I know one of my resolutions was to blog more, but I haven't been keeping to it very well. I've been too busy reading, writing, and working. I know it's an excuse, but it's also the truth. So I figured I'd write my newest blog entry about the books I have just finished reading (which is in line with my 2011 book challenge and one of my resolutions). This post is not so much of a review as it is my recommendation and opinion about these books. (Which is basically a review, I know.)
I just don't really like the idea of "reviewing" something. I don't usually read reviews since I like to figure out things for myself, and I'm usually disappoint in the reviews. For one thing, I tend to like (even love) things that majority of people don't like (sometimes even down right hate...*don't hate*). And sometimes reviews make me "angry" because the reviewers miss things (did they really just read/watch the same thing as me?), get their information wrong (again, did you read/watch the thing you're reviewing?), or write reviews that are hurtful/mean-spirited (if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!). Anywho, my mini-rant is over...so this isn't a review...it's just me talking about the books I just read in brief terms and chalk full of my singular personal opinion.
"Stardust" by Neil Gaiman: First off, it's vastly different than the movie, but I love them both for their own reasons. The book is more humorous, more gritty, more folktale/ original Grimm's fairytale feel, and deliciously darker. It follows the same basic plot, but has different twists, turns, and lessons to be learned. The characters are colorful, the settings are fantastical, and the narrator's voice has a whimsy yet borderline satirical edge to it. Recommend if you like edgier or darker or not-your-Disney-variety of fairy tales.
"Coraline" by Neil Gaiman: I haven't seen this movie, but I hear the book is better (isn't that generally the case though?). It was also very dark, but very magically. It reminded me of a modern "Alice in Wonderland" with it's child-like view of the world, adventures into strange lands, and the realization that real life is always better than we think it is. It's a juvenile/youth fiction book, but I think all ages can get something out of this book. Recommend if you like larger-than-life children's adventures with a darker edge.
"M is for Magic" by Neil Gaiman: This was a short story collection, and I think I enjoyed it the best of the three! It was full of glimpses into various worlds, characters, and unique "lessons" or points of view. Plus it gave me a good feel of Gaiman's writing style overall. Some of the stories I loved more than others and some down right give me chills. I will never look at a jack-in-the-box (the toy kind) the same way again, nor will I ever take for granted bizarre items in a thrift shop. My favorite stories were the first and the last one of the collection. The first was a detective nursery rhyme tale (I heard the author read this one before) and the last was a short story that was later turned into "The Graveyard Book" (another of Gaiman's juvenile/youth fiction novels). Recommend if you want a good sampling of stories ranging from the dark, the weird, the magical, the thought-provoking, and the unexpected.
As you can see, I was stuck on a particular author...and I still have four more of his books that I will be reading soon! (And those are just the ones I own currently.) I really like his writing style, his stories, and his flare for the dark and fantastical. But for now, I've switched gears of sorts and started reading "The Hound of the Baskervilles" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (Of course, the story is still dark and written by a British author. *shrugs*) I've never read this novel though I adore Sherlock Holmes (and have for many years now). I used to read the children's edition of the "great classics" and some of the Holmes stories were in them. And Disney's "The Great Mouse Detective" was (and still is) one of my absolute favorite movies! Plus I love mysteries and anything from or about the Victorian era...so the Sherlock Holmes stories are great for me.
After this book, I'm not sure what I'm going to read next. I may go back to reading more Gaiman novels or I may start on the "Discworld" series by Terry Pratchett (my fiancée has been pushing me to read these books for awhile now). Or I might just random pick something off my shelf. I recently worked on organizing my book shelves and finding all the books I had packed away. I realized two things: 1) I need another book shelf, but have no room for one in my room, and 2) I need to stop buying books from Half-Price Books...or at least stop until I've read the tons of books I just rediscovered and forgot I even had. I'm still missing a few books though, which only worries me since it means I have at least another box hidden somewhere in the house. O.o
Is it possible to have too many books?!?!?!?!?