Sunday, January 15, 2012

#2 Read More Books

I admit, 2011 was not my year for reading, my efforts abismal at best.  Sadly, I'm pretty sure I read no more than 10 books all year.  Probably less.  When I go through my rolodex of excuses reasons why I sucked so bad last year I find... work, social media consumption, work, work and um, work (because playing with Hot Wheels and LEGOs all day is exhausting business).  All of this left me tired and uninspired.  I have 20 books that I was either given or I bought last year  that I never even read.  It's shameful I tell you.  So now in the spirit of all things new and resolutions and stuff, I give to you my number 2 in 2012:  Read More Books.  Let's say I'll read 20.  Twenty books in 2012.  Not an impressive number to some of you but  christ on crutches I really need to set the bar where I can at least hope to reach it.  And guess what. I only have 19 to go.

Today I finished my first book in 2012:  The Fault in our Stars by John Green. 
My rating going into it knowing that it was a book about teenage cancer:  B+ (I was a little weary of the possibility of post-read depression) 
My rating at the end of the third day that it took me to read it:  A

Note to reader:  Never be dissuaded by a YA (Young Audience) classification. I promise you are not too cool for them.  Some of my best books read have been YA.  If you have any type of soul or love of awesome, you must read this book.

I don't give out A's easily as you will learn but I have never been disappointed by John's work and really?  This might be my favorite.  It definitely produced the most punch-you-in-the-gut wrenching sobs the likes of which could only be rivaled by Bridges of Madison County back in the day.  Hours later my stomach muscles still ache and my eyes remain swollen and puffy.  Special K continues to look at me wearily out of the corner of his eye, not sure what to make of it all.  I read the last 75% of the book curled up on the couch for a 6 hour readathon this afternoon.  Every time K came down he asked:  Is it funny?  or Are you laughing a lot?  It was like he was willing it to not be a sad book, knowing himself the subject matter and knowing that yes, he would read it eventually. And yes,  I did laugh.  A lot and out loud at would be considered normally inappropriate times.  Towards the end there was a  point when the tears were just astreaming but I still had a smile on my face dammit and even let out a belt of laughter.  K came in then.  Looked at me.  And then walked away shaking his head.  High praise my friends.
The 2 backdrops of the book take place in locales close to my heart:  Indy and Amsterdam.  I absolutely appreciated John keeping the story set in our own Naptown back yards, including favorite haunts like Holliday Park, Funky Bones, and he even gave a shout out to Broad Ripple's Farmer's Market.  Nicely done.  He also took the story to Holland (I'm not giving anything away) where he described the canals, boats, side saddle bikers and Anne Frank's Annex to a tee.  The amount of detail in this journey was awesomely immersive as I fought the urge to wipe the falling seeds from my arms and hair.  Knowing that he spent 2 months in Holland to put imaginary falling seeds on our arms and in our hair made it even more awesome.  
The star-crossed love of Augustus and Hazel is so sweet and tragic and half the time you forget that she totes an oxygen tank while he sports a prosthetic leg and they muster phrases like 'The universe is not a wish-granting factory' and It would be a pleasure to have my heart broken by you.  Tug.

Other quotable quotes: 
Oh, I got over it darling.  It took me a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints and forty minutes to get over that boy. 
Excellent.  You'll find my leg under the coffee table.

So here's to more good stuff like this in 2012.  It was the perfect read to start the new year, like being on a roller coaster that only goes up.  Thank you John.


Queen Kandis said...

This has totally replaced Paper Towns as my favorite John Green book. (confession: I have not yet read Will Grayson, Will Grayson.) I loved the gallows humor. I don't ever want to be able to say to someone "Not to one-up you, but I'm made of cancer." But it was awesome.

I like your realistic goal. I always set mine at 50, which I never achieve. I'm a busy lady. Why do I do that to myself?

I joined a YA book club for adults, which forces me to read at least one new book a month. We meet at a bar to discuss and have cocktails. If you'd join goodreads, you can see what I'm reading now and planning to read - which are mostly suggestions from the awesome lady readers in book club.

You MUST read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It's set mostly in Prague and the heroine has blue hair, tattoos, and kicks ass.

Schovillova said...

Al -

So I just ordered Daughter of Smoke and Bones. I am on a roll folks. And yes, I will join goodreads because you told me to. How does one 'join' goodreads?

I definitley had excellent visuals of the characters in my head. For Augustus it was a cross between #PLL Toby and Caleb, neither of whom I think are particularly hot but when you combine them... For Hazel I really did imagine a slightly puffy-faced Natalie Portman, or the girl who played the uptight sister in Pieces of April. My Isaac visual was Tom from Parks and Rec. I kept waiting for him to shout 'Treat yo self!'

I might need to re-read Looking for Alaska in order to properly rank my number 1. It's been a while.