Monday, 7 January 2013
books i read in 2012
'a clockwork orange' by anthony burgess - i saw the film before i read the book, and the things that i didn't like about the film turned out to be the plot and the storytelling. therefore what is wrong with the film, is the book. the film is so, so, so much better than the book. obviously the book is a masterpiece because it's written in a strange russian slang language entirely invented by anthony burgess, so clearly it's a very interesting read just for that, but it gave me a headache after reading a page. just see the film!
'nick and norah's infinite playlist' by david levithan and rachel cohn (not pictured) - again, the film is way better than the book. michael cera and kat dennings make it so much better. it was so predictable and boring and obviously written for a much younger audience. it was pretty much just a love story and nothing more. my favourite aspect of the film was the whole concept of where's fluffy?; i thought the idea of this secret band and following the clues to see them live was awesome! the scriptwriter essentially took a bland story and made it great. although lots of people thought the film was awful, so maybe that's just me.
'the picture of dorian gray' by oscar wilde - i really liked this book, eventually. i found it quite boring when i was reading it because nothing really happens, other than the portrait being painted, for like the first two thirds of the book. obviously that was to set the scene and make sure you know the characters well to be able to tell what is and what isn't something that character would naturally do, but it was just really boring to read. once it got into the plot though, i really liked it, and i thought it was really interesting and gripping. the story of dorian gray is one of my favourites, actually, but i do tend to struggle through classics quite a lot. i think this is a book that might translate better in a film so i'm currently scouring skymovies for one.
'the fault in our stars' by john green - absolute perfection, john green is a genius. i cried through the whole second half and i never cry at books. i truly did feel all of the things. i'd give it one million out of five. i wrote a post on it here.
'miss peregrine's home for peculiar children' by ransom riggs (not pictured) - both hardback and paperback versions of this book are beautiful, and i would buy it just because of that. the publishing is stunning; the pages are glossy, the font is so easy to read and pretty, and the cover is just wow. i thought the story was INCREDIBLE too, it was like nothing i've ever read before and it was so interesting. the book is centred around these abnormal photograph's that ransom riggs collects, so at points i felt that parts of the story were put in just to link in another photograph, but that didn't bother me too much - i could enjoy the images seperate to the story as well as intermingled with it. some parts were quite confusing and a lot of it was very bizarre in a very, 'just come with me on this one, it'll make sense later' kind of way, but it did always make sense later and i was very very glad that i persevered. i thought the ending was really... distressing? i don't want to spoil it, but i just felt really uneasy and worried and nervous for jacob after he made his final decision. it seemed to end on a cliffhanger so i really hope there's a sequel - i really want to know if he made it out okay haha!
'wicked' by gregory maguire - i just loved it okay. i can't produce coherent thoughts about it but it was amazing. i feel like some things were left unanswered and that's kind of infuriating, because it was so, so close to perfect, but i'm willing to overlook it because i enjoyed reading it so much. the second i saw it had a map at the beginning i buckled myself in for a tough ride because i assumed it would be complex and hard to follow (and needed a map for reference while reading), but it flowed so easily and i had no trouble following. i definitely recommend it, whether you like the musical or not.
'zombicorns' by john green - technically this isn't even a book, it's maybe 30 pages long, but it's on goodreads so it counts! john green wrote this short story to sell to raise money for charity, and you can't purchase copies of it any more but you can download it for free here. i really enjoyed it. it was quite fun to read; it took me maybe half an hour and i liked the novelty of reading it from A4 printed pages like a script. john green put a note in at the start of the book to say that he doesn't think of it as good in any way, but i thought it was really interesting, if not just for the twist on the whole over-done zombie storyline. i'd definitely recommend reading it.
'an abundance of katherine's' by john green - i loved reading this book so much. i loved the characters and the story and it was just so nice to read. as a fellow nerd, i greatly enjoyed the maths/statistics element, and this book is further evidence that john green really does know how to write an excellent road trip. the only thing i didn't like was the little fight scene, but i think that's because i find fight scenes quite boring to read in general, so it's more about my enjoyment of fight scenes rather than john greens ability to write fight scenes. just read it!
'i am legend' by richard matheson - i really enjoyed this book, but that might just be because i was really craving a horror story when this reached the top of my to-read pile (it's not really much of a horror story but whatever). opheliadagger mentioned in her review that she was expecting something really obvious to happen that didn't happen, but then it did, and i was thinking about this whilst reading the book and i couldn't figure out what she was referring to. the ending was a total surprise to me and i thought it was really interesting and i wasn't expecting it at all. i'm not sure if that's just me being ignorant but there you go. thoroughly enjoyed it!
'fahrenheit 451' by ray bradbury - i read this book because john and hank of the vlogbrothers chose it as their summer book club book and i wanted to be part of that, but i kind of regret it. both john and hank did analytical videos on the first part of the book (here and here), which i really enjoyed as i suck at analysing, but then they just left it and i had to struggle through the rest of the book. i thought the premise was a really interesting idea and looking at the plot as a whole, now, i can see that it was quite a good story, but i just hated reading it. again, i tend to struggle through classics, which is something i really need to get over.
'the perks of being a wallflower' by stephen chbosky (read as part of carrie fletcher's october club) - this has been on my to-read pile for so long but i finally decided to take the plunge. i quite fancy the film so i didn't want to see it without reading the book first! initially i thought it was going to be another one of those clichéd hipster books about teens who think they're 'special and unique', but it was so much more than i expected. i ended up really enjoying it. it's quite a light read, and definitely in the genre of YA fiction, but i thought the characters were really well-developed, and there is a pretty good twist at the end that i didn't see coming. there were obviously some cringy moments, like that whole 'and in that moment i swear we were infinite' thing made me want to put the book down and never pick it up again, but once you got past the lines you'd already seen a million times on tumblr it was fine.
'american psycho' by bret easton ellis (read as part of carrie fletcher's october club) - okay, so i have mixed feelings about this book. it took me a while to get into it, but then i started to really enjoy it. i have no other good points other than that i loved it (that sounds bad, but that one huge good point counteracts all the little bad ones), but i have a lot of complaints. one is that it gets really, really tedious to have to read in-depth descriptions of each character's outfit every time patrick bateman socialises - which is a lot. obviously this is supposed to say something about how bateman thinks and how the dullness of wealth causes him to memorise stupid fashion facts, but it was so boring to read. another thing is that the book got very graphic. when i bought the book my dad described it to me as 'pornographic', but i would say that it was very much more on the side of 'extremely detailed and in-depth brutal rape, torture, and murder'. some descriptions made me feel quite sick, and i'm the kind of person who can handle any gory film you throw at me. other than these things, i thought it was overall, very good. but then i discussed it with my dad again, and apparently i had completely misunderstood the book. i don't want to kind of spoil the ending for you guys, so i won't tell you how i interpreted the story differently or anything. apparently the film clears up the real story, so i'll have to have a watch of that at some point. i would've given it a 4/5 but now i'm kind of confused about whether or not i understood any of it, so i'll just leave it un-rated for now.
'extremely loud & incredibly close' by jonathan safran foer (read as part of carrie fletcher's october club) - i read this book without really even reading the blurb, like i didn't know anything about it. when i found out it was based on 9/11 i was a bit worried because i was way too young and ignorant to understand 9/11 at the time and i thought that maybe i wouldn't be able to relate to the story as much as i'd like, but it was so descriptive and so informative that it didn't really matter that i knew nothing about the event. the story jumps between two generations, which i found quite confusing at first, but after a while it didn't bother me so much. i found the characters to be really sincere and interesting and the story was so simple and perfect but it was so GOOD. just so GOOD.
'the alchemy of animation' by don hahn - as you may already know, i got really into animation in 2012, and also rekindled my love for disney and pixar. i bought this book in disneyworld because i wanted to buy ALL OF THE BOOKS but this was the only one that wasn't massively overpriced, but i'm so glad i bought it! it talks through three different types of animation used at disney - 2D animation (snow white, etc.), 3D animation (any pixar film), and stop-motion animation (the nightmare before christmas, etc.). i found this to be really interesting and also really inspiring, and if you're into animation or disney then i definitely recommend reading it.