WWW Wednesdays #3

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can participate — just answer the questions!

What are you currently reading?
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and my aunt’s copy of The Host (will I ever make it past page 23?!) have been properly shelved — like all other books I own — as I cut down a stack I call The Tower of Library Loot. Its height remains 11 books tall as I type, but all this seems pointless when I have another 8 books on hold and 2 in transit. (I don’t plan it this way. I request books based on their popularity and availability, yet they all seem to pile up so quickly. They’re daring me to read them all.) Essentially, the tower will never allow itself to consist of just one — or even a few — books, but I can try. As part of my lame effort to plow through library books, I’m reading Fuyumi Ono’s Sea of Shadow (The Twelve Kingdoms Vol. 1).

The creature was coming down too fast. She didn’t know how to use a sword; she didn’t have the courage to fight. She was defenseless.

More like useless. Yoko’s faults congregate into ugly character traits that highlight these deficiencies. Courage doesn’t have a home in Yoko, and if she ever experiences bravery I hope she doesn’t see it as a foreign invader and succumb to fear. Don’t get the wrong idea — I very much enjoy the swiftness of this story, how the writing neither drags nor lacks. It’s not smashed to ruins by excessive detail or poor writing, and it’s not thinned by inept skill. I can’t compare how the translation holds up to the original, but the pace and amount of description are enough to satisfy me. Reviews promise that Yoko’s character, while annoying at first, does evolve. It is difficult to imagine that her character remains a distressed damsel who no one wants to save, so until then: I’ll enjoy the pace, admire Ono’s fantasy creation, and look forward to meeting a more likable Yoko.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished several books recently, the last of which was Starters by Lissa Price. If only: I’d like to officially review this book, but I had to return it today.

Kami Garcia claims, “Fans of The Hunger Games will love it.” Connect this quote to the summary and you have the package that convinced me to read Starters, but why will THG fans love it? I don’t know; ask Garcia. The only similarity Starters and The Hunger Games have in common is that a) Price’s book is a bit dystopian and b) there is a love triangle (possibly a square, but we’ll see how it works out in book two).

Well, I read Starters, and despite that fact that I am a THG fan, I can’t say I love Price’s book. However! I don’t dislike it either, as I sit somewhere in between at three stars. Callie is a decent character: strong, smart, and sacrificing. She’s a survivor but prioritizes her younger brother above all else. When he falls ill with a bleak outlook of recovery, she opts to sign a contract with Prime Destinations: a place where Starters (teens) “rent” their bodies to Enders (elderly) and are given enough cash to pack multiple wallets for their services. Everything looks like it’s smooth sailing for Callie until her third and final rental — the chip that allows the Ender to take over Callie’s body becomes defective. What starts as a desperate means to get by quickly becomes a threat that endangers Callie’s survival. I like the presentation of the storyline and its characters, as well as its quick pace, but I didn’t find it easy to feel attached to Callie or anyone else. In fact, I feel no attachment; only slight interest.

Other books I finished (a few of which I will try to review): Lips Touch: Three Times | The Lover’s Dictionary | The Walking Dead Vol. 3 | Twilight: The Graphic Novel | Stitches | How To Train Your Dragon

What do you think you’ll read next?
I order my next reads by Which book is due that I can’t renew? Moira Young’s Blood Red Road is due next week, although I already gave this a few tries, and I’m not sure I can bear Saba’s speech. Listening to an accent — pleasant or unpleasant — is one thing, but having it inside my head is something else. It’s time for shame: I wouldn’t mind if it were an English accent or fancy Southern drawl, but Saba’s skewed grammar trips my tongue. I may enjoy the story if only I can work past the first-person narrative. How do people read through it?

 

So: if another attempt at Blood Red Road fails and I toss it in a drop box, never to see it again, I am very eager to start Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.

Summer Reading 2012

Summer does not officially begin until  June 20th, but today welcomed the end of spring classes as I begin digging through an aggregation of books. My summer reading list, which originally consisted of 50 or so titles, expanded to into a larger pile of 74. Residing in that list of 74 are books upon books I am far too eager to start, such as The Alchemyst, The Hunch Back of Notre-Dame, and Un Lun Dun (to name a few). This week, however, I’m looking forward to three in particular:

  1. Sea of Shadow by Fuyumi Ono
    Praise by BookLoons.com: “An exciting, fast-paced adventure that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.”

    I hope so! At 459 pages, who knows if I can finish this by next Sunday, but it’s a story I have waited to read. In the first book of  The Twelve Kingdoms saga, Yoko Nakajima is thrust out of her ordinary life and into a magical realm known as The Twelve Kingdoms. The set-up and environment of these kingdoms, I have read, reflect Chinese mythology — something I almost always find provides wonderfully engaging settings to get lost in.

  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    It is likely I never noticed just how frequently Dorian Gray references are woven into pop culture, but I feel the almighty mystical forces of the universe trying to transmit a message. Dorian Gray, Dorian Gray: oh, narcissism! (“How sad it is! I shall grow old and horrible and dreadful.”) Point of message: either I am incredibly vain or I need to read Wilde’s novel. Well, I hope it’s the latter.

    More and more, Dorian Gray is popping up in my life. In this week alone, I encountered near a dozen (or more) incidental mentions: from book reviews, TV shows, and everyday conversations.  Okay Universe, I hear you.

  3. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
    Even before its official release this month, high ratings have nested Shadow and Bone in a rainstorm of praise. I couldn’t feel more excited to pick up Bardugo’s book tomorrow, and I intend to read it the instant I get home. Oh, if only a leash can help lower my expectations. I’ve allowed the hype to seep in, slowly raising standards, and I’m afraid disappointment will override the excitement. Hopefully that will not be the case.
Happy reading, everyone. Enjoy your weekend!
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