Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “coming of age”

Malin’s #CBR4 Reviews # 94-99: I’m nearly done with a double Cannonball, you guys!

So in the middle of October, I once again took part in the 24-hour Read-a-thon, and I’ve obviously been reading (and re-reading) books since then, but I’ve been falling behind on my blogging. So here’s a big catch-up post, and hopefully, within the week, I will have read and blogged a double Cannonball. I only set out to do a single one this year, and as a result, it seems that completing twice the amount became less of a chore.

94. A Wrinkle in Time by Madelaine L’Engle. I suspect I would have loved this more when I was younger. 4 stars.

95. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. The first book I’ve read of hers. It won’t be the last. 4 stars.

96. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. I know it’s been reviewed so well, so many times on here, and I have no idea why I didn’t pick it up before. 5 stars. By far the funniest book I read this year.

97. A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long. Yet another historical romance,  surprising no one, I’m sure. “The one with the hot vicar” as Mrs. Julien dubbed it. 4 stars.

98. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. Unquestionably one of the most anticipated books of the year for me, this turned out to be something completely different from what I’d expected. 4 stars.

99. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. So is it wrong that I was more charmed by the film? The 14-year-olds I teach, love it, though. 3.5 stars.

 

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR4 Review #10 – The Boys of Summer by Ciaran West

I read this book mainly because everyone else was, or at least every Pajiban was. There’s a good reason for that – the author is a fellow Pajiban, and this is his first novel. I was almost afraid to read it, afraid I wasn’t going to like it, and was going to have to say so. Lucky me (and all of us), because this book is fantastic.

It’s taken me far too long to write this because all the Pajibans have already said everything and far more eloquently than I ever could.  But I’ll give it a shot.  Richie South is a young lad in Limerick, with an older brother, a loving mother, a slightly distant father, and a group of friends he runs around with dodging some violent older boys.  The book opens with a skirmish between the two factions, and Richie scores a lucky hit.  He and his friends haul, and Richie makes it home to his mom relatively unscathed.  Not long after, it’s discovered that a little boy, not much younger than Richie and his friends, has been murdered (among other things).

Richie and the other boys decide to look into the murder, and they think they have a good idea about who may have done it.  They snoop around, and find a few things that force them to grow up quite a bit faster than anyone would like.  There is a lot more to this book than I’m telling, but there is so much in there I’d hate to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

I highly recommend this book, and at the same time I’m incredibly jealous of someone that I (peripherally, virtually, whatever) know doing something I’ve been wanting to do for years.  I’m jealous, and impressed.

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #67 Rite of Passage by Alexi Panshin

There are books that change your life when you read them.  Books that somehow alter your perspective on the world for the better and make you feel more prepared to face the challenges in your own life, even if that novel is a work of fiction.

Rite of Passage was first published in 1968 and won the Nebula award that same year.  Written by American SF critic and author Alexi Panshin, Rite of Passage is a semi-dystopian novel about the Universe in 2198.  The Earth no longer exists, destroyed amid desperate wars and overcrowding.  Civilization is preserved aboard 7 giant ships that travel amid the hundred colony worlds that still hold the human civilization.

Discover why this is one of the books that will top my “Must Read” list forever on my BookhoardingDragon blog.

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #61 Star of Danger by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Star of Danger was one of the first Darkover novels I ever read.  It was actually published the year that I was born, but I didn’t discover it until the summer before I turned 14.  I remember reading this tale of two young men from different worlds who become brothers in all but blood when faced with incredible dangers and mistaken identity.

This novel epitomizes everything that is so captivating and fascinating about the world of Darkover and the culture that evolved from the lost terran spacecraft.  As one of the earliest tales in this world of her imagination, Star of Danger contains  all of the key elements that were later expanded on…the psychic powers, the non-human creatures that also inhabit the planet, the dangers of the climate and local wildlife, the mistrust that both cultures have for one another…

Read the rest of my review at the BookHoardingDragon blog…

Petalfrog’s #CBR4 Review #23: Untouchable by Scott O’Connor

Untouchable is the coming-to-grips story of David Darby, the single father of 12 year old Whitley. Both Darby and Whitley (aka “The Kid”) have been trying to cope for the last year with the death of Darby’s wife/The Kid’s mom. Darby works as part of the cleanup crew for trauma sites (imagine the people who come in when the CSI guys are done). He is doing his best to hold his little family together, but he is always working, doesn’t know how to cook, and is clueless about his son’s troubles. The Kid doesn’t believe that his mom is dead, and has sworn a “Covenant” to try and get her back (under the guidance of his one friend, the religious Matthew). I won’t spoil what his Covenant is, since it’s not clear for quite a few chapters and makes for a very touching reveal. The Kid is tortured daily at school, and is terrified that his own father believes the awful things the others kids say about him (he has bad breath and body odor, for example). I call this a coming-to-grips story, rather than a coming-of-age story, since really Darby and The Kid are really struggling with being a family with just the two of them. They are both clueless and really sad.

This genre (adult literary fiction I guess) is a bit out of my wheelhouse. I lean more towards thrillers, so I kept expecting something dramatic to suddenly happen. The story slowly unfolds in a beautiful and striking manner. I definitely felt emotionally bonded with The Kid; my heart breaking at some of the less obvious bullying. Darby was a bit harder to connect to. He finds himself trying to connect with the various trauma scenes by taking pieces. He is doing this in some bizarre attempt to reconcile his death, and it’s truly unclear how this could possibly helpful until the end.

I borrowed this on Kindle, so there were some odd issues with formatting. The setting or time would frequently change with no page or line breaks, so it was a bit difficult to keep my bearings throughout. I also found some of O’Connor’s writing style a bit repetitive. He would frequently repeat phrases in the same paragraph, to make a point I imagine. I found it distracting, but overall the writing was strong. I enjoyed this book and would certainly read more by this author.

Catch up on all my reviews at my blog!

rusha24’s #CBR4 review #11: The Fallback Plan by Leigh Stein

I’m pretty sure The Fallback Plan was written for me. I mean, literally me. It concerns a 22 yo girl (er, young woman?), recently graduated with an arts degree, who moves back in with her parents in Suburbia because of a lack of savings, direction, motivation, or a plan. I just turned 23, graduated last year with a degree in creative writing, and am about to move back in with my parents in Suburbia. Sure, I have “plans” to find a job and work on applications to MFA programs (screenwriting, just like Esther the protagonist, of course), but I’m still floating back to a place that’s not really home, aimless for the most part, and inclined to offer up a big “fuck you” re The Future. (Not really. Really, I’m just scared.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that while The Fallback Plan is not exactly a great book (though not bad), I happened to read it at precisely the time at which it would have maximum impact on someone like me. The author herself, Leigh Stein, is of a similar age to me, with similar pop-culture predilections, so every single allusion to a song, a book, Facebook interactions, college experiences, a childhood memory—these all rung uncannily true for me.  So while the writing was decent but nothing special, the voice funny but not uniquely engaging, I felt this character in a very real way.

This character is Esther, an actress in college, depressed but not in a severe or manic way—it’s more of an afterthought. She gets impatient showing her dad how to change fonts on the computer, tells herself she’ll write a screenplay about pandas, gets drunk with old childhood friends who never managed to escape their hometown, even for school, and half-jokingly wishes for a disease— not debilitating—that would enable her to get government subsidization and live without any real purpose. With her mom’s nudging, Esther gets a job watching the 4 yo daughter of a nearby couple who are still recovering from the tragic loss of their baby daughter the year before. She manages to become the confidant for both adults, while developing genuine maternal instincts for the daughter; essentially, she finds herself entangled in a family which is experiencing both what she dreads and is nostalgic for—real pain and the innocence of childhood.

The book is a very quick read, light and easy to digest, but it’s got its finger on the pulse of my current generation, and I think that kind of relevancy deserves some respect. Esther is neither unlikable nor particularly endearing, yet she is undeniably emblematic of the many young, white, middle-class 20somethings that are both entitled and adrift, immature but also facing the inheritance of a truly fucked-up society, one which seems to reward perpetual infantilism. Yet Esther grows up during the course of the book. Not a lot, no leaps and bounds, but a noticeable difference. Baby steps. (Not an accidental term here.) Here’s hoping I take longer strides during my year at home.

Jelinas’ #CBR4 Review #24: Blankets by Craig Thompson

blankets

Blankets is a beautiful coming-of-age tale, filled with beautiful artwork and bittersweet moments. I rikey.

hairlikecutgrass’s #CBR4 Review #1: After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart

There is a nasty betrayal a reader feels when discovering that a work they once enjoyed is not fact but fiction. Reading “After the Leaves Fall,” I was afflicted with such a feeling and that was my own fault. Whether I read a misleading blurb somewhere or I confused a description for this book with that of another, I can’t say. I can only remember that I thought I would be reading a heartbreaking memoir with lush descriptions, which did turn out to be half true, at least. There really were amazing descriptions of surroundings and awful feelings of grief and regret, but it did start to get old. Too much of a unique thing turned weird and gimmicky by the end.

(This is a weird and awkward first review…but would you like to read more?)

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