Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Book Reviews 2015, Part Four

Well, I'm not really much for Big End of Year posts because it gives me too much stress to try and sum up a whole year. I make a memory jar throughout the year where I put mementos and I go through them on New Year's Eve, and that satisfies my need for summing up the whole year. (Although, I forgot to put in mementos starting in August, so I had to run around this afternoon looking for various things to represent the important events that happened in the last five months).

Anyway, so that's why this post isn't going to be like fanfare and trumpets about the greatness of 2015, or whatever. However, I do have my last book reviews to put up. My goal at the beginning of the year was to read 30 books, it might have been 36, don't remember, but I definitely shortened it to 30 when I remembered that I am a useless parasite who eats Tumblr all day. I'm tired, guys, I don't know what I'm writing even.

So, I, obviously, fell short of my goal, but I kind of almost made it? 20-something books? Obviously not counting books for school (well, three of them were technically for school but I counted them because they're cute and something I might have read anyway) or manuscripts I read for internships, or books I only started and never finished. If you count those, I read way more books.

Here's my last book review post, then! And yay 2015 is almost over, I guess, time is an illusion.


17. George by Alex Gino
So, this book is about a trans girl named Melissa, and I particularly liked it because Melissa is actually ten years old. You don't see the story of transgender kids a lot in mainstream media. Anyway, this book was definitely not my reading level, it's meant for elementary school kids, but it was a really heartwarming story and very well written. I think I would have really liked it and learned a lot from it when I was nine or ten. I thought the main character Melissa was really sweet and I was rooting for her to be accepted throughout the book. The book also touches on a lot of important issues- gender identity, obviously, and prejudice, and how adults can mean well but make their children feel like they've done something wrong. I hope this book leads a new trend of trans representation in children's media, since it was a great start.

18. My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman
This book was so good! Also a middle grade book (because honestly middle grade books are the best and I don't know why I ever read adult books or YA instead) and really good. It's about a girl named Tara who is planning her upcoming Bat Mitzvah while starting seventh grade. But she runs into some problems because her mom is Indian and as such, she feels split between her two cultures: Ashkenazi Jewish and Indian. She deals with problems like questioning her faith in God, awkward middle school romances, racism, and finding a way to unify the two sides of her heritage in time for her Bat Mitzvah. This was written really well, it was extremely captivating, and Tara was a wonderful narrator and protagonist. I also love seeing Jewish representation, especially Jewish representation that isn't strictly white Ashkenazi. And- there's a lot of good food descriptions. So, basically, amazing.

19. Kampung Boy by Lat
This one I technically read for class, but, OK, we barely discussed it in class and it's a cute graphic novel. It's a classic (well, from the 1950s anyway) from Malaysia. It's really sweet and simple. I don't know if I'd recommend it, because it's not super interesting, but it's a fun cute read for a kid for a bedtime story maybe. The graphics were endearingly simple, and the story was basically a coming-of-age story about a kid growing up in a rural village that was slowly being taken over by industrialization. I liked it.


20. If The Tabloids Are True What Are You by Matthea Harvey
I got to meet the poet who wrote this. She visited my "Poetry and the Book" class and gave a talk about her designs for the book. And she gave us all free copies! So I read it. It's a collection of really interesting poems. Just weird, cool stuff. Like, poems about different types of edgy mermaids and poems about girls who live in a glass factory and poems about fake tabloid headlines and poems that come in the form of pictures of ice cubes. It was just super fun and I don't know what the, like, grand purpose of the poetry was, but it was really a fun read.


21. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Well, this read has been a long time coming. I've been a Neil Gaiman fan about forever, and I just never got around to reading one of his most famous books, Coraline. I finally read it this week and it's amazing, obviously. It's a very well-done horror book, and normally I don't like horror (I get super easily scared) but because it's Neil Gaiman, I really do not mind the horror parts. Which was the whole book. It's very scary. Don't read it if you're easily scared. That being said, the heroine, Coraline, is immensely brave and awesome and she made me feel less scared because she stood up to every scary thing. This book is just so imaginative and makes you feel alive and it keeps you on the edge of your seat constantly. And there's a talking cat who was pretty great.

So, yeah. Yes. That is it. I'm currently reading Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (very good so far) and I'll probably finish that by tomorrow so I'll probably round out the year at 22. Not... too disastrous? No, that's not low enough of a bar. This was not the worst thing that's ever happened in the history of humanity. It definitely is not that! In fact, it's probably not even, like, the 100th worst thing ever. Probably. See, I am being positive, I can think positive.

Here's hoping I read more books in 2016!
Have a happy New Year's Eve, if such a thing exists,


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