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It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story - Ned Vizzini I've read quite a few coming-of-age novels, and this one starts off in pretty much the same way. Lonely teenager is stressed and nothing seems to be going right. The difference here, and it's a fairly big one, is that the main character is suffering from depression.

The depiction of an adult psychiatric hospital isn't very realistic, but it didn't matter to me. There's an authenticity to the book that made its flaws seem much less important. It's funny, maybe a little sappy, but it's also warm and honest. It's a little too happy for the subject matter, but the characters and their feelings seem real.

RIP Ned Vizzini.

The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling - Erika Johansen It's too long, for what is essentially an introduction to the story. It drags for the first 200 or so pages. There are stupid moments and plot holes aplenty. The whole idea of this medieval world actually taking place in the future just feels like an attempt at originality that doesn't work.

Somehow i still ended up caring about the characters and their story. The last two hundred pages may have even approached 4-star quality, and I was entertained. So, overall, I hope the next two books can improve on the many flaws of this book, because I want to see where this story goes.

This Year You Write Your Novel

This Year You Write Your Novel - Walter Mosley A very short how-to book, it covers most of the same things I've read in many other books on writing. It's repeated so often because it *is* good information, but this particular book doesn't bring anything new to the table.

An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines - John Green This book got on my nerves at the beginning, and I assumed I'd stop reading it. But I kept going, and somehow it ended up charming me just enough for me to finish.

My thoughts about the book were very positive as I finished it. But I can't ignore everything I hated along the way. The humor often tried too hard, it reminded me of a weaker version of The Rosie Project, and it just had a lot of little things that grated on my nerves.

It improved, but I can't give it anything higher than 3 stars when I think about everything I disliked about it.


Quiver - Stephanie Spinner Well-written, inventive, an interesting take on a piece of Greek mythology.

I enjoyed the character of Atalanta quite a bit, and I found the short book very entertaining.

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword - Barry Deutsch A fun, charming graphic novel based in folklore. The art isn't all that attractive, something about it turns me off. But it works to tell the story, and overall it's a fun read.

Mermaid in Chelsea Creek

Mermaid in Chelsea Creek - Michelle Tea, Jason Polan It wasn't a book I expected to like much, but I thought I'd give it a try.

The first chapter surprised me, it was grittier than I expected. The book as a whole still isn't any dark, macabre fantasy, but it's more mature than it seems. The writing is nice, sometimes quite great, and the characters and story caught and held my interest. I really enjoyed the book, and it's one of the few times I've eagerly awaited a sequel to a random book I picked off the shelf.

American Vampire, Vol. 1

American Vampire #1 - Stephen King, Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque Fast, stylish, very nice art, but I lost (or stopped caring about) the plot halfway through. And my tolerance for gore was pushed to the limit here.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin I don't want to give this 3 stars. It's suited to my interests, it's funny, it's charming. But it feels so slight. I kept waiting for something deeper to come, and it didn't.

It's a small book with a small plot. That's not bad at all, if you can fit a lot of depth and substance. Unfortunately, this didn't. It had the setting and characters, it just didn't do enough with them.

Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story

Bellman & Black - Diane Setterfield There was potential. Interesting atmosphere, nice writing. Then it went on, in detail, about the running of a mill. Then, an emporium. It went on, and on, and on.

They set up mysterious details. Some interesting bits to keep me wanting to read. But then it followed through on none of them, and when it did, it was an underwhelming yawn-fest.

If you want to read about a boring over-worked man running a company, this is the book for you. (though I admittedly question your taste a little)

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Rachel Cohn, David Levithan This book shares quite a bit with Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (including its authors), but I found it much more enjoyable.

Dash, as a character, got on my nerves at times. I wasn't a huge fan, but Lily was warm and funny and very likable. The entire cast was pretty likable, and they added a lot of flavor and character to an already charming novel.

It's a light read, perfect for the holidays, and it made me laugh and smile throughout. And that's really all it tries to do.

The Swan Gondola

The Swan Gondola - Timothy Schaffert The setting was what drew me in and kept me interested. The writing was pretty solid, the pages oozed with character. The book never bored me, but it felt like it should have been so much more. So much deeper, and more poignant, and more memorable. I kept thinking to myself, "You have the backdrop and the characters, do something exciting with it!"

But not much happened. The sort-of twist in the third part (act?) was a stab at making it something more intriguing, but it still felt oddly low-key. Low-key isn't bad, but I wanted more from this.

Bigger. Better.


Daytripper - Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá, Craig Thompson, Dave Stewart, Sean Konot The structure of showing the same man's death at different points in his life is an interesting one. It's enough to make an engaging and possibly thought-provoking book.

And in some cases, the right people can run with that concept and turn it into a brilliantly profound work.

The art, first off, is great. It evokes emotion and life, and it's just plain nice to look at. The story, the thoughts on life and death and stories themselves, that's what makes this graphic novel a brilliant piece of fiction. It's powerful, aided by pitch-perfect writing. It's memorable and beautiful and is as hopeful as it is melancholy. I loved this book.

The Night Guest

The Night Guest - Fiona McFarlane I'm still not sure what parts actually happened, or what was solely in the mind of Ruth, the book's unreliable narrator.

A great read. The writing is excellent, the characters feel developed in the first 50 pages. The atmosphere is unsettling, though at first it's quite hard to pinpoint exactly what seems so off.

This would be a great book if it was from an experienced author; the fact that it's a debut makes it so much more impressive.

Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke - Tim Sale, Brian Bolland, Alan Moore After reading (and loving) "Death of a Family", I thought I would read the classic Joker story. This one is more focused on the Joker's past, but it gives a chilling example of his insanity as well. I'd say it's more powerful than the much more recent Scott Snyder story, as I felt a bit shaken after reading it.

It's great writing. Great art. A great graphic novel.

Batman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family

Batman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family - Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion I don't read comic books. Graphic novels, yeah, but I feel like I never have time to get into a serialized comic series. So I can say that this is my first modern Batman comic.

I think I would have got even more out of it if I were to have read the other comics in this series, but as a standalone, it's still gripping and horrific. The writing, showing a lot of Batman and the Joker's relationship, is wonderful. The art as well, a lot of the scenes and images in this book will likely stick with me.

It's a sharply-written, memorable, and altogether great work. No previous experience with Batman (or comics in general) is necessary to appreciate this smart and haunting story.