Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And Then There Were Seventy-Two

For the past several months I have been stuck in a crippling reading rut. I could not for the life of me find a book that could hold my attention, so I fell into the bad habit of watching TV before bed instead of reading. However, my resolution for 2012 is to read at least 75 books.

The first book to drag me out of my reading rut was The Visible Man, by Chuck Klosterman.




This is a unique novel by one of my favorite authors. It tells the story of Victoria Vick, a therapist who is contacted by an enigmatic man claiming to have the technology to become "invisible." At first Victoria is convinced that this man, who she only refers to as Y__, is delusional and possibly dangerous because of his voyeuristic tendencies. Y__ claims that he not only has the ability to conceal his appearance, but that he also spends his time invisible hiding in people's homes and studying them. It is written in the form of a manuscript, and it documents the therapy sessions between Victoria and Y__. Victoria soon becomes obsessed with Y__ and his motives, and this story follows the progression, and ultimately the deterioration, of Victoria's personal and professional relationship with her patient. I loved this book because it has the sharp and eloquent tone that draws me to all of Klosterman's books. It is fast paced and intelligent, and as always the social commentary and Klosterman's love of pop culture are as authentic as ever. If you are interested in this book I would also suggest reading Killing Yourself to Live: 80% of a True Story, (my personal favorite) Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto, Eating the Dinosaur, Chuck Klosterman IV: Decades of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas, and Downtown Owl: A Novel. I promise you will fall in love with Klosterman's fast paced and brilliant observations.

The next book I read was Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler.

Don't let the title or the YA stigma sway your impression of this book. It is beautifully written and completely relatable. Against all odds, Min Green falls in love with Ed Slaterton, the beautiful school jock, against the protests and warnings of her friends and family. However, when things inevitably  fall apart, Min compiles an Ed box and writes a letter to him explaining why they broke up. Min's voice is painfully beautiful and honest, anyone who has ever had their heart broken will remember and feel Min's intense feelings. The wonderfully simple illustrations make the story feel that much more real. I recommend this book to any girl craving a young adult novel with a little more substance.

Then I FINALLY got to read The Son of Neptune, by Rick Riordan!!! This is the second installment in the Heroes of Olympus series, a spin-off of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

In this installment we finally meet back up with Percy Jackson, and of course, he is plagued with the usual myriad of monsters, menacing gods, grim prophecies and  inconceivable quests that usually accompany a Greek demigod of his caliber. I don't really know how to say more without spoiling the story, but just take my word for it and pick up some Riordan. The books are so fast paced and exciting, but they're also highly educational. I've learned more about Greek, Roman and Egyptian gods, history, and culture from these books than I ever did at school. I would suggest starting out with The Lightning Thief, which is the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympian Series. I would then read The Lost Hero, the first book in the Heroes of Olympus series. And if those don't satisfy your thirst for adventure and monsters, The Kane Chronicles is also an amazing series. I was lucky enough to meet Rick Riordan and have him sign my copy of the Red Pyramid when I went to B.E.A. with my Borders babies :] We'd better get there this year!

Finally, for my next book I am starting The Eye of the World, which is the first book in Robert Jordan's epic Wheel of Time series. The Beard and I decided that we would pick out a book for each other this time. I'm making him read All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot because it is one of my all time favorite books.

That's a pretty good start, if I do say so myself. I will be back in a month and hopefully I will have made a bigger dent in my list!

“If I knew I was going to die at a specific moment in the future, it would be nice to be able to control what song I was listening to; this is why I always bring my iPod on airplanes.”
  -Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story

3 comments:

Alan Andrews said...

Nicely done, Rachel. Makes me want to read The Visible Man, definitely.

Naomi Ruth said...

I've heard contradicting reviews on the Daniel Handler book, so now I want to read it.

I really should read Klosterman one of these days...

Jessica said...

You know the main reason I read Riordan was because of you and Rebecca, you guys never steered me wrong!