Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s theme is Freebie week, so I’ve decided to post: Top Ten Books Told from a Male POV

1. Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman

No one does snark like Thurman, and it’s been a long, rewarding journey to witness Cal’s slow maturation.

2. Curse Workers series by Holly Black

Cassel reminds me of a younger, less bitter version of Thurman’s Cal, which is probably why I was immediately drawn to his humorously cynical narration.

3. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Gen is a brilliant narrator, for he never lies to his audience, but he is always conscious of how much he allows us to see.

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Holden Caulfield’s frustration and yearning have characterized teen angst for decades, yet his outlook still resonates.

5. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Tom’s slow progression out of his brokenness shattered my own heart several times before he finally reached contentment.

6. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Ed is eminently relatable as he struggles to infuse meaning into his own life and the lives of those around him.

7. Paper Towns by John Green

While this might be my least favorite Green book as far as plot goes, I appreciated how Quentin’s voice displayed Green’s usual nerdy self-conscious elitism while still somehow sounding like it could come from the mind of a high school boy.

8. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Paul is a delightful narrator to guide the reader through Levithan’s magical realist world in which being gay is the norm and acceptance applies not toward one’s orientation, but rather toward one’s persona.

9. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Many readers can relate to Gene’s alternating reverence and jealousy toward Phineas, especially as high school friendships often represent more than their appearance suggests.

10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay’s confusion and heartache resonate without overwhelming the underlying plot, thus allowing readers to navigate the complex story Asher is trying to tell.

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It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a meme created at Book Journey to catalogue everything read in the past week, what you’re working on now, and what you hope to get to in the coming week.

The Past Week

Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

 Reading Now

A Family Affair by Karen Chance

 The Week Ahead

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I find this a very difficult review to write. I’ve begun and rewritten the first sentence five times

now, because I don’t want to proselytize on the morality of suicide. I don’t condone it. I’d be a fool to do so, but nor do I wish to spend much of this review focusing on the seemingly inadequate reasons why Hannah ultimately makes her decision to end her life. And yet, by characterizing them as such, I have already passed judgment, but one can’t know the

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

cumulative effect that life’s events, however insignificant they seem, will have on a person simply by standing by and looking on from the sidelines. I cannot like Hannah as a narrator, however well I believe Asher managed to make her voice shine. I purport not to judge the reasons for her actions, yet I can’t help but do so, especially when she has lain all thirteen out so carefully for her audience to judge as they may.

Still, while I dislike Hannah, I cannot dislike the book. Considering how central my enjoyment of characters is to my enjoyment of a book as a whole, this is a large concession. While Asher never manages to fully flesh out our second narrator, Clay, he is imbued with enough sincerity to garner our sympathies. However, I find it odd that in a novel whose subject matter touches the heart of humanity, of how our actions speak of our characters, it is the plot that rivets readers more than the characters. Asher certainly has concocted a series of narratives that keep you on the edge of your seat. The book’s pace is as swift as its melancholy tone allows, sweeping readers up in Clay’s confusion and pain while encouraging us to race through the pages. We know how things are  in the end, but we don’t know how they get there.

I found the voices of Asher’s characters authentic, the plot unpredictable, yet I’m not sure what message he ultimately hoped to get across. If he wanted readers to take a closer look at the way their actions affect the lives of others, I suppose he succeeded.  However, I didn’t find that message in the ways the different actors treated Hannah, for they weren’t the cause of her suicide; that decision rested with her, no matter what circumstances might have surrounded it. If anything, I believe Asher makes his case through the impact that Hannah’s decision has on each of her thirteen reasons. She might have left the tapes for closure, or perhaps for vindictive catharsis, but whatever the reason, both her absence and her recorded legacy take their toll on those she left behind.

My thoughts on this book won’t really settle themselves, so I’ll leave it for now with an endorsement to read it, if for nothing else than an interesting literary premise.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s theme is: Top Ten Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Zusak crafted one of my all-time favorite books in I Am the Messenger. Perhaps it’s foolish, but my love for that book is so great that for a long time, I steered clear of The Book Thief simply for the fear that it wouldn’t be as good. I finally acknowledged my silliness and bought a copy of The Book Thief, but until my class load is lighter, I doubt I will be reading it for a while.

2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

After much pleading and coercion, I finally succumbed to my boyfriend’s attempts to get me to watch the movies a few years ago. And yes, I can see why so many people love the story. Suffice it to say, I feel that my movie experience will be more than adequate for the foreseeable future.

3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I’ve read the lackluster reviews for this final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and given my lukewarm response to the first two, I haven’t felt it necessary to rush out and buy this one. I’m keeping an eye out for a used copy, but in the meantime, I’m not really feeling any mad desire to find out whether Katniss goes team Peeta or Gale (perhaps due to the fact that I’m largely in team I-don’t-like-either).

4. Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill

I’ve been lusting after this series for what feels like years, and in the past few months, I’ve actually acquired three of the four books which are happily sitting on my shelf right now. But I’ll confess a little secret: I shamelessly read the spoiler reviews after this last book was released, and so have decided to wait to read the series until certain storylines are resolved.

5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I’ve seen the movie and think it’s a brilliant story. However, I think the book might just be a little too gritty for me. I like grit in my stories, but usually need it tempered with some fantasy elements else it becomes too disturbing for me to want to read.

6. Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison

I read Dead Witch Walking ages ago but never continued with the series. Thanks to a great friend, I now have books two and three sitting on my shelf, so I’m going to have to find another copy of the first and start to reread this series, since it seems to be an urban fantasy favorite.

7.Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This book seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it genre-defining behemoth. From the reviews I’ve read, I’m fairly confident that I would land in the hate-it camp, and unfortunately the length has scared me away from attempting to find out.

8. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes works

These classic works seem to be a staple of many a blogger’s keeper shelves. Holmes rests outside of my go-to genres, so I’ve never experienced the stories that so many seem to love, yet I’m hoping to have the time (and concentration) to rectify that someday.

9. Looking for Alaska by John Green

As of now, I’ve only read Green’s An Abundance of Katherines, and I really have no excuse for not having read this one by now. It is going on the top of my to-be-found list.

10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I recently found this one at the thrift store, so it won’t remain unread for long, which is good considering how prominent a place it seems to hold in contemporary young adult literature.