R is for (Books About) Regret #atozchallenge

For A to Z 2018, my theme is Books About ____. If you’re stopping by from your own A to Z blog, feel free to leave a link. If you need help with how to do that, you can look here.

If you’re someone looking to read a lot of great blogs, here’s the link for the A to Z challenge.

We’ve all done things that we regret. I don’t think you can get through life without at least a few. But in some books, regret is an underlying theme that’s so strong it’s almost another character. These are a few of those books.

And The Trees Crept In, by Dawn Kurtagich (YA horror): The first time I read this book, I had no idea what was going on, but in the best possible way. It’s told in odd formats, with straightforward text and journal entries. Some parts didn’t entirely make sense, but I went with it and ended up loving the payoff. Silla is an unreliable narrator, and it’s clear she’s regretful about something, but what isn’t clear until the end.

Artemis, by Andy Weir (science fiction): While I didn’t think Artemis was as good as The Martian, I still really enjoyed it. Jasmine is an honest smuggler who gets involved in a huge conspiracy. Throughout the book, she mentions that she needs to make a particular amount of money, and it’s clear that there’s something she wants to make amends for. It was telegraphed pretty well long before the ending, but there were enough surprises along the way to make it an enjoyable ride.

1984, by George Orwell (literary): Winston has purchased an illegal diary and wants to write his thoughts but is consumed by guilt and worry that he’ll be found out. As his rebellion grows, he continues to feel guilty about what he’s doing. The ending is a masterpiece with the Thought Police manipulating him and then using his feelings of regret to keep him prisoner. It’s terrifying.

What are your favorite books about regret?

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Book Challenges- Week 10

Popsugar Challenge

(8/50) One of last week’s books, YOU Are a Badass should actually have been under this heading, as “A book recommended by someone else doing the Popsugar Reading Challenge.”

Unknown

A book set on another planet: Artemis, by Andy Weir: I know the moon is not a planet! But I feel like this book captures the spirit of the category, if it doesn’t follow the letter of the law. Andy Weir himself would probably object, to be honest.

Anyhow… I really loved this book, 5 stars on Goodreads! Jasmine was a fun character, and I really enjoyed spending several hundred pages with her. I didn’t always agree with the choices she made, but she was well-written so I understood where she was coming from. I read that she wasn’t supposed to be the main character, and when Andy Weir was trying to write the book, she kept dominating her scenes so he just made it her story, and I see why. It is an otherwise male-dominated cast of characters, but it worked. They were all pretty well fleshed out for the time they were “onscreen.”

I admit I skimmed many of the more science-heavy parts, but there were large parts that made sense and were accessible to someone with my limited science skills. This book had everything I liked about The Martian. You know how some authors seem to write the same book and characters over and over? This wasn’t that. It was like The Martian while at the same time being its own thing. I loved the civilization he set up on the moon. It’s clear that the man does his homework!

While I Was Reading Challenge

(4/12) 33% done, Woo hoo!

Unknown

An audiobook with multiple narrators: One More Thing, by BJ Novak: The stories in this book were quite funny, though they varied widely in quality. I loved many of them, while others were just meh. It’s narrated by a whole cast of characters, including BJ Novak himself, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Mindy Kaling, Katy Perry, and others. In this particular case, the narration definitely added to the stories. The comic timing of the narrators made stories funnier and added a layer of nuance I might have missed if I were just reading them.

The Unread Shelf

Running Total: 3

5 Classic Books

(0/5) No progress

Miscellaneous Reading

None this week

Abandoned

The Boy Meets Girl Massacre, by Ainslie Hogarth: I really, really, really, really wanted to love this. The premise seemed like fun. But on page 1, I was already a little skeptical. It’s not that the writing is bad; it isn’t. Just something told me maybe this book wasn’t a good fit for me. But I pushed on. I ended up really enjoying it for awhile. The premise is that a filmmaker is looking to make a movie out of the events portrayed in Noelle’s diary. Noelle works in the Boy Meets Girl hotel, and writes about the events leading up to a slaughter.

There are some gruesome details early on, which I don’t love but can put up with. It’s about a massacre, so although I prefer psychological horror, I can deal with gore if it serves a purpose. As the book went on, the grossness escalated, and honestly, seemed unnecessary.

I have a friend, who once when with me to a haunted house. I thought the haunted house was lame, but just a few minutes in, she was actually crying. She later told me that she even though she knows it’s not real, her brain can’t separate it in the moment.

I have a thing like that. For me, it’s animal cruelty. I can deal with brief, off-screen mentions. But anymore than that, and I nope out.

So I was already not into this book when we got to the scene where the main character kills, or at least seriously injures, a cat. I’m not sure what happened. It’s sort of dreamlike and I skimmed it to see if I could skip it and move on. But then I thought about it, decided that what the author was trying to accomplish (showing the worsening mental state of the main character) could have happened in other ways, and I decided that I don’t want to read this book. So… I’m out.

tl;dr: Unnecessary grossness + animal cruelty = not for me.

2018 Running Total: 25

Have you made any progress on your TBR or book challenges?