The Secret History

The Secret History - Donna Tartt I bought this book about 2 years ago at a bookstore in Greenwood, MS when I saw that there were newly autographed copies (Tartt is a Mississippi native like myself). It had been sitting on my shelf up until last week. I hate that I waited so long to crack this one open. From the first page you have a general idea of what's going to happen in this novel. There will be a murder. You know who the victim is. But you have no idea why. I'm normally pretty good at figuring out classic whodunits. So this was a fresh change for me. Never have I read a book that I have such conflicting feelings about characters page to page. One minute I'll despise a character, and then they'll do something that makes me think "Well, maybe they're not so bad." Then I usually ended up despising them once again. Parts of the book did drag, and it seemed to run a little too long. There's only so many paragraphs I can take about snorting lines and eating in the Commons. But I can overlook these minor flaws for the overall plot, which was wonderful. In my theatre class we had recently discussed bacchanalia, so it was a pleasant surprise to have this incorporated into the book. Like another reviewer commented, I do wish Tartt had shown a little more. A majority of the book was telling. And while I understand that the main character was left out of a lot of the prominent action, it still would have been nice to see things first hand.

Overall, The Secret History was a joy to read. It's definitely been added to my favorites list.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - Patrick Süskind I can't even write a coherent review at the moment. I'm so blown away by this novel. I'll come back to this once my brain settles.

Suffer the Children

Suffer the Children - John Saul After hearing so much about this particular novel, I chanced upon it at the local used bookstore. I finished it in two days. This is the first Saul novel I've read, and I have to say that I enjoyed it. The writing was fast-paced, the characters were tolerable, even though Elizabeth annoyed me in whatever characterization she appeared. Normally I am able to read through most disturbing scenes in novels. I'm somehow built up a tolerance to them. But whether it was because of the inclusion of children or just the overall situation, I found myself utterly grossed out and disturbed by certain parts of the novel. Still, it's a fast read and keeps you holding on until the end. And that's where my main complaint comes in. I felt horribly let down by the ending. And I know I'm not the only one. After everything that happened, the novel ended on such a blank and unsatisfying note. I felt no closure. But I did feel an overwhelming sense of dread as I closed the book. So I guess the ending worked on that note. Overall, the novel is great for fans of horror and thriller fiction.

Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats (Modern Library Classics)

Complete Poems and Selected Letters - John Keats, Edward Hirsch, Jim Pollock In my eyes, Keats can do no wrong. I love this man. Heartbreakingly gorgeous stuff here, folks.

The Magic Toyshop

The Magic Toyshop - Angela Carter I didn't love this book as much as [b:The Bloody Chamber|49011|The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories|Angela Carter||47950], but once again, Angela Carter amazes me. Her use of language is simply stunning. I grew to love these characters, especially Finn. The story is dark, disturbing, beautiful and tragic. It is a wonderful adult fairy tale seen through the eyes of adolescence. The only reason I didn't give this book a full five stars was because of the ending. I felt horribly deprived at the finishing of this book. I wanted to know what happened to these characters. But I can forgive Angela. She maintains her spot as number one on my favorite author list.

Half-Minute Horrors

Half-Minute Horrors - Avi, Gail Carson Levine, Libba Bray, Joyce Carol Oates, James Patterson, Gregory Maguire, Lane Smith, Adele Griffin, Katherine Applegate, Jenny Nimmo, Jonathan Lethem, Tui T. Sutherland, Adam Rex, R.L. Stine, Michael Connelly, Jerry Spinelli, Gloria Whelan, Sarah Weeks, An How scared can I get in thirty seconds? Well, I decided to find out. I picked up this book upon seeing the words "half-minute". This greatly appealed to my fluctuating attention span, which that day was extremely short. Overall, the stories were good; some more than others. It was interesting to see some of the big name authors that had contributed. My favorite, and in my opinion the creepiest, was "At the Water's Edge". Something about the lack of information the reader is given coupled with that eerie ending was just plain spooky. Some of the stories were lackluster, and a few didn't make a whole lot of sense. Being half-minute stories, I finished this in a day. The overall book is aimed at the juvenile crowd. But it's a fun little read for those of us who suffer from the dreaded short attention span.

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury "Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn 'em to ashes, then burn the ashes. That's our official slogan."

Burning books? Outlaw reading? Now that's just wrong. But I loved this book.

The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories - Angela Carter Angela Carter took classic, well-known fairy tales and amped them up. After hearing so much about this book, I had to own it. I begged and pleaded with my mom to order it, and she finally caved. The minute the UPS guy delivered it, I dove in. This is one amazing collection of short stories. I love fairy tales, and Carter's dark and haunting retellings are a real gem. Her style of writing and use of language is spectacular. My favorite story from this collection is the title selection. Based on the tale of Bluebeard, this story is just amazing and contained some of the best writing of the collection. I literally had chills while reading it. Carter's inclusion of her own feminist views are a fresh addition to these classic tales. No longer do we have the stereotypical damsel in distress. These stories are guaranteed to stick with you long after you close the book.

The Reader

The Reader - Bernhard Schlink, Carol Brown Janeway I had heard a lot about this book. And no, it was not because of Oprah. So I decided to give it a shot. And I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I liked the first half of the book much better, though. I guess I'm a sucker for scandal. Oh, and the movie is amazing! Be sure to see it. It may even surpass the book.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl - B.M. Mooyaart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Frank I feel almost evil for not liking this book. But I don't. I just don't. It was required reading for a composition class. I'm already not a fan of required reading, so that didn't help my chances with this book. Frankly, I was bored while reading this. I got so tired of hearing about Peter I almost threw the book across the room. Maybe one day I'll give it a second chance. Not seeing it in the near future, though.

The Color Purple

The Color Purple - Alice Walker I wasn't entirely sure I would like this book. Boy, was I wrong. I absolutely adored it. From the minute I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. I became completely absorbed. My intense desire for Celie and Nettie to be reunited kept me up for hours reading. The characters are wonderfully written and interesting. I don't think I've rooted so much for a character as I did for Celie. This book did not disappoint. Ms. Walker, I applaud you.

Ariel: Perennial Classics Edition

Ariel - Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath, I freakin' love you.

Dubliners (Oxford World's Classics)

Dubliners - Jeri Johnson, James Joyce We're currently tearing this book to pieces in my Advanced Comp class. I've read these stories way too many times for it to be enjoyable anymore. It's not all bad, though. There are some stories that I genuinely enjoyed. "The Dead" is my favorite from the book. I'm sure I'd like this book much better if I didn't have to analyze every sentence and punctuation mark. I'm worried to write anymore on this review, or it'll start sounding like one of my essays. *shudder*

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (Signet Classics)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass - Lewis Carroll "But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that, " said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

I absolutely adore this book. I even named one of my cats Dinah. It's so whacky and fun. The characters are memorable. It's a classic that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess My all-time favorite book. Okay, granted it took me 2 or 3 times to fully get the gist of the Nadsat slang, but it's quite easy to pick up on after a while. Alex is the quintessential anti-hero. Sure, he's a delinquent, rapist, murderer and all-around nasty kid. But there's something about him that I immediately latched onto and didn't let go. He's intelligent, sharp, charming. Never once while reading the book did I have feelings of dislike for Alex. This could possibly be attributed to my intense love for the film version. Burgess develops Alex beautifully. The violence, or ultra-violence as Alex calls it, may be a bit hard to digest for some, but if you can look past it, this book is a must read. This is a society in which delinquents rule the night and the idea of free will is constantly in jeopardy. Basically, Burgess is a genius.

Invisible Monsters: A Novel

Invisible Monsters - Chuck Palahniuk While browsing the shelves of Barnes and Noble, this book caught my eye with its intriguing cover art. This book is crazy. And I loved it. Certain lines from this book have stuck with my long after reading the book.

"It's not living alone if you keep a rifle under the bed."

"Another thing is no matter how much you think you love somebody, you'll step back when the pool of their blood edges up too close."

"Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I've ever known."

And plenty more.

I admit that I was a little bit confused starting out. But I caught on quick. Being a Palahniuk, the characters are eccentric and bizarre. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested.

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