bit of whimsy - human eating plants make a surprisingly fantastic plot point. Who knew?  Generally it's just a very very readable story - I'm sparing you the summary because it's *everywhere*.  So here's the deal. I'm a librarian. I was turned onto Snyder by someone who works at a bookstore. So it's not that I know everything, or even that she and I know everything. But what we DO know is books.  With exceptions for personal tastes, two people who know books say go read this writer. I *personally* liked her Study series a bit more, but that being said I read the whole Study series, and not just the first book.

So go, read it. Trust me, I'm a librarian.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking

Full Disclosure I won this book as a Goodreads Firstreads. The thing is though, I entered the contest because I read the summary and immediately laughed because hand to god this book was almost exactly a conversation I was having with a good friend recently.  Basically we were talking about how we find the whole "self-help" thing boring.  My problems (not that I have any, obviously) do not stem from me not having any faith in my ability to get through things, so why do I need to wake up everyday and tell myself it will be a good day. Sometimes it isn't. You deal, and you move on.

... Anyways.

So the stars aligned and I won this book.  I was pretty excited, because you know, I wanted it.  Burkeman is a writer for The Guardian who (I believe?) (I should know this) (If not know, find out, since I'm a Librarian and it's what I do) explores psychology in his weekly column. The Antidote looks at finding contentment from different perspectives, moving your focus outside of yourself, not focusing on finding security, realizing your own mistakes and weakness and sometimes damnit realizing that being negative is actually the most positive outlook you can have. Basically this books is giving legitimacy to something we all kind of hoped - it's ok to not be perfect, it's ok to not be happy, it's ok to just plow through some things muttering to yourself about how this bleeding sucks and you just want it to be over so you just get. it. done. 

So long story short, I loved this book. It's funny, and smart and counterintuitive enough that it makes a whole damn lot of sense. What it's not is a self-help book. Well for me it almost was - it's one thing to have your friends agree with you - it's another thing when somebody wrote a whole book with actual facts about how it's ok to not force yourself to be happy.

So go. Buy a copy. Take out out from the library. Lend it to a friend (or few).  But make them buy their own copy after, because They should probably lend it to their friends.