What I Read – October 2013

The American Way of Eating – Tracie McMillan

I’m not sure that enjoy is a word I’d use given the subject matter, but I read this over a weekend which given the subject matter showed how it held my interest. McMillan goes ‘undercover’, working at jobs in the food industry, as a farm worker, at Walmart and then at Applebees and looking not only at how food in the States is produced but how difficult or not it is to eat well on minimum wage and why people don’t. On the way she covers, food snobbery, food prep, food deserts, and urban gardening. I know that the US has a slightly different way of doing things, but I suspect that it’s not that different from how food is produced in the UK and it has strengthened my resolve not to shop at Asda (owned by Walmart). Anyway, worth reading and really made me think about food and how it’s produced and sold.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

Loved this, loved Tana, loved that she rescued herself, loved that she understands how completely messed up she is and that she doesn’t mistake glamour for truth. Loved the mad love interest, the unreliable ex-boyfriend and the ending. Go and read, especially if you like vampire books where the vampires aren’t sparkly ‘vegetarians’.

Fortunately, the Milk – Neil Gaiman

This is lovely, I’m looking forward to Oli being old enough for it. Meets all my requirements for a ‘old enough to read by myself, but young enough to want pictures’ book. It’s handsized, beautifully illustrated and all 4 of the older godchildren read it in an hour but went back for the drawings.

The Final Empire, Mistborn Book 1 – Brandon Sanderson 

I really enjoyed this. It was just complicated enough and has set up the next book brilliantly. I sort of thought that some of it was too easy and we’ll see how the rest of the trilogy (all fantasy books seem to come in multiples!) goes.

Allegiant – Veronica Roth

Well, I didn’t see that coming! It’s difficult to say what I thought of this without giving away too much and I understand why so many people are unhappy with the ending. I’m not, although it wasn’t what I expected. I liked the ending, but then I firmly believe some Happy Ever Afters aren’t about being in a couple.

Before the ending though, comes the story and while the story is like crack, I found the Tobias/Tris split tricky as there wasn’t enough of a shift of tone. I liked that no one was all villain (except maybe Marcus) and thought that was an interesting choice, to portray domestic violence like that. My experience is that people who are violent really regret it and the only way they can deal with the fact that they keep doing it is to make it the victim’s fault. Marcus was always too much in control and the violence seemed plonked in the story and I felt was never well explained. The theme running through the book, that no-one is perfect, we all think we’re doing the right thing and trying to be basically good people wasn’t carried through to him and I found that odd, when Roth went to such lengths to do the opposite with Evelyn. I felt that Roth was trying to tell too many stories but I understand that, because I wanted to know all of them.

The House of Hades – Rick Riordan

I’m a big fan of Rick Riordan’s books. I like that they are easy to read and encourage readers to go and find out more about the Greek and Roman myths. I’m also happy that he manages to have his characters develop but keeps the stories readable for 12 year olds.  Luc read this in a day (it’s a pretty thick book) and is complaining about waiting another year for the next one. I liked that you could see that our heroes were changing and growing and I liked seeing that from other people’s viewpoints too. Nico’s development in particular has been great. The boy has issues and what he’s going to do about them is still in the air, but I did like that while his sexuality is a big deal for him and well explained in the context of him being out of time as well as it’s just a difficult thing. It isn’t a big deal for the other character that knows, who tries really hard to just be nice to him. Which is all you can really do for anyone going through something like that. However, Nico’s aloneness is echoed by Reyna’s aloneness, she doesn’t have the same issues but she is, like him left behind a lot and still does the ‘right’ thing. Nico’s issues are not all about his sexual orientation.

 

That’s it for this month. What are you reading?

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About nicdempsey

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One Response to What I Read – October 2013

  1. Pingback: What I’ve Read – April 2015 | Nic Dempsey

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