Reading wrap-up #15

Oh boy, these are getting hard to keep up with. Bear with me.

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it
  • (★★): Barely finished it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. My dates may not be completely accurate as I have limited Internet access to update my progress.

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

27834600._SY475_Rating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction, suspense, thriller

GoodReads rating: 3.68 / 5 (172,200 ratings)

Medium used: Hardcover (borrowed from the Unalaska Library)

Summary: Writer Leonora gets an invite from a long-lost friend to a hen do in the middle of the Northumberland forest. When she wakes up in the hospital, someone is dead and she can’t remember the night. Who is dead, and why? Everyone, including Leonora, is a suspect, as she tries to piece the night back together.

Thoughts: I’ve come to expect a lot of the same from these kinds of books: easy, quick reads, but don’t see them changing my life. After I listened to The Woman in Cabin 10, I heard that this book of hers was better, but I’m still undecided, they’re both interesting in their own rite. There wasn’t a massive twist to any of them and they played out as expected, but they’re still exciting. I might still be a bit biased as I’ll never read another domestic thriller that comes close to Gone Girl.

Other adaptations: There has been talk about a Reese Witherspoon-driven adaptation for years now, and it appears to have gained some traction a year ago. I have a feeling we might be waiting a while yet.

Columbine by David Cullen

220px-ColumbinebookcoverRating: ★★★★

Genre: True crime

GoodReads rating:  4.28 / 5 (62,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: This is one of the most critically acclaimed and comprehensive pieces of media on the topic. From the upbringing of the killers, the massacre itself and the aftermath, this book is almost a necessary evil to understand how and why school shootings haven’t changed in 20 years.

Thoughts: As you can imagine this book on the unadulterated truth about the Columbine massacre was really hard to read, I’m glad I had the Twilight books to dilute its content. I read this book on one of my favorite author and YouTuber’s (Caitlin Doughty) recommendation in a recent video about the topic. The book highlights police shortcomings during the massacre, mental health red flags of those who are a danger to themselves and others, how this even shaped the media and active shooter protocol, religious martyrdom and how the blame of the events shifted to the parents with both shooters dead. I hope to read Sue Klebold’s book on the topic to get more information about her reconciliation on the events as well.

The BFG by Roald Dahl

51Yl65tJEvL._SX368_BO1,204,203,200_Rating: ★★★

Genre: Fictions, children’s

GoodReads rating: 4.22 / 5 (321,900 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: When Sophie gets whisked away into a magical land of man-eating giants, but when she meets the Big Friendly Giant, the BFG, he shows her that not all giants are evil. Sophie and the BFG hatch a plan to convince the Queen of England to get rid of all the evil giants.

Thoughts: This was the first Dahl book I’ve read without seeing the movie or knowing anything about it beforehand and it was… okay. It was quite slow with the BFG simply explaining everything about his world to Sophie for the first 70% of the book and in such a short book, that wasn’t doing it any favors.

Other adaptations: The 2016 movie directed by Steven Spielberg fared pretty well (76% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? by Caitlin Doughty

413b7oOI9KL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Death, anatomy

GoodReads rating: 4.40 / 5 (1,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (purchased for Kindle)

Summary: Internet-famous mortician Caitlin Doughty answers blunt questions about death from children with equally blunt (and whimsical) answers.

Thoughts: If you haven’t caught on by now, we are big fans of positive death culture here. I have enjoyed Caitlin’s YouTube channel for a number of years and have read all her other books (all two of them), so needless to say I was counting down the days until this book was released. One of my all-time favorite books (Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice for All Creation) follows the format of a fictional question-and-answer column from various critters about their sexual “abnormalities,” including a reply from Dr. Tatiana with an in-depth, yet interesting response with the critter’s life history and why it reproduces this way. This book has a somewhat similar feel, where kids ask somewhat goofy, but very real questions about death and the author replies with a detailed explanation. The chapters are short, which is a miracle for my attention span.

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.

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