Books read in July
I should never ever say when I intend to publish my next post. Because every time I do something happens like magic to prevent me from doing that. When I say nothing everything is fine and I can post whenever I want. So, here are the books that I read in July, almost a week later than I said it would be. Nothing come up until I have finished typing this.
Paper Towns by John Green
In May’s post I wrote about Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, his most successful and popular book to date. Obviously, after such a favourable experience with one book, I had to check out his other work. I’ve had this book for six months, but just never got round to it. Well, now that I’ve read it, I can say:
TFiOS wasn’t a fluke.
This one also won about a gazillion awards. It’s also being made into a movie. It’s very popular. But as none of those things really say anything I have to add: it’s really good.
It’s a book that’s devoted in its entirety to destroying the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope. It’s a book about how the way we see other people actually says more about us than about the people we are looking at. It’s intense and funny and crazy and, like TFiOS, very quotable.
Green’s favourite saying in his YouTube videos – as far as I can tell – is to imagine others complexly. We look at each other as two-dimensional and forget that everyone is a person. Everyone has so many layers and to stereotype or to put people into boxes is not just unfair, but it is actually cruel.
Speaking of YouTube videos, you can watch/listen to Green reading the prologue of Paper Towns here.
This book reminds me strongly of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Not really the plot. Not that there is also road-tripping or talking about lots of places that I have no idea where they are. I don’t really know what it is. Possibly it is the feeling that I got in my chest while reading both, that feeling that this book can see through all your layers and masks and also penetrate them until it enters your bloodstream and stays with you forever. It makes you see the world a bit differently. It made me think of people I was at school with and haven’t thought of in years. It made me a bit ashamed of the things that I used to say about them. That’s what a good book should do, right? When you’re done, the world is a little bit different, because you are a little different.
Perhaps Paper Towns is what you would get if The Great Gatsby met up with American Gods and Sula and then they all went together to see Death of a Salesman.
And yes, in my experience 18-year-old boys do talk that way, people on the internet who do not agree.
I finished it in 24 hours. I read way too late at night, ignoring the fact that I had work in the morning and I really need to be mentally present to hunt commas all day. I had to know the ending before I could sleep.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
I very nearly finished this book in July, so I’m including it here. I’ve read it before in any case so… I just made the rule up that it counts.
The “wyrd” in the title is, of course, a pun on “weird”, but “wyrd” is also an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “fate”. (And also a bunch of nuances because Anglo-Saxon is a complicated language and the Saxons were obsessed with fate. Seriously if you know TFiOS and Augustus Waters and think he is bad you haven’t met these guys yet.)
Like most of Pratchett earlier work, Wyrd Sisters is a parody. In this case, a parody of Macbeth. But the three witches are the good
guys women… mostly… And Lady Macbeth is the ambitious, strong, malicious leader.
Shakespeare himself makes an appearance in the shape of a dwarf.
Death makes a cameo, as they say in film credits, “as himself”. He likes cats and is not evil, just very good at his job.
There’s ghosts, very awkward romance, bad acting, brilliant acting, torture chambers, magic spells, crystal balls and lots of people trying to speak “Shakespeare” and failing. There’s too many people using words that they don’t know what they mean, leading to hilarity. I don’t think you need to be familiar with Shakespeare to find this funny, but I’m a huge fan of both Pratchett and Shakespeare, so to me this is a match made in literary heaven.
I reread it, so obviously it was good.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐