Monday, June 6, 2016

May Book Wrap-Up

If you don't know what a book wrap-up is, it's when you substitute the tortilla they use for the burritos at Chipotle with book pages. More fibrous so you poop even more.

Poor jokes aside, a book wrap-up is simply when a book-person reports on the books that they read in a month and gives their non-spoiler thoughts on them and perhaps a rating. I'm going to list every book I read in order, give a brief summary and explanation of my take, whether I recommend it or not, and a rating.

I'm just going to jump right into this, since it's going to be lengthy as it is.

The first two books are actually from March, not May, but they were the first two books in this mission, so I'm going to include them anyway. And we're just going to ignore the fact that this means I didn't finish a single book in April.

 Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

You've definitely heard of this one. It's about a boy named Charlie who is writing letters to an anonymous friend (you) as he's struggling to fit in his freshman year of high school. He confides in you the shenanigans he gets into, the friends he makes, and his family life.

I really enjoyed this book. This is the first book I've read in a long time that I've let wash over me so that I could truly consume it and enjoy it. I did something that I never do and I wrote in it. I wrote in a journal as I read it in case anything truly thought-provoking occurred to me. It was magical and refreshing. Despite Charlie being an unusual child, he is relateable, as everyone feels like they're on the outside sometimes.

9.5 out of 10, because I loved it, but I didn't love it and I'm still waiting for that book that I truly love.

The Odd Couple by Neil Simon

This book is written with a female version and a male version. Obvious by the color sexism here, this is the female version in which much of the play revolves around a game of Trivial Pursuit rather than the poker of the male version. Two main characters who are friends with very different personalities. When one falls on hard times, they move in together, much to each others' chagrin.

Very funny. I love the female cast because we need more plays, movies, and TV shows about girls. There's a wide variety of characters here and they're all fairly well-written. I thought the ending was wrapped up a little too quickly, but this was a pleasant, quick read that I fully recommend.

8.5 out of 10. Can't complain.

 Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

 A book for pedants everywhere! The famous British book about punctuation. Basically, it's about this history of punctuation and its use (and disuse) now.

This book has some funny moments, some oddly offensive moments (bringing up 9/11 was a little uncalled for), and a whole lot of knowledge about punctuation. You have to be at least somewhat pretentious to enjoy it at all, so if you're not, pass it by, because Ms. Truss is very pretentious. But as a grammar lover, I liked it, I just thought that it was a bit much at times. Its laws were handy though, even to an American reader. I think it reads just as well for an American as it does a Brit, because the differences, if you don't already know them, are all pointed out.

7 out of 10.

Strange Interlude by Eugene O'Neill

A story through the lives of Nina and her boys Charlie, Sam, and Edmund. How they grow together and grow apart, and which boy Nina chooses...or boys Nina chooses.

Strange is right. This play got weird. It had one plot point in the 3rd act that I just couldn't get behind that the rest of play rode on, so that ruined it for me. As much as it was a bear to get through--very long for a play--I kept reading it only because I had to see what happened next because it continued to get more ridiculous. So that has to count for something.

6 out of 10. Don't want to read it again, but I wouldn't mind seeing it live!

 Seeds: a mini story by Glip (and Marl)
Originally on

A web-comic published into a book. Our main characters Min (who is the one my flash hit. Oops.) and Cress are attempting to travel from Topside to Hellside to deliver some seeds. More interesting than it sounds.

This is a world--called floraverse--created by a person (who I think may be genderqueer, so I'm going to stick to neutral pronouns) named Mel, though they go by Glip (short for Glitched Puppet) on their websites. Its a world with a wide cast of characters and many stories besides this one, though it's the first one to be published. I can't recommend it enough. The world has way more questions than answers right now, which is endlessly frustrating, but intoxicating as well. Check it out if you're at all in to comics. Or even if you're not, because all of the art is just amazing and anyone would like it.

10 out of 10.

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Semi-autobiographical book about a family based off of Mr. Williams' actual family. It's about a mother, son, and daughter and their struggles to coexist when none of them truly understand each other.

As much as this one is a classic, I didn't really like it that much. Not much happened. The story just wasn't intriguing. The characters absolutely were, but that just means I would have liked acting in it; not reading it. I think I was just missing something.

6 out of 10.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler's autobiography. I listened to the audiobook.

Do the audiobook instead of the physical copy. It's just more fun and there are extra tidbits of fun in there. But anyway, I enjoyed it. But I'm not a huge Amy Poehler fan. If you like her at all, you'll like the book. Simple as that.

6 out of 10, just because I'm somewhat apathetic towards Amy Poehler.

 The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

 An unlikely tale about 2 sets of identical twins, both separated at birth. This play is about the hijinks that ensue including, but not limited to, mistaken identity, angry wives, insanity, witchcraft, and family.

Well, as long as you have a healthy ability to utilize your suspension of disbelief, this is a super fun show. I generally enjoy Shakespearean comedies and this was no different. Easier read than I thought and very fun, though you would have to have even more suspension of disbelief if you were watching it live. Because there's just no way that the identical twins could both be identical twins. But good show regardless.

7.5 out of 10.

Four by Veronica Roth

A collection of short stories about Four/Tobias Eaton before and during Divergent.

Had to round out the series. I got into the series just before Insurgent came out and I even liked Allegiant. So I had to read Four. And I enjoyed it. It was what I expected, nothing more, nothing less. I have nothing against add-ons to series, even if some people see it as a money-ploy. I think that authors just like telling you as much as they can about what they created and I don't care if that's self-indulgent. Because a lot of the readers like to know more too. If you don't then skip it. Whatever.

8.5 out of 10.

Angels In America part one: Millenium Approaches by Tony Kushner 

A play set in Manhattan during the AIDS epidemic. Follows a number of gay men, whether they are living that way or not, and a few various family members. How they live and fail to live with the disease in their lives.

I worked backstage on this play almost 2 years ago, so I was very familiar with it, but I wanted to re-familiarize myself with it before reading part two, which I had never read or seen. I liked getting a deeper look at some of the things that I missed my first time around. Plus, the dialogue is very thick--the characters say conversationally what are actually very thoughtful things, things that are hard to believe that they're coming up with on the spot--so it was nice to take my time with it instead of having actors choose the speed for me. As incredible as the text is, I just don't personally enjoy it that much.

7.25 out of 10.

Proposal by Meg Cabot

A novella about five or six years after the events in Twilight, the last book in the Mediator Series as of a decade ago. This short has to do with more than one proposal and more than one ghost, though one in particular is very, very angry. Suze, as per usual has to clean up that ghost's mess--after first making it worse, of course--and then maybe, just maybe fits in some personal time with our favorite ex-ghost, Jesse.

The Mediator Series was my favorite series back in middle school. Fortunately, the language of this book was a little more advanced, though Suze has changed very little. It was all very familiar but with a touch more age to it. Not much more that I could have asked for. Unfortunately, I thought that this novella had a slow start, which shouldn't be possible for an 80 page book, but somehow it was. But I was just so happy to have a new book in this series! Finally!

8.75 out of 10.

Angels In America part two: Perestroika by Tony Kushner

Continuation of part one. You definitely need to read/see part one first, otherwise you'll be completely lost here; it is not a standalone work. AIDS continues to plight Prior and Roy, as well as their loved ones. We now have actual angels and way more craziness in addition to the sobering hand of death always on your shoulder.

This play just took everything to the next level. This made some things better and others worse. Prior was endlessly fascinating while Harper was endlessly tiring. It was nice to see Joe come into his own a little bit more and his mother was a joy of a more realistic character some others here. Louis was a weenie, as per usual, but it all was crazy. Therefore:

7 out of 10.

Remembrance by Meg Cabot

Currently the final book in the Mediator series. Takes place less than a year, I believe after Proposal. Jesse is working in a hospital, Suze is working, God forbid, at her old high school, and Suze thinks Jesse may be a demon? Whaaaat? Yeah, of course Paul had something to do with that. Glad he's back.

This book did something for me that hasn't happened in a while. Not since Divergent, I believe, but I'm not even sure it happened with that one. I reached the last 100 or 150 pages of this book and could not put it down. I stayed up an hour or two later than I intended because I was hungrily reading through it. Also, this book had 2 plot twists that happened that I really didn't see coming, one of which was enough for me to set the book aside and rant at a friend for a few minutes. That shows some good stuff. Again, Suze was pretty annoying at times, herself and her narration, Paul was more a plot device than a character, and Jesse was not narrated well, but the plot was great. Really great. And the nostalgia too.

10 out of 10. Because nostalgia.

Woooow, long post. That's all of them, though! 10 books/plays in May. Good for me! My TBR for June will be tomorrow!

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