I think we can all agree on something here: libraries are the greatest. Recently, though, I keep experiencing this strange phenomenon: I put a bunch of books on hold, and suddenly they all become available at the same time. I am convinced there are some mysterious library forces operating for this to transpire; I placed these holds at various times and found myself in vastly different positions in the waiting line – position 14 on 8 copies and position 244 of 6 copies, for example. Yet somehow, I receive three of the five books I have on hold at the same time. Fortunately, this time around, I was up for the challenge, and (also fortunately) these three novels happened to be skinny books.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – This book is absolutely charming and fun. I have read both Eleanor & Park and Fangirl this past year and have thoroughly enjoyed Rowell’s sharp wit and engaging writing, so I was eager to check out Attachments at a friend’s recommendation. I hadn’t realized that Rowell had written any adult novels and was thrilled by this revelation (this novel was actually Rowell’s debut). While this book does not deal in issues as heavy as Eleanor & Park, and some may argue that the plot is as predictable as a romantic comedy film, sometimes a rom-com is exactly what a reader needs (at least this reader). And this book certainly delivers; despite its ordinary set-up in terms of plot, the structure of the novel is original and the characters’ banter is so smart that I was satisfied, and I found myself thinking about the characters long after the final pages.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Unpredictable. That is the word that comes to mind when I think of my experience with Neil Gaiman. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is my second Neil Gaiman novel (I also recently read Neverwhere, an undeniably intriguing adventure tale). As in Neverwhere, I found myself in completely uncharted territory with this tale. Gaiman’s work is so wholly unique that curiosity is a huge driving force for me as I read his books. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a quick read (we’re talking less than 200 pages) and I recommend it on the grounds of Gaiman’s imagination alone.
Looking for Alaska by John Green – As noted in one of my previous posts, I finally read The Fault in Our Stars a while back, and I capital-L Loved it. This book was no different. John Green truly is a master writer. He creates such genuine, empathetic characters and his prose is witty and it flows effortlessly. He takes on dauntingly tough situations, doesn’t sugar-coat anything or lessen the impact of tragedy, and you come out the other end feeling like you’ve experienced something transformative.
At this point, I’ve trimmed my holds list down to two books (by Rachel Kushner and Chimamanda Adichie – woo girl power!), but I’m currently in positions 219 and 431. And we all know that my literary enthusiasm will lead me to continue adding to that list before either of these arrives (I can’t help it!). Let’s just hope the library gods don’t challenge me with five long novels this next time. Just in case, I should probably keep working on my speed-reading.