Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Great Escape

Today was a fun day. I got to sleep in (I miss summer so much! Already!). I got to go and browse for an hour at my favourite bookstore (and double my reading list, as always). And then, I got to buy a book and come home to my big, comfy, warm bed, and read and read and read to my hearts content. Ahhh, bliss. A perfect day, just like that song from Legally Blonde,

I love when I get hooked on a book and can't put it down. I get to forget about my life and my problems and get completely absorbed in whatever I'm reading. It doesn't even have to be a particularly good book. It usually has to have romance (though, not always, to be fair). Nothing comes to close to giving me the same escape. Not tv. Not movies. Not music. Always books. Today my book of choice was My Big Fat Manifesto, by Susan Vaught,

(Isn't this cover so delicious?)

I enjoyed the book a lot, but I enjoyed the chance to escape more. I've had a very busy week, getting back into the swing of things at school. Lots of clubs to join, and friends to catch up with. Lot of new gossip and new homework assignments. So, it was nice to get away from all of that for a little while. Oh, and here is a review of the book, in case you're interested. And, speaking of recommendations, I have a whole bunch more for you, from my summer reading list:

1) The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway

I'm nor one for the supernatural or for anything to do with superpowers or anything like that. But I loved Robin Benway's debut novel Audrey, Wait!, so I had to give this one a try. And I'm glad I did. The beginning was a little bit boring. There was a lot about the sisters relationships (bonding/arguing), which alternatively left me feeling left out or annoyed, since I'm an only child and therefore couldn't relate at all. But, just when I was about to dismiss the book, the romance kicked in. And oh, is it good. Amazing. Top notch. Double awesome, actually since there are two romances, with the two older sisters, April and May. May's relationship with her tutor Henry is cute, and produced some good moments. But the real draw was April's relationship with goth/rebel Julian. Oh, how I loved Julian. So sensitive, so sweet. So very cute. If you like romance at all, you will love Julian. And you will really like this book.

2) Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

This book was fun to read during the summer, because it is about the summer, as the title suggests. The author talks a lot about the magic of the ocean, which was fun, because I was reading it seaside and experiencing all the magic myself. And, the book was fairly good, beyond the coincidental circumstances.

This was a book I had wanted to read for awhile. I must have picked it up at the bookstore twenty times, just because I loved the cover so much. But I was really weary of the main conflict in the book--the death of a teenage boy. I generally don't like books about death. I find them to depressing. I don't like listening to the characters being all sad for sooooooo long. So, for awhile, I just admired the cover, but could never bring myself to bring it to the cash. But then, it was summer, and I had time, and you know how these things go. So, I read it, and I'm glad I read it. Yes, there was a lot of sadness. But there was a lot sweetness too. And romance, of course. You know I love me some romance (for evidence, see the above bullet point!). There are two romances in the book. The old one, that Anna, the main character, had with her best friend/friend's brother Matt, and the new one, that she has with a boy named Sam at the beach. The beach romance was pretty good, but always limited, because it had a set expiration date (the end of summer). The old romance was much better, since it was explored throughout the whole book. The actual romance is explained in the first few pages, but then expanded on as different characters find out about it. It's very sweet. Altogether, the books not GREAT, but it was VERY GOOD beach read.

3) Adios to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer

This book was a quick read, but a fun read. It's about a girl who competes in a spanish version of American Idol (more or less). Once again, there are two romantic storylines--one with the main character, Ali, and one with her father. The whole book is very cute, and a lot of fun. I don't know what else to say. I didn't like the ending that much. It was unbelievable--but so is reality tv. All in all, good fun=good book (insert smiley face emoticon here).

4) Emma by Jane Austen

I'll admit it. This one was a challenge. I've always wanted to read a classic, to prove that I'm not a moron who just reads stupid romance and YA. So, I climbed that mountain. I got through the hard language and the slow moving plot and the annoying english society. And I came to love the main character, Emma, though I hear that most people don't like her, which I don't understand, because how could anyone dislike Cher? (and so marks the beginning of the Clueless comparisons). Mr. Knightley was good, but I liked Paul Rudd better. In all, I'm glad to have read it. I'm not a moron. I can read so-called "literary books". And, I can enjoy them. But, I don't I'll being reading another one anytime soon. They take a lot of commitment and time, and for now, I think I'll stick with romance and YA. They're much more fun. And they give much less of a headache.

5) Loathing Lola by William Kostakis

This book was a different one, because I bought it in Australia. It was all cool and Australian-like and fun to read when I was actually down under. This book is about a reality show as well (who knew I was so obsessed?), but more of a Real World and less of an American (Canadian?) Idol. I doubt anyone from North America will ever read this book, since I've never seen it on our shelves, but I will say now, I am going to spoil a little bit. Well, a big bit, if you love romance as much as I do. If you do, and you think you may this book someday, look away now. There, you've been warned. The big spoiler I wanted to share was my shock about who the main character (surprising not named Lola) ends up with. I was so, so, so sure that she was going to end up with her best guy friend, Tom. But no, she ends up with some random guy. That's a crime against romantic comedy nature. It's completely unprecedented. Everyone knows that if any character has a male best friend, they will end up together. It happened in How To Be Popular five years ago, and it's going to happen with Hellcats sometime in the coming weeks (because that blond guy has secret romance written all over him). But no. They went against the grain. Which could have been a good thing, I suppose, but it just kind of annoyed me. The minute I read the whole "boy whose a friend, not a boyfriend line", I assumed they were going to get together. So, for the whole novel, I rooted for them. Even when it seemed like she was going to end up with the other guy. And then, she did. And I hated him, because he wasn't Tom. Alas, the ending was disappointing, and the book wasn't that good as a whole. But I will remember it for going against the grain. And, if anyone's interested, here are the first fifty pages free online.

I read a few other books, like Tweak by Nic Sheff (a memoir about methamphetamines), and The Big Love by Sarah Dunn (well written romantic comedy with an interesting religion aspect to it), as well as My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor (a memoir from a science perspective about a scientist who actually has a stroke at 35 and lives to tell and analyze the tale), and My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster (as usual, a hilarious memoir from Mrs. Lancaster). Summer is a great time for reading, and I'm sad it's over. Now I only have the weekends to look forward to to find my escape. Then again, in the summer, there's very little you need to escape from. Just the waves and sun and all that time off. Ahh, the bliss...

Going to go blissfully (and tiredly) to sleep now. Sleep tight, all you out in cyberspace. Don't let the virtual bed bugs bite.

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