Some beloved books are not for me, and that’s fine

You have probably read The Book Thief and loved it. It’s #14 on the NPR Great American Read list, after all. When I picked it up, someone saw me holding it and said “oh, are you re-reading that?” And I said, “I’ve never read it.”

You know what? I’ve still not read it. I got a fair bit of the way in, too. But here’s the thing: right now, I don’t need a book about Nazis doing horrible things. I don’t need to read about how society goes down that slippery slope towards hate and violence and intolerance. It’s bad. I know that, and I see enough of it happening in the world right now. And The Book Thief was not a compelling enough story to make me forget that.

Plus, the Death character in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels has, apparently, ruined me for all other characterizations of Death.

The Book Thief was not for Kates.

Sometimes books aren’t what you want them to be

I added The Glass Universe to my Amazon wishlist in a fit of feminist fury after the 2016 election. I, I thought to myself, am only going to review books by and about women! I have not stuck to this – my interests are too wide ranging – but I find myself skewing more towards books by and about women.

Alas, I wish I liked this book better. I wanted it to be about the challenges that women interested in astronomy faced, or to take a step back and talk about the larger picture of how they fit into the whole field. Instead, it was a very dry “first this happened. then that happened.” Maybe the larger picture got addressed later in the book? I didn’t make it far enough to find out.

Not recommended.

Blonde and wealthy is a character description, not a basis for friendship

The After Party

Sometimes, writing one of these little reviews changes how I felt about a book. I found Hild even more intellectually interesting. Writing this, though, made me dislike the book even more.

The After Party would like us to believe that Joan and Cece are friends, despite us never really seeing what the connection is between them. There are friend-like moments, but Cece mainly worships Joan. It’s unclear why – the fact that Joan is blonde and wealthy isn’t a reason. These are two people who move in the same social circles and have their entire lives. They are “friends” because of propinquity. There is no real connection between the two.

(And let’s not get started on Joan “wanting more out of life” which ends up meaning… well, spoilers. But it’s not satisfying at all, and I actually didn’t find it to be “more.” It was just different.)

In short: I just couldn’t with this book.

Zombies and conspiracies

Girl with all the gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts was not for me. It’s point-of-view is from a super-intelligent girl who also happens to be some sort of zombie-like creature. It is after the zombie apocalypse, as far as I could tell, and what remains of the government has captured a number of young zombies to run experiments on. I got about fifty pages into the book and did not care. So I put it down.