In April I recommended 130 books from 26 alphabetically themed genres in the name of the A to Z blogger challenge. Now that it's May, I have to find something new to blog about. I'm going to continue talking about all the great books I've read a little bit longer.
While I recommended 130 books last month, I didn't actually read that many books last month. I read eight books. Three of them made it into the 130 I recommended, but I read the other five after their genre's day so they didn't make it into my list. Today I'm going to tell you about all eight of my April reads, listed in the order I read them.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - This is an epic fantasy, emphasis on the word epic. It's very long and complicated, but once you figure out who all the characters are (there are 9 POV characters just to give you an idea of scale) it's a very well written story. I just got the second book in this series from the library today, and I can't wait to find out what happens next. As a point of order, I will admit that if you don't want to read the 835 page volume the HBO series Game of Thrones follows Martin's story very closely.
In Defense of Food by Michael Polin - This is a non-fiction book about food. It reminds it's readers that as omnivores, humans are very well adapted to survive on a very wide range of diets without serious health risks. The one diet that humans are not adapted for is the standard American diet, referred to as the "western diet" in this book. Eating the western diet causes many western diseases such as heart failure, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and others. The solution to this problem, eat food, not chemicals. There are some very interesting case studies and scientific data in the book to back this claim. Even though I finished In Defense of Food almost a full month ago, I still find myself thinking about it almost every time I open my mouth to eat, so I guess that means it's a good book.
The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs - This non-fiction book made it onto my N is for Non-Fiction list last month. It is a semi-humorous memoir about a man who tried to spend a year following all of the commandments. Not just the big ones like thou shall not murder, but the more obscure ones like thou shall stone adulterers too. So if you want to read about a guy not wearing mixed fibers and tossing pebbles at adulterers in central park, The Year of Living Biblically is an entertaining read. As an aside, A.J. Jacobs came to Portland to promote his newest book, Drop Dead Healthy last week and I went to hear him speak. I haven't read Drop Dead Healthy yet, but may do a post about Jacob's talk sometime in the next few days/weeks.
Saving Francesca by Melinda Marchetta - This contemporary YA made it onto my Y is for Young Adult list last month. It's a story about one of only 30 girls at a predominately boys prep-school's quest for friendship and acceptance. I was a total tom-boy as a teen and as a result tend to really enjoy reading boy books. So this "girl book" with more male than female characters was right up my ally.
As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott- This YA novel made my Z is for Zoink list last month. I classified Zoink as the name of the genre that isn't quiet contemporary YA but it isn't quiet anything else either. In As I Wake, Ava wakes up with sever amnesia, except as she tries to assimilate into her standard contemporary teenage life, she starts getting more and more "memories" from another far more dystopian parallel universe. Are these memories just dreams, or did Ava somehow travel through dimensions? And if Ava did come from another darker world, does she want to go back?
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carry Ryan - This Dystopian YA is really more of a zombie novel than anything else, even if the word zombie is never actually used. The Unconsecrated, aka zombies, have been living on earth for several generations. Mary lives in an isolated village that is protected from the unconsecrated by large fences and armed guards. But when the unconsecrated breach the fences and overtake her town, Mary and five of her friends venture out into the forest of hands and teeth in search of a new life and the hope that not all of humanity has been lost to the unconsecrated.
Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt - This coming of age take is marketed as contemporary YA, but I honestly think it's a book that will appeal to more adults than teens. It's about an eighth grade boy growing up in Upstate New York during the 1960's. One of Doug's brothers is in Vietnam and his other brother is a juvenile delinquent. His father is an abusive alcoholic and his principal thinks Doug is on the fast track for the state pen. But when Doug finds a book of drawings by John James Audubon he becomes inspired to learn how to draw. Somewhere along the way, he also learns how to hope. Even at the end of the book, Doug's life totally sucks, but you can't help but believe Doug's hope for a better future is justified. I'm not sure how many junior high school boys would like this book, but I think a lot of adults would enjoy it, I know I did.
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern - I recommended 130 books in April, obviously in real life I'm more than a little bit nerdy. So I always love good books that focus on the not-so-cool kids. Into the Wild Nerd Yonder did have a fairly geektastic cast of characters. But the main character starts the book well integrated in the popular crowd, or more specifically in the punk rock crowd, but definitely not among the nerds. The choice to give up her backstabbing frienamies for a life among the geek-squad is the big story arc of this book. I like Jessie's friends at the end of the book way more than her friends at the beginning of the book, but her deep moral dilemma about whether she wanted to "gasp" become a nerd did piss me off a little bit and I sort of felt like the nerds should have seen through her and not accepted her because she was sort of a bitch. But in fiction, nerds never reject cool kids so that didn't happen.
While I enjoyed all eight of these books, if I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be Okay for Now. What about you? What's the best book you read in April?
I can dream up lives for myself that are far more entertaining than my actually existence. I try not to be to egotistical. So sometimes, I dream of fictitious lives for other people too. I’ve been known to write these adventures down, into magical things called books. None of my books have been published yet, but trust me – as soon as my writing becomes available in stores, I’ll be sure to let you know! In the mean time, you can read my musings here.
When I’m not busy making up my own stories. I love to read stories written by other people. I also have a serious audio book addiction. This leads to me doing crazy things like reading/listening to 20+ books per month. If I stumble upon anything brilliant, I’ll try to let you know.