26 December 2010

Novel novels: January 2010

Note: I'm starting to write this series multiple months after I've finished reading the books, so in most cases I don't remember a whole lot. I'll include stuff I remember, including trigger warnings, but I'm not going to remember everything. I hope to rectify this when I catch up and am writing about stuff I just got done reading.

1. Dracula The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker
  • unfinished
  • I couldn't even finish this piece of crap. If you had problems with the original Dracula being misogynistic, just wait for this. All of the stuff that Dracula does is Mina's fault, doncha know, but you can't really blame her because what can you expect from a woman. Ugh.
2. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano
  • 4.5 stars
  • The thing I remember taking away from this book is an adjustment to my idea of gender. Specifically, before I read this I had the opinion that gender is entirely a social construction, that it is not based at all on the body. The opposite of gender essentialism, basically, is what I held. Now I'm somewhere in between, and I think it changes from person to person. Some people's gender is more affected by the body or by socialisation, or both, than other people's is.
3. Daughters of the North by Sarah Hall
  • 3.5 stars
4. The Women's Room by Marilyn French
  • 3 stars
5. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • 3.5 stars
  • Liked the concept, liked the world/scenario, wish I had liked the actual writing better.
6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Anne Barrows
  • 3 stars
  • 2.5 stars
  • I picked up and started reading this book without reading the synopsis, as I was attracted by the title. I was expecting something perhaps quasi-zen, or like The Secret, but what I got was a woman who couldn't accept the horrible things happening in her life, so she convinced herself that they weren't happening. The book was okay, as far as it went, but I was expecting something much different.
  • 3 stars
  • Mildly amusing. Not as original as the reviews want you to think, I've definitely read Biblical rewrites I like better, but it's okay, as far as it goes.
9. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Nqozi Adichie
  • 3.5 stars
  • Trigger warning for child/parent conflict
10. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • 4 stars
  • Loved this story! Love the way you have to try to piece together what's going on before it's revealed. Love the quasi-Gothic setting.
11. The Accidental by Ali Smith
  • 3.5 stars
12. The Book of Night with Moon by Diane Duane
  • 4.5 stars
  • Good for anyone who considers their cat to be a person in hir own right. This book is responsible for introducing words such as hauissh (The Game), ehhif (human) and ffheih (spayed/neutered cat) into my household's vernacular.
13. The Whole World Over by Julia Glass
  • 4 stars
  • Enjoyable, kind of like something Elizabeth Berg would write, but with a better plot and better writing. I remember liking the partially stereotype-defying characters.
14. White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  • 3 stars
  • Enjoyed parts, but it seemed to drag.
15. Liar by Justine Larbalesteier
  • 3 stars
  • Basic young adult supernatural fluff. The only way this book kept my attention was by employing several 180-degree plot twists.

Scoring system is as follows:
1 star = hated
1.5 stars = didn't enjoy, but didn't hate
2 stars = didn't enjoy particularly
2.5 stars = enjoyed somewhat
3 stars = enjoyed, but might not read again
3.5 stars = would probably read again
4 stars = would like to own a copy
4.5 stars = would like to own a copy, and would probably read occasionally
5 stars = would like to own a copy, and would probably read often

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