Night Film, Marisha Pessel. Really enjoyed this. Author does a masterful job of adding content from made up web pages, news stories, internet forums, etc. Makes it feel very modern and real where most authors that try to do this fail (feels like someone who has never been on internet). Story is based around a movie director who is a recluse to the point where eventually his horror movies are not even officially released and rather are part of an underground group of fans. Anyhow, director’s daughter dies, reporter with history starts to dig deeper and the story takes off. Lots of twists. The Author is not afraid of using a lot of paper (or e-ink) and the first quarter of the book is too wordy (I nearly put the book down) with some overwrought descriptive language. Not a “A” book, but a fair “B” that is a fun read.
The Remaining Series, DJ Molles. Mediocre series of 4 zombie books. I read all 4 in a row as I partially enjoyed the book and I knew if I went back to read the others later I would need to re-read the first one to remember. By the 4th one I was proper tired of the series. But that is partially due to me reading them in a row and needing a break. Basic idea is interesting … that the gov’t have a series of military folks that live a fairly normal day to day life but are occasionally sent to secret bunkers when something potentially bad might be happening in the world. Normally they stay down for a few days and are told to come up. This time they are not. Zombie breakout. They have access to supply caches around their state (there are 50 of them). They are to restart the gov’t. There will be a 5th book, which I will read to see it through. Like most decent apocalyptic stories, the cruelty and evil of the living is the real story and the monsters are simply a catalyst.
Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell. Tied for best book of 2013. I thought it there was no chance it would have competition for top spot, but a December Wally Lamb Book changed that. Anyhow, this was the YA book that matched ‘The Fault in our Stars’ last year IMHO which is saying A LOT. Basic idea is a first love book with an amazing open ended ending. Two socially awkward kids that slowly let each other into their lives with the backdrop of her broken family situation. No reason to put any more in this review - simply put that this is a must read and one of my favorites of all time. If you skip things that get listed in YA in book lists, you are missing out on some potentially great books. Not all YA books are worth a read as an adult of course, but there are amazing books that people will never give a chance … and this is one of them.
Bright Lights, Big Ciy, Jay Mcinerney. 80’s classic that I just read. Very short and easy to read. Captures the excess world of the 80’s very well albeit without much of a true story or point that will stick with you. I am okay with this being called a classic of the time.
Animal Farm, George Orwell. True classic. Had not read since High School and I realize how far it was over my head in overall theme..
Straight Flush, Ben Mezrich. Ben’s books are modern pop culture … easy to read and popular with people who do not read many books. Some are barely worth the read, some are great. Sex on the Moon is my favorite by far. Straight Flush started out with a lot of potential and quite honestly gets boring and lost my interest. Story covers the rise and fall or online poker from the view of one specific service. It just never seems to live up to the tension and excitement that is starts out with.
Hells Angels, Hunter S Thompson. Classic HST and true gonzo journalism. But simply too damn long. Story is his time embedded in the Hell’s Angels during their peak. A classic of the time and genre.
Paper Towns, John Green. Not as good as TFIOS (his best and my best of 2012), but good. Too similar to Looking for Alaska (see below) and it felt like it was a blur of characters. But make no mistake - worth every minute and still a great book. Another young love and coming of age book based in a generic town in Florida.
No Easy Day, Mark Owen. The written version of the movie “zero dark thrity”. Book is from the Seal Team POV. Great read to understand what happened.
Looking for Alaska, John Green. Very very good. Story of a girl named Alaska and her coming of age and how her life impacts people around her. Based around a summer camp. A must read.
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn. My biggest disappointment of the year. Starts off with amazing potential. And ends in a steaming pile of poo. It felt like the author simply gave up. You can feel it happening as you read.