Book Twentynine: The Cottagers

The Cottagers, Marshall Klimasewiski

It's not that I didn't like this book. It's just that it left me feeling like an empty shell of a human being with no hope or faith in humanity. But otherwise... yay!

I don't know, I just find that as I get older I have less and less patience for books or movies about hateful horrible people who despise themselves so much that the only thing they can do is snipe at others and drag everyone down into their own pits of depression. And by everyone, I'm also including you, the reader. I know that the world isn't always peachy and wonderful, but I find that there are much better ways to convey the horribleness of other people than this. I guess the book wasn't a total loss, in that the slightly thriller-ish aspect was intriguing and I tore through the last 100 pages just to know what happened. But I'm not entirely sure it was worth the suffering.

Book Twentyeight: Oxygen

Oxygen, Carol Cassella

Hmmm... While this book read quite easily and quickly, there was something slightly unsatisfying about it in the end. There were certainly some interesting ideas and themes in it, and yet there was something not quite fully explored at the same time. I don't know... I feel torn. I think this book was meant to ultimately shock the reader, and I didn't leave feeling shocked. I just felt kind of tense the whole time. Does that give you any idea what this book is like? Probably not, and for that I apologize. Just go read any review of this (very popular) book or the back flap and you'll know the basic plot, you don't need me to sum it up again.

Book Twentyseven: The Monsters of Templeton

The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff

Oh, good lordy. From beginning to end a fabulous read. I love this kind of epic novel with a hugely personal feel. I love this vividly imagined town--though how imagined is it vs. the reality of Cooperstown, I don't know. There were some minor contrivances, though I'm more forgiving of these things when the story is so good. And not to mention a map! And photos! And family trees!

Book Twentysix: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley

Dear The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie,

You had me at "Hello." There's no other way to say it: I am simply smitten with you. Everything about you totally had me from the get-go. When I picked you off the bookshelf and opened you up to your first page, I knew then and there that you were the book for me. Can I call you Sweetness? Yes? Good.

Sweetness, I love your narrator, little Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old chemistry enthusiast with a penchant for poisons, who, it turns out, is quite the detective. I love your mystery, I love your vivid characters, and I love that pie actually made an appearance in the book (custard pie, to be exact). I love that you made me laugh out loud many times over, and I love that you left me wanting more.

Ara Jane