Wednesday, 15 June 2016
MINI BOOK REVIEWS | MAY
Total number of books read: 8
Total number of pages read: 1595
Genres: 1 adult non-fiction, 5 graphic novels, 1 adult thriller, 1 adult fantasy.
Nationality of author: 5 USA, 1 UK, 1 French.
We're about half way through June so why not take a look back at May? May was a bit of a funny reading month for me, although I read eight things, five of them were graphic novels, which didn't take me very long to read, so the rest of the month was spent plodding slowly through just three books. I think I was just exhausted after reading an incredible twelve books in April, and that exhuastion has crept into June somewhat. Oh well, swings and roundabouts. Let's get into the reviews!
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling | ☆☆☆☆
Why Not Me? is Mindy Kaling's second collection of memoir-essays and unlike Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? which was a collection of funny musings and anecdotes on Kaling's childhood, Why Not Me? is a more focused memoir of her career and her journey to success. I found it a little difficult to get into at first because jumping from the fiction I'd been reading, to Kaling's very distinct voice was a little jarring but once I got into it I couldn't get enough. Mindy Kaling is exactly the kind of person everyone can imagine being best friends with; she's hilarious, confident and self-aware and she has some really interesting, honest and inspiring things to say in Why Not Me? This book reminded me how much I love her and inspired me to rewatch the show she created, wrote and stars in, The Mindy Project, and I'm loving every second.
The Invisible Kingdom by Rob Ryan | ☆☆.75
I've categorised this as a graphic novel in my reading statistics to simply things but it's really more of a picture story book, aimed at 'anyone aged 8-80', according to Goodreads. Rob Ryan is an amazing artist who specialises in papercutting and this book is a story about a lonely young prince that is accompanied by Ryan's papercut illustrations. The images in this book, as always with Rob Ryan's work, are absolutely stunning, but the story just lacked something for me. It was quite sweet but there wasn't a lot of plot and part of me thinks that the images could tell the story better by themselves. I think this might be part of a series but I'm not sure I'll be picking up the others.
Saga Volumes 2, 3, 4 and 5 by Brain K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples | ☆☆☆☆☆
After reading Saga volume one all the way back in January, I finally got around to borrowing the next four volumes from my local library and devoured them in just a few days. I absolutely love this graphic novel series, it's definitely my favourite by far. Saga is a sweeping space opera with a young family at it's center who are fighting to stay alive in an intergalactic war. It's difficult to describe the plot other than that but it's one you should just dive right into. The art is just incredible and the writing is sharp, compelling and hilarious. Read it now.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh | ☆☆☆☆.25
After being thoroughly disappointed by Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Cuckoo's Calling, I'd figured that mystery-thrillers just weren't for me. But my lovely friend Emma wanted me to read this book so much that she very kindly bought me a copy and after my other friend Emma gave it a rave review, I thought I'd better give it a chance, and I kind of loved it. I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a remote Welsh village after a tragic accident, but she finds that no matter how hard she tries, she can't escape her past. Sounds kind of like every mystery-thriller ever right? Wrong.
My issue with mystery-thrillers is that after a lifetime of watching pretty much every episode of CSI and Dexter, I tend to figure out the mystery pretty quickly and I don't usually find them very thrilling, but I Let You Go just threw out all of my preconceptions about this genre. I can't put my finger on what it was, maybe it was the writing, or the pretty unpredictable plot, but this book had me totally gripped from the first page and I just couldn't put it down. It was heart-wrenching, terrifying and at one point so shocking that I actually audibly gasped so many times on the train that the woman near me may have been concerned for my sanity. If you love this genre, or think you hate it, I urge you to pick up I Let You Go. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
The Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery | ☆☆☆
This book was kindly sent to me for review by ED public relations on behalf of Gallic Books, who publish books that have been translated from their original French, into English. It is about two young foundlings who, although living thousands of miles apart, are connected by something mysterious, and whose presence blurs the lines between our world and another. Those who loved Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog will find The Life of Elves to be quite a departure both in genre and somewhat in style. The Life of Elves is magical realism bordering on fantasy and is written in a very lyrical style, which might not be to everyone's taste. I personally enjoyed losing myself in Barbery's writing which had an almost ethereal quality to it and conjured up vivid images of nature, innocence and magic. The Life of Elves is definitely more character driven than plot-driven and every character was described so richly that they felt almost real. However the plot did move very slowly and could have done with a little more structure; there seemed to be a lot of descriptive narrative which suddenly culminated in a slightly confusing climax which felt a little unfinished (it might be part of a series, but I'm unsure). Overall, I really enjoyed Barbery's writing and would recommend it to fans of lyrical style and a more relaxed pace.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?