It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? brought to you in part by Sheila at One Person’s Journey Through a World of Books, the letter S and the number 8.

I love getting to know new people. It’s so interesting to find out what people like, don’t like – what makes them tick. I went out with some new friends last night to this coffee house in Princeton to hear this local band called Alfa play. The band was good, the atmosphere was chill and the conversation flowed like the coffee we drank. Both of the women I was with are big into YA lit, so we talked about books we liked, recommendations, and books to stay away from.

Both had read a book called Nothing by Janne Teller and both said to STAY AWAY FROM THE BOOK!!! While this normally makes me run to the closest library/bookstore/computer to find the book and read it, I think I may take their advice on this one. It has been compared by critiques as a modern day Lord of the Flies, but embraces existentialism to the extreme. A hopeless book with a “life is meaningless” attitude and no moral or redemptive quality, my friends said it was only depressing but was poorly written to boot. The odd twist to this tale is that it has been getting favorable reviews of high praise! I have not read it, but was intrigued not only by the vehement hatred of the book by my friends, but also that they talked about it at length which indicates that the book did resonate and isn’t that one of the goals of a well-written novel? For the author’s website and reviews click HERE.

This week I’m reading Going Bovine by Libba Bray. When I first picked the book up I wasn’t sure if I would like it – a garden gnome, a dwarf with a fro, a punk angel, and a kid with Mad Cow disesase? Sounds like either a recipe for disaster or the beginning of a horrible joke. But Bray manages to hit a perfect pitch that she carries throughout her lengthy novel. It’s a coming of age story told in a refreshing new way replete with undercurrents of Cervantes’ Don Quixote as the protagonist battles against trials and tribulations that he faces. A brilliant debut novel!

I’m listening to The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga on cd. The story so far is very good and starts in a familiar way – nerd boy gets picked on a lot in school, meets goth girl, both are loners, become friends, and so on. The twist that I appreciate is that both are nerdy not just in intelligence but also in their shared passion for comic books. I am also a big fan of comic books and love the references and the excitement felt with the characters get lost in their “happy place” of comics.

The only big downside to this book (and I have to try very hard not to stop listening as a result) is the narrator! If you are interested in this book – DO NOT LISTEN TO IT ON CD! The narrator, according to his bio, has done Hamlet and Macbeth and YOU CAN TELL. Argh. Here’s this nerdy kid telling his story with some blowhard reciting it with his over enunciations and rOlling vOwels – NOT very nerdy. He doesn’t change his voice for characters, clearly thinking his Shakespearean acting is enough to be a good audio book reader. It is especially frustrating having just listened to The Nation by Terry Pratchett on cd, which was so amazing it makes all other audio book narrations pale in comparision.

  1. I have to stay away from that book you mention too then. Thanks for the tip! I’m interested in what you think of Going Bovine. I’m on the fence about that book!

  2. Going Bovine is one I have avoided so far but your review of it sounds interesting and now – maybe…. just maybe…. 🙂

    Have a great week!

  3. I’ve heard lots of good things about both these books. Sorry to hear that the Fanboy/Goth Girl audio isn’t great.

    • alissagrosso
    • March 29th, 2010

    I had read and loved Libba’s Gemma Doyle books (if you’ve missed these you MUST read them!) and they are so different from Going Bovine that I wasn’t sure about this book, but then I read it and it was awesome and proved that Ms. Bray is one super-talented writer. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

    The right or wrong narrator on an audio can make or break a book, I’ve found. Good to know as I almost borrowed the Fanboy and Goth Girl audio from the library.

    • I will definitely check out Libba Bray’s other books after Going Bovine. You’re right, she is a very talented writer! I put a hold on some more audio books, so I’ll let you know how they are. 🙂

  4. I should have told you bout the near throw down I had with another YA librarian who loathed Going Bovine. It definitely is a book that people have strong opinions about. And now you have to read Nothing so you can find the meaning we clearly missed!

  5. Great reading week. I go back and forth with Going Bovine. I will probably read it one day.

  6. I had no idea when I wrote this post that there were such strong opinions about Going Bovine. I think I’ll have to do a follow up post once I finish it to give my overall view of the book. Maybe it’ll help those on the fence decide which way they fall!

  7. I’ve been dying to get into Going Bovine; the dwarf and the cow stare at me sadly from my bookshelf but too many others to read first. Soon, I swear…

    I just listened to my first complete audio book and, definitely, you have to find the right person to do it! A “blowhard” reading YA? I will take your advice and avoid (though may check out the book one of these days.)

  8. I have heard that both of those books are great. I have a hard time with audio books–they have to be read by just the right person. So I totally get that it can throw off a whole book if the narrator is bad!

    I think you will have a great book week!

  9. Jackie and Felicia – Thanks for your comments! For the beginning audio book listener I would HIGHLY recommend The Nation by Terry Pratchett. I reviewed it in my Monday, March 8 blog if you want to check it out.

  10. most of the time i listen to audiobooks while surfing the net, i love to multitask he he “”

  11. i love to listen on audiobooks while travelling on a bus, i could learn a lot from it while travelling ~’*

  12. ‘”. that seems to be a great topic, i really love it ,:,

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