February 28, 2010

Books Read in February

This month I read five books (along with countless other parts of books). Instead of lumping the list in with my big ol' summary of the month post, like I did last month, I figure I'd post my book list separately.

Here's what I read this month, along with a short review:

1) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - Wow, what a way to start off the month. This is a story of a high school girl who has become an outcast. It's obvious that she's been through something traumatic, and because of that, she spends much of the story refusing to speak. There were many similarities to Some Girls Are, which I read last month, but overall, I liked this one better. It's a phenomenal book, and Anderson is a fantastic writer.

2) Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan - If you like pictures with your books, then you simply must read something by Shaun Tan. This book contains a series of vignettes which are always accompanied by Tan's amazing illustrations. There are meditations on what happens to unread poetry, stories about stick figures, and journeys to the edge of maps. I love Tan's surrealist tendencies. His book The Arrival is wonderful as well.

3) Please Stop Laughing at Me... by Jodee Blanco - This is a memoir of the author's firsthand experience of being bullied from elementary school through high school. Because of what she went through, Blanco automatically becomes a sympathetic character. Even so, this book didn't illuminate much for me. And that is probably because I was very put off by Blanco's quite ordinary and sometimes boring writing style. I felt that she was telling me everything but I never really was shown anything. I never really understood why she was bullied so badly. And honestly, sometimes I found her annoying. (This is coming from someone who was bullied, although not nearly as badly as Blanco was.) Her story is just so subjective, and Blanco spends a lot of time in the book just moralizing. A quick read, but not really a compelling one.

4) Madapple by Christina Meldrum - Okay, this book is weird. It's supposedly YA, but it contained so much heavy subject matter that I can't help but feel a little weird about teenagers reading it. On the other hand, maybe it's a good thing for teens to have access to such a strange story. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. It's very well written and researched. The story is pretty compelling. I felt at times that the author, like Dan Brown in The DaVinci Code, was really trying to show off how much research she'd done for the book. Some of the religious exposition was annoying because it was so obviously exposition. Again, I'm one for showing, not telling. Overall, I'd recommend this book.

5) Leaflets by Adrienne Rich - Adrienne Rich is one of my most favorite poets. Even so, I haven't read anything by her in years, which is a crime. In my overly emo state, I decided that reading some poetry was just what I needed. So I picked up this book, which I read about 10 years ago and loved. I sailed through it in less than a day. And wow. It's still an amazing collection of poetry, still as relevant to me today as it was when I read it back during my Great Depression.

So far I'm right on track with my reading goals for the year. 10 down, 50 to go!


phairhead said...

Laurie Halse Anderson has some other really great YA novels besides Speak.

Bex said...

I've heard Speak is great and I've been meaning to read it for quite some time. I'll add it to my (long) list!

cowboybootlady said...

I am jealous of you and Angie Eats of all the reading you do! I need to get on the ball! Have you read The Giver by Lois Lowry? Another good YA read.

Angie Eats Peace said...

Thanks for some of the recs! I will add them to my TBR list.

amber said...

I liked Speak, but thought her latest book Wintergirls, was amazing. I can't remember if you've read it. If you haven't, definitely pick it up. So so good.