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I study languages.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Booklist 2013.

I don't devour books the way I used to. I returned from my mission seven months ago, but have read only a handful of novels since. I wrote this in June; it refers to a booklist that I'll reproduce at the end of this post.

"If you've checked out my 2013 Booklist, you'll notice that after a three-week flirtation with books in March, I totally stopped reading. It's not that I've forgotten to update my blog. It's true. I cannot concentrate on literature any more. I read what I have to for school, mind half-focused and skipping, and then because my memory remains so fixed on a lifelong love for reading I stop into once-beloved bookstores every so often. These visits stress me out. They usually entail me spending an hour combing the shelves, opening books to random pages to taste an author's ethos (I am very picky), selecting something that turns out to be really painful for any number of reasons (or something really short that might keep my attention--a collection of essays or short stories, like I used to adore), and not being able to get through more than the first sixty or seventy pages. I am not comfortable reading; it doesn't take me away like it used to; it takes so much time. I am so much less tolerant of books and everything in them: graphic content offends me; sloppy style and poor presentation offends me; stupid sensationalism offends me; I scoff at philosophy and transparent attempts at depth; I don't like to wait to understand the plot; I get bored.

I don't like Young Adult literature because it's by definition genre writing and the young adult genre cares more for emotionally weighty ideas than it does for articulate presentation. Ideas are the point, of course, or should be, but I like to read ideas that are rhetorically sound and artistically clean; naive presentation makes me hate what you're saying because of the way you're saying it."

That being said, here's 2013's booklist to date:

Completely finished, every word. Recorded with date completed and number of pages.
Recommendation key:
!  Certified intellectual endorsement (I liked this book)
*  Light and fun
x  Not worth it
~  Meh. Okay.
^  School book
  • ! Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua (3/7) (234)
    • A rhetorically violent take on so-called Asian parenting; morbidly impressive
  • ! Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs (3/25) (352)
    • Peculiar fantasy story built around creepy (real!) vintage photographs of children
  • ! Moloka'i, Alan Brennert (3/27) (415)
    • Richly narrated historical narrative of a girl exiled to the infamous Moloka'i leper colony in 19th century Hawaii
  • ! Unwind, Neal Shusterman (6/26) (335) 
    • Futuristic take on abortion theory: terminating fetuses is no more, but "unwinding" teenage children is perfectly legal
  • ! 1984, George Orwell (7/17) (268)
    • Coming off a mission, I reread this high school classic with religion on the brain. Wow.
  • * Divergent, Veronica Roth (10/08) (487)
    • Creative, dystopian YA fiction; compelling ideas, shallow characters, poor imagery; like the Hunger Games but longer.
  • * Insurgent, Veronica Roth (10/12) (525)
    • Sequel to Insurgent. I just have to know what happens!
  • ! My Story, Elizabeth Smart (10/17) (307)
    • Graphic, nearly unbearable description of nine months of kidnap, abuse, and rape; ends with healing and hope (!)
  • * Allegiant, Veronica Roth (11/2) (544)
    • Completion of the YA trilogy. Didn't end how I expected it to, but fun nonetheless.

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