From the Bookshelves of September 2013

Books: Heavy Hangs the Head, The Glass Castle, Hi Fidelity, Locke & Key, White Oleander
Heavy Hangs the Head by Taryn Hipp

This was a very quick read, and in fact I forgot I had read it at the beginning of the month, not because it was forgettable (far from it, in fact), but because I got through it so soon I couldn’t remember when I read it. Described as a “memoir novella,” Taryn’s story is very touching, and while at some points I would get frustrated, I was still rooting for her, and it definitely paid off in the end–or at least the point she’s at so far in her life, because it’s really not the end yet.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill

I already wrote a recommended reading post for this because it was absolutely wonderful. It’s definitely up there on my list of favorite graphic novels, and I can’t wait to get the next book. With a strong story and noteworthy art, it’s a fantastic introduction both for anyone interested in dipping their toes in horror comics or anyone already familiar with the genre. It’s definitely worth adding to a collection if horror is your kind of thing.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This was a weird, tough read for me. Maybe I’m clueless about poverty (I won’t say it’s impossible; I don’t know everything), but it seemed exceptionally outlandish to me. There just seemed to be so much going wrong for this family. I mean, couldn’t they have learned after the first, second, or third fires they encountered? It’s not necessarily that it was bad, just unbelievable in every sense of the word. And the end seemed to come too easily for me. There seemed to be no trouble in escaping once the children were at an age when they could. It’s just a book that I’ve had trouble wrapping my head around, I suppose.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

This was my second favorite of the month, I think, after Locke & Key. It was a bit long and overly poetic at points, but for the most part it was very beautiful to read and interesting to compare to The Glass Castle, with one being fiction and the other memoir. Its narrator struggled in adolescence much like in The Glass Castle, but there seemed to be emotional struggle on top of troubling incidence in White Oleander, whereas in the other there wasn’t enough emotion for me. This is also a book with a film adaptation, which I’ve seen, and I’d like to watch it again soon so I can compare the two while the book is still fresh in my mind.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

This is definitely a guy’s novel in many ways, but it was still both fascinating and frustrating to see into the thoughts and feelings of the narrator, Rob. And it did have one part which especially resonated with me–when Rob considers what makes him happy, what he wants from life, and where he’s going, all in a confused way–so I was happy to get through to the end. I would put this somewhere between Heavy Hangs the Head and The Glass Castle in terms of enjoyment. It wasn’t my least favorite, and it hasn’t put me off of Nick Hornby’s books entirely (there are still a few I actively want to read), but it wasn’t something I read in a day or two.

“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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