Hopefully this will be a fairly regular post about, you guessed it, what I have recently read! A bit of warning: I am not a critic. I enjoy liking things and talking about why I liked them. If something really bugs me, I’ll talk about it but I like to read with rose-colored glasses on.
I traveled a lot over the last several weeks and used the down time to get through several books. The first was All the Birds in the Sky. I picked up this book at Waterstones in London after spending a good half hour just looking at all of the different covers on UK editions of books. It took a lot of willpower to not buy up some of my favorites. (Actually, it was probably the carry-on I was toting around for a two week vacation that really convinced me.) Anyway, the book. I hadn’t heard of this book but the synopsis mentioned witches and mad scientists and that was all it took for me to buy it. I was surprised when my husband saw it and excitedly informed me that it was written by Charlie Jane Anders, one of the co-founders of io9, which is a site I really enjoy. This only added to the book’s appeal for me.
I prefer to go into reading a book pretty blind with no real opinion on how I’ll feel about it. Knowing that one of the co-founders of io9 wrote it raised my expectations but it didn’t disappoint. I really enjoyed this book. There was the promised magic and mad scientist shenanigans. There were some funny jokes and digs at popular culture. I laughed a few times while reading it and it didn’t get boring. As someone who loves character stories, I felt this had good ones, so much so that I wished there were more time with some of them.
Next up was Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (pictured above with a cute little button I got at Y’allWest.) This book had been on my list for a long time and I finally bought it for my long plane ride home from London (my first ever duty-free purchase!) I read this book at lightening speed because I loved it so much. I found the main character to be completely charming and I loved his family that overwhelmed him with their interest in his life. I related to that a lot, especially thinking back to high school years. I think Albertalli really did a great job of portraying that feeling and the various emotions it can make you feel. I have a soft spot for affection that grows from words and not physical attraction and stories that revolve around that. I think it’s especially touching in our society today and this book did that beautifully. Simon was fun to read and sweet and had some great kissing scenes. I love great kissing scenes.
This past weekend, I went to St. Louis and stopped in one of my favorite bookstores while I was there: Left Bank Books. There were a few new releases I wanted to get but I didn’t want to read a hardback so when I spotted The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, I picked that up. I thankfully didn’t get past about the middle of the book on the plane ride home because when I started reading it the next morning, I got to a part that made me sob. It wasn’t a quiet little cry, it was a shoulder shaking, tears running down my face cry. I tweeted this experience at the author and he apologized. But! That was so unnecessary. I love it when a book makes me feel something. I loved the characters in this book. I mean, that’s why I was so upset. I loved the premise of the book. I grew up in a small town in the bible belt and oh man, could I relate to so many things in this book! I was nowhere near as cool as the girl in this book but I didn’t go along with the mainstream in my school and man, did I get made fun of a lot. Anytime the religious themed coffee shop came up, it made me laugh. I can just picture it so well! The main character deals a lot with his family name and not becoming them. I can relate to that as well. I don’t think you need to have grown up in a small town to appreciate this book but I think it made it more endearing to me. The characters are all so likable and believable. This was one of those books that after I finished it, I missed them. I wished I had more time with my friends.
That’s it for my recent reads while traveling across the seas and in the US. What have you been reading recently? Do you buy books just to read on planes?