Sunday, August 9, 2015

Vacation Reads

This summer (which, sadly, comes to an end on Tuesday) I went to the beach on vacation, and can you guess what I'm most proud of? Not my nonexistent tan--although I was a lovely shade of crimson for a few days. The pile of books I was able to read. I read twelve books in ten days, and they were--for the most part--wonderful. Here's a quick overview.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman--This is my sister's favorite book. She's been telling me to read it for years, and I've been wanting to read it for years. However, I was always intimidated by the triple threat of small-type-small-pages-thick-spine. I thought it would take me forever to get through it. Instead, I flew through it, loving every word. 

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray--I read this every year at the beach. It's about beauty pageant contestants who get stranded on a desert island, but really it's about feminism (the way it should be: meaning that everyone gets equal respect) and the fact that you don't have to reject femininity to be a strong woman. Plus, it's got pirates, a secret government operation, and commercial breaks. What could be better?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen--This one's a re-read, too, but I paid closer attention to it this time, since it's for my English class. What I hadn't noticed before: all the sarcastic side comments. I laughed out loud multiple times.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut--This one will get a re-read, I'm sure. There were some parts that didn't make sense until the end and some that still don't make sense to me. However, I think on a re-read, I'll be able to put some of the end-of-the-world/atomic bomb/Bokonist book together. 

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby--I loved this book. I think it might be my favorite Hornby book so far. It's about a girl in 1960s Britain who wants to be on TV. And she wants to be funny. She gets a part, and a star is born. But it's also about the writers, producers, and other stars of the show--and I loved all of them.

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger--For the most part, I liked this collection. The writing was beautiful, and I enjoyed the stories (well, they weren't exactly uplifting, but I liked reading them anyway). There were a few stories that I didn't understand, but hey, that was only about 1/3 of it.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater--I was really into this at the beginning, but it got so slow towards the middle. There are a few different stories going on that don't connect for a while. I think my problem was that I wanted more of Blue's story (she's a girl living with her psychic family members, but she doesn't have physic abilities--just the ability to act as a battery for them) and less of the Aglionboy's (They're private school boys who are looking for a dead king and the energy lines to lead them to him). Once they started meeting up and working together, though, I got back into it.

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway--Okay, so it's got hearts on it, and the title is the names of a girl and a boy. So I thought it'd be a cute contemporary, a light read. The plot? Emmy and Oliver are best friends until Oliver's dad kidnaps him in second grade. This is the story of Oliver being found and coming back home after ten years. There's romance and friendship and humor. And it's lighter than you'd think it would be, considering the subject matter. But it's darker than you'd think it would be, considering the cover. So, aside from that shock, I really enjoyed it. I laughed out loud a few times, and found myself really invested in all the characters. I guess I'll have to get over the misleading cover.

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin--This is a beautiful, heartbreaking novel. I don't want to give away too much, especially because I went into it not really knowing what it was about, and I think that adds to the emotional punch. So I'll leave you with a quick synopsis and a recommendation to read it! Max is the popular, perfect golden boy. But he's also intersex, something that no one in his family talks about. But certain developments force the conversation, and Max's discovery of his identity begins.

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg--If you really want a cute contemporary, go for this one. Macallan and Levi have been best friends since seventh grade, but that makes it hard for either one of them to date other people, as other people always assume they're together. I've heard it called the "When Harry Met Sally" for a younger audience (this story goes from seventh grade to high school, instead of from college to adulthood). Can boys and girls ever be friends?

The Vacationers by Emma Straub--I don't know what I thought this book was about, but I loved it. It's a family vacation, but everything's awkward and full of tension. The vacationers are: a mom and a dad who may or may not be getting divorced, a daughter who's going to college in the fall, a son who's bringing his much older girlfriend (who the family doesn't like), and the mother's best friend and his husband, who are trying to adopt a baby. It's not only fun to read about the island they're staying on, but also interesting to see them try to work out their problems.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion--This one's about a scientist who tries to find a wife using an extremely detailed questionnare, but instead finds Rosie. It was cute and happy and the perfect last book to read on vacation.

As school starts again, I don't know how much time I'll have for reading, but I'm glad I had time to read these books.

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