Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Weekend Reads: J.K. Rowling, Gabrielle Zevin, and Katie M. Stout

Being a college student, weekends are the time when I am able to read the most. Some weekends I read more than others, depending on homework, sleeping patterns, and volunteering, but I always get my reading in. Therefore, I have decided to start a new series, Weekend Reads, that I will publish every Monday morning detailing all of the books I read during the weekend (Friday Night - Sunday Night).

J.K. Rowling gave the commencement speech at Harvard in 2008. Of course, videos of the speech have been making the internet rounds since then and quotes from the speech pop up just about everywhere. It seems only natural that they would turn this speech into something tangible and lasting, a book called Very Good Lives, which is the first book I read this past weekend.
This is the second commencement speech turned book I have read, the first being Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman, and I have to admit I was wary to start it. Based on my limited exposure, I believed that commencement books were less about conveying the speech to future generations than making a visually pleasing piece of memorabilia, all at the expense of readability. But Very Good Lives was not like that at all. While the book is visually pleasing, it is also simply designed with easy to read text. The book itself is very short (I read it during the 15 minute car ride from the library to my house) and very enjoyable. It goes without saying that this book was also very inspirational. I gave this book a 5 out of 5 stars.

The second book I read this past weekend was The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

This book is not YA but that really doesn't matter because it is fantastic. I picked this book up because it was recommended by a booktuber I watch a lot, Regan from PeruseProject. The story itself is not full of roses, it's actually kind of angsty throughout most of the book. The characters weren't likeable either, which is actually what made me like them. The characters and the stories were human and gritty and real. The plot is like nothing I've read before and the fact that the story has closure while being circular is refreshing. I read this book in a couple of hours, it's not a big book by any means, and will definitely read it again! I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. 
The last book I read, tried to read, was Hello I Love You by Katie M. Stout.
I started reading this book because of the promise of hot Koreans and Kpop but I actually did not finish it because of some serious issues with the book. The main character, Grace, is the definition of a spoiled, rich snob. There isn't a single second where she doesn't give Americans a bad name. I cringed every time she spoke due to the sheer ignorance and borderline (sometimes outright) racism. Despite the fact that she continually professes she knows nothing about various subjects (including music and fishing), she acts superior to everyone and constantly tells them what they are doing wrong. There isn't a single second where she doesn't give Americans a bad name. I cringed every time she spoke due to the sheer ignorance and borderline (sometimes outright) racism. The Korean characters (all of them) were odd too. They were....jerks is really the only way to say it. The story itself was also very derogatory towards Kpop. Ultimately, I was only able to finish the first seven chapters but, given the overwhelmingly negative tone of the story and the unlikeable characters, I would probably have only given this story 1 or 2 out of 5 stars.


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