Friday, July 1, 2016

June Book Wrap Up

Once again, just going to hop right into it. There's a lot of books, so...

I Used to Write On Walls by Bekah Brunstetter

A short play about a bunch of girls who all happen to be in love with the same boy or at the very least have some sort of relations with this boy. They're all kind of crazy and he's stoned out of his mind.

Unfortunately, we're starting off on a bad note. This may very well be the worst play I've ever read. I just read it to get through it quickly so that I could move on to the book I wanted to read, I regret buying this. The monologue in it isn't even good. Don't read.

1 out of 10 stars.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

This book has been pretty famous lately, so I'm sure you've heard of it. It's a sci-fi book about a man who relives the same life over and over again. Like Groundhog Day but for your whole life. There are others like him, but Harry August is special. And that's why, at the end of his 11th life, he is told by a young girl like him that the world is ending sooner and sooner and he needs to find out why.

I had high hopes for this one. Perhaps too high. It had a similar theme to a book that I've loved in the past (My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares) but it's nothing alike. I wrote a lengthy review for this book on my Goodreads page, but I'll say a little bit here. There's a fundamental error with the basis of this book. All of these people reliving their lives shouldn't be on the same timeline as each other. They shouldn't be meeting each other within their lives because they all die at different times. So they shouldn't be born to the same universe. Aside from that, it kind of bothered me that events weren't in chronological order, though in the end it makes sense. Just a lot of the scenes were kind of needless...again, it makes sense because at the end you find out what the book really is but...It just wasn't my favorite. The science, psychology, and history seemed to be on point, though.

7.5 out of 10.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

A play about the Salem witch trials. I believe it borrows the stories of actual people in the time period. It follows much of  a town, but largely one man and his wife, who are eventually accused by a young girl that the man had a short affair with.

Unfortunately I didn't get to this one before the Tony Awards, because I fail, but I got to it nonetheless. Not a particularly enjoyable read; I just read it because it's an important play. I find worlds where people are motivated to do what they do almost entirely because of religion infuriating. So of course I wasn't going to enjoy this. But I do think that it has an important message at the end. Also, there were just too many characters to be able to keep track of while reading a play.

4 out of 10 stars.

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

You get to choose which events of Neil Patrick Harris's life are your own and how you end up living! Or dying...

I'll admit that the choose your own adventure aspect wasn't my favorite personally, but it did add whimsy that is so quintessentially NPH. I read it as an audiobook, which I loved because it adds so much personality. And who doesn't want to listen to NPH talk to you? If you love him, you'll love this. Also, I gained soooo much respect for him as an actor that I didn't have before, because I hadn't really thought about it. But now I have things that I hope to carry with  me as an actor forever.

9 out of 10 stars.

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode

Monologues from all 8 of Santa's reindeer, telling stories about him, each other, and their lives. Note: their lives aren't what you think. They're dark.

This...wasn't what I expected. I thought it would be funny in a sick, twisted kind of way. Well, it was sick and twisted, but mostly not funny. It seems like a lot of this stuff was for shock value. And I have to commend Mr. Goode's creativity here but it seems some things went kind of too far. It still was interesting, though, and it would be interesting to see put on its feet. I can't exactly recommend this, but if you're in the mood for something different...involving reindeer rape, pedophilia, and some actual important feminist notes, then go ahead.

4.25 out of 10.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

A novel about a girl named Cath who writes very popular fanfiction about a fandom that is this world's Harry Potter. Her first year of college with her twin sister drifting away from her and her unstable father left alone for the first time and...boys.

Thank god. This book was incredible. I mean, I love fanfiction (reading and writing) so this was something that I needed in my life. And the fact that Ms. Rowell seems to have such a true understanding of the community added a lot. (I mean, there was a story within entitled Five times ____ and one time he didn't. You have to be an insider to know that subgenre of story!) Cath was like a more extreme version of me and so I empathized with her a lot. Literally my only gripe with this book was that 'Cath' is heavy on the tongue and unnatural to say/read. That's it!

10 out of 10!!
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

As usual with Mr. Williams, a play about a southern family. This one circles around a couple living on the husband's father's plantation along with the father, mother, brother, sister-in law, and 6 nieces/nephews. This couple, though, is barren, and the husband is throwing his life away to the drink, setting any chance of inheriting the plantation ablaze.

Whoa, bad summary. Good play. Enjoyable even to read and I liked this as much if not more than Streetcar. Maggie was endlessly sympathetic and relatable and Brick was tragic, yet understandable. Big Daddy was more than you originally would have thought him to be. The characters, as predicted with Mr. Williams, were amazing. But this time, there was a little story to it as well. The plot was alright. I would love to see this in person.

8.75 out of 10 stars.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

You've been living under a rock if you haven't heard of this one. A play about two black maids and one upper middle class white woman in the 60s in Jackson Mississippi and how they join forces to tell a story.

(It was a pleasure to read this after reading Cat because their settings are so similar. It was a treat. Just saying.)

Oh man. I thought that this book would be a chore to reach. Something from a reading list circa 2012 that I never got to, but my god. This book had all that hype for a reason. It's so good. Some of the most amazingly touching moments that I've ever read were here. And it provided so much insight to the time and it felt like you were really immersed in it. Each character's voice was interesting and never did I feel like I was rushing through one section to get to the one that I found more interesting, because it was all equally amazing. I couldn't believe how good this was, but I knew I was in for a treat only after the first page. You can tell that early.

10 out of 10!!

Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar

Last one. This is about an ex-Muslim lawyer and his white wife, who loves Islam. They and everyone else in the play disagree greatly on Islam and at times it gets very heated and people's lives begin to fall apart.

This was sensitive to me. Beyond just living in a post-9/11 America, it hit me very personally. My father is Muslim and immigrated from Bangladesh when he was 12. I, therefore, was born Muslim and have since...defected. It's just not for me. A similar situation to our main character Amir. Except I don't seem to have this anger that he has...thankfully. But I sympathize with many of his early sentiments. That being said, I think I would need to see the play or at the very least read it again to get a decent understanding of what I feel about it. What I will say, though, is that I loved the author's note at the beginning on how to read plays. That was worth the world. The interview after was also great. Read those!

7 out of 10.

That it. This month was an uphill climb, but it ended on a very strong note; now I have 2 new favorite books. That doesn't sound like much to most, but it's a dream come true for me.

Anyway 9 books and plays this month. I'm probably going to finish my next today. Ps--it's not good. I'll post my TBR tomorrow, hopefully.

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