From the Bookshelves of July 2013

07.30.13 / on my bookshelf

The Outcast of Redwall by Brian Jacques

This book has been so much fun to read. Sure, the story is simple, predictable, and nowhere near as difficult or detailed as A Storm of Swords was–but it’s also a children’s book. Totally different from A Song of Ice and Fire, clearly. Nonetheless, it’s a cute read with just enough of a  medieval touch be fun. I still consider medieval stories to be “new” to my genres of interest, and I don’t actually know how much I’ll branch out from Redwall, ASOIAF, and anything Arthur-related, but there are enough Redwall books to suit me well anyway. I would certainly suggest checking this out if you want to read about awesome woodland creatures being heroic or if you know someone around, say, ten years old (like I think I was) who might be interested to start reading the series.

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

I spent the beginning of the month reading this, along with a good piece of June. The books always seem to take me weeks to read, and I suspect it’s because they’re so emotionally taxing. It doesn’t help that I often choose to read at midnight in bed beside Dan, so I can’t be extremely vocal with my reactions because I don’t want to wake him up. (Granted, it would take a car plowing through the wall to wake him up.) Still, despite all the horror, death, and aggravation Martin puts readers through, I absolutely recommend these books to anyone up to the task because they’re, well, amazing. The detail is fantastic, if somewhat occasionally overwhelming, and the character development is wonderful considering how devastating (or victorious) many of the deaths feel.

Palo Alto by James Franco

I have really mixed feelings about this book, because while the stories were interesting, there were some points where the writing really fell flat for me. It seemed as though as I read, the book improved, with the final story probably being one of my favorites as well as the least like any of the others in the book. I wouldn’t necessarily say don’t read this book, but I would say that there are others better written. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it. Two things I’ve heard the most about James Franco are that he’s very smart and very…pretentious, to put it lightly, so I was intrigued but wary. Overall, I wouldn’t say it was a waste of time, but it did have points that were rough to get through.

Death by Black Hole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Here’s a secret: I really enjoy astronomy and astrophysics. Even though I have a degree in English and am generally useless in subjects of science, I love learning about space. I’ll watch shows on History and The Discovery Channel about planets and the universe, and occasionally I make Dan tell me theories about space. So it should now be unsurprising to learn that even though the book was difficult for me to get through simply because I don’t know everything, it was still really fascinating. It was the kind of book that would teach me something, which I would then teach Dan, like all the things you can learn simply from putting a stick in the mud and making a sundial. I love it, and now I’m on the hunt for similar books.

In all, not as many books as I would have liked to have read, but still not too few. Although I did read A Storm of Swords through a lot of June, too. Regardless, I’m content with the last month’s selection of books, and I’m excited to see what August has in store.


“From the Bookshelves” is a monthly list of books I’ve recently read. I’ll share the good, the bad, and the ones so awful I didn’t even finish. The goal is to expose readers to books I encountered, and hopefully pique their interest in even the less enjoyed books because what’s boring to me might be fascinating to them.

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