I'm trying to read 40 books by the end of 2015. I started this goal in around August, but I counted the books that I read all year towards this goal. Right now, I'm on number 19, so I'm just about halfway to my goal. I will have a month and a half to read 20 books. Hopefully I can do it.
Since I have this goal, I have been reading pretty much constantly in my spare time. I thought I'd share my thoughts on some of the books I've read recently.
The Martian by Andy Weir
I am so surprised at how much I love this book. I didn't want it to end, and when it did, I kept finding myself wanting to re-read it even weeks after. I'm not sure what it is about it. At first, I didn't think I would be too into it. I mean, how can the day by day of a man stuck on Mars be that interesting? It seems like there wouldn't be much for him to really do. Turns out, having two story lines and having a hilarious protagonist really helps. Mark Watney (the main character) is really funny! I kept having to show snippets of the book to people so they could join in on the jokes. The writing is very realistic and modern. It sounds like someone you might know. And Watney's easy going, accepting personality of his situation and all the troubles it brings is really just amazing. It's like nothing phases him. If I were him, I'd be curled in a ball crying, but I guess that's why I'm not an astronaut.
I finished this book about 20 minutes before I saw the movie, so it was fresh in my mind when I went. I gotta say, the movie is very true to the book. They cut out some things that I don't think they should've and they changed the end a little bit, but other than that it was good. I thought Matt Damon did a really good job at being Watney, too. I highly recommend this book, even if you aren't into science fiction. I'm not a big science fiction person, but then again, this book doesn't really come off as science fiction to me. It seems to be well within the realm of possibilities. It's science fiction in the sense that it deals with a field of science and the story is fiction. It uses a lot of technical terms from the field of space travel and exploration, but it's all explained pretty well. It's a lot of math too, but it doesn't matter too much to the story. Watney always explains what his math means for his well being and situation. So yes, read this book, especially if you're into space.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
It was hard for me to put this book down. Now, don't let that sentence fool you because this book was complete garbage. It was insanely unrealistic and none of the characters were likable. I read it because it's one of those books that everyone is talking about and that there was a crazy long wait list for at the library.
The draw to this story is murder and plot twists. People like a good plot twist. But just like a M. Night Shyamalan, once you find out the twist, you realize that a. it was really stupid and b. you don't give a shit about any of the characters. It's like you're so obsessed with knowing what the twist is that you just put up with everything else. That's how this book was. I advise that if you really want to know what happens, just look up a spoiler and save yourself the trouble of reading this terrible book.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
This is a YA book that has been getting a lot of buzz. It's supposed to be the next big thing in the genre. I can see why. It's reminiscent of A Fault In Our Stars, Eleanor and Park, and If I Stay, the characters especially. The book is about a girl named Madeline who cannot leave her house due to a rare disease that basically makes her allergic to everything in the world. She lives with her mother who is a doctor and she has a nurse come in daily to help take care of her. She isn't sick as in she is bedridden or anything, she just needs to be monitored and checked multiple times a day. Of course, a family moves in next door with an attractive teenage son her age and they end up falling for each other. I'd say sorry about the spoiler, but this is pretty much a given in YA fiction.
The chapters are short and Madeline's personality is great, so it's a really fast and enjoyable read. Towards the end of the book, I was wondering how this story was going to end with the way things were going. It seemed very predictable, but then I got to thinking there could be a twist. Well, there was. I guessed what it was before it happened, so you might say the twist could be predictable, but I'm not sure. Nevertheless, I still liked this book. I liked the characters and it was pretty accurate with how teens feel about their first loves. If you like YA books, you'll probably like this unless you are into the more fantasy type YA books.
Violent Ends (Multiple Authors)
This book made me cry a little at times. It is about a very tough subject: school shootings. What is interesting about it is that it's told from 17 different characters' points of view. Each chapter is a different story, and each story is written by a different author. They each shed light on the situation and the shooter himself in multiple ways. A lot of the stories kept me thinking about them days after reading, which is always a good sign. It was very intriguing to see different layers and perspectives. It wasn't overly gory or horrific. Obviously the event in the book is horrific, but it is not described too much in a disgusting way, so if you tend to feel uncomfortable with graphic stuff then you don't really have to worry about that with this book. I highly encourage people to read this. It will open your eyes and make you think in many different ways. It's amazing some of the things teens have to go through.