Saturday, March 31, 2012

quick thoughts on a few recent reads
(all from the public library)

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

An e-audiobook from the library. (Ebooks I can probably take or leave, but e-audiobooks I love).

The Chosen One is a work of contemporary fiction aimed at the young adult-audience. Set in a polygamist community and dealing with the abuse and abuse of power rampant within it, The Chosen One reads like a made-for-TV movie.

A bookmobile features prominently in the story. However the novel's 13-year-old narrator and protagonist insisted on referring to it nine times out of ten as "the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels," which was endearing at first, but quickly became irritating.

Crossed by Ally Condie

I read, but never posted about Matched, the book to which Crossed is a sequel. I hadn't planned to read Matched, one of 2010's mass of dystopian YA releases, after reading another to those releases (Delirium by Lauren Oliver, see post) that featured a society with Society-determined marriages, but it happened to be available for download on a day that I was browsing the library's e-audio offering so I checked it out. Since most of my preference predictions about that crop of books were wrong,1 it should come as no surprise that I liked Matched.

The authoritarian society depicted in both Matched and Crossed is more complex than those in some of the other dystopian releases (yeah!), much more so that I expected, and its depth is revealed slowly to both protagonist and reader. The series also features a group of individuals referred to as the Archivists (expect a post on that in the near future).

I didn't enjoy Crossed as much as Matched, but considering that Crossed is the second book in a planned trilogy that's almost to be expected.

A History of Venice by John Julius Norwich

Russell came back from the library one day and said that he'd seen a book he thought I might like, a history of Venice, but that he hadn't picked it up for me since he wasn't sure what my reading schedule looked like. My reading schedule, such as it is, is nothing but flexible and I love variety so I asked him to bring the book home next time he went to the library.

I have to admit that I was overwhelmed when he presented me with John Julius Norwich's 736-page A History of Venice: so fat, such fine print. Norwich starts with early settlements in the general area of the Venetian Republic (late Roman period) and follows through until Napoleon conquers the Republic. I think that I made it through the introduction and four chapters before we had to return the book or suffer over-due fees. I'm not sure that I'll check it out again, though. I suspect that there is another Venetian history out there that would be a better fit for me. From other reviews I've read it seems like Norwich continues to focus on political and military chronology while generally neglecting all the other (in my opinion) more interesting aspects of the Republic's history.
  1. I was disappointed by Bumped by Megan McCafferty (see post) and the aforementioned Delirium, both of which I expected to love, and pleasantly surprised by Divergent by Veronica Roth (see post), which I'd more or less decided to pass over and only read because I won a copy from Kaye at paper reader.


  1. I might try Matched at some point (library probably) as I've been disappointed with the they actual dystopia of some YA dystopian novels.

  2. Ellie, I feel the same way. I do think that _Matched_ is worth a shot especially if you can get your hands on a library copy.

  3. I might try Matched as well. I loved The Hunger Games triology (and thought the movie was pretty good), but was far less impressed with The Maze Runner triology which is the last dystopian young adult series I've read.

    Also, I see in your header that you have "Family Matter" by Rohinton Mistry - his book, "A Fine Balance" is one of my all-time favorite books even if it makes me cry. A lot. Have you read it?

    Finally, love your blog and thank you so much for commenting on my red dress in spite of your dislike of red. ;-)

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Gracey.

    I've read _A Fine Balance_, but not for what seems like ages. I really should give it a reread. I have not read the Maze Runner books so I appreciate your comment and won't rush out to get a copy of the first book.