Books Read in January & February 2015

Slapstick or Lonesome No More! - Kurt VonnegutAmerican Gods - Neil GaimanThe Bone Clocks - David MitchellAmericanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend - Kody KeplingerAnnihilation - Jeff VanderMeerFortune's Pawn - Rachel BachHonour's Knight: Book 2 of Paradox - Rachel Bach

  “Perhaps I am the turtle, able to live simply anywhere, even underwater for short periods, with my home on my back.”
 Slapstick or Lonesome No More!
– Slapstick or Lonesome No More! is one of Kurt Vonnegut’s later novels but this is my first time reading his work. A quarter of the American references flew over my head but the satirical heart of the story is still strong. I have The Sirens of Titan and the Cat’s Cradle to read soon.
If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship…

– Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was brilliant. I enjoyed the personal glimpses of Nigeria, the UK and America across time. Adichie’s observations on diverse individual, cultural and generational experiences were spot on. Definitely recommended.

“All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.”

American Gods (American Gods, #1)

– American Gods by Neil Gaiman. This story is a strange mythological road trip. There are surreal moments amidst desolation for both gods and people and everything in between. Mr. Wednesday as an antagonist drove me crazy but I loved Shadow’s transformative arc towards the end.

“..The soul is on the edge of what’s visible, like a clear glass marble in a jar of water.”

The Bone Clocks

– The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. The historical detail of the alternate world blew me away. Holly was such a brave character in this weird adventure. I will read more of David Mitchell in the future.

 “Don’t lie to yourself because you think it’s safer. Reality doesn’t work like that..”

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

– The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger was an interesting YA read. I wanted to be a friend to Bianca. I’d let her know that no-one’s sense of worth should be altered by a superficial comment from a random guy at a party. Those comments say more about the speaker’s perception of the world than the recipient of those words.

On the other hand, Bianca’s insecurity was portrayed realistically and would resonate with many young readers because we all internalise these damning social expectations. I did enjoy the supportive female friendships in the book. The non-judgmental portrayal of casual sex was also a positive change of pace in YA stories.

“Silence creates its own violence.”

Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy)

– For scifi/horror, I read Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. Some readers may find the unnamed main character distant but I found her unreliable POV to be compelling. The writing just drew me into her uneasy interior world. I need the sequels for a few more answers about the world.

“Did I pick safety or ambition? The slow and steady or the gamble? I smiled. Put like that, it wasn’t even a question.”

Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)

– Finally, I’m celebrating kickass scifi heroines with their own steady moral codes in Fortune’s Pawn and Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach. Light scifi/space opera with compelling mystery, action and adventure. Stir in morally grey characters that fans of BSG may enjoy.

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