"Patron Saint of Liars", "The Name of the Wind", "About a Boy" and "Matched"
I should do an individual entry for each of these books, but it takes a lot more time and, after my latest IMH entry, I counted again how many books I had left to start reading: it goes up to 41, and I still didn't count those that belong to my parents or my brother. So, here it goes, in chronological reading order.
Patron Saint of Liars (Ann Patchett, 1992)
California, the late sixties. Rose is married and pregnant, but she's not happy with it. She feels that becoming a wife and a mother is not what she was meant to do in this life, so when she finds out about the baby on the way, she runs away to a home for unwed mothers in the remote town of Habit, Kentuky. She leaves without saying goodbye or that she is pregnant, because she plans to give her baby away for adoption and continue with her life as a perpetual liar. However, things don't go according to Rose's plan when she decides to stay in St Elizabeth's with her daughter Cecilia.
I love Ann Patchett's writing: she turns her prose into poetry and the images she describes are very detailed but not to the point of becoming boring. The story she narrates in this book is one about family and growing up. I liked the characters, with their flaws and their strong points, but I was slightly disappointed with how the author ends the story after all the building up: the reader learns about Rose, Son and Cecilia and their story from their point of view (the book is divided in three big chapters, each of them narrated from the main characters' point of view), but I was expecting more: a resolution of some sort, the secrets revealed... Something like that. However, because Patchett's writing is delicious, I was not totally disappointed with the book as a whole. As a side note, a film was made 1998 with the same name and based off the book.
The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss, 2007)
Kote, the innkeeper, is more than he appears: not so long ago, he went by the name of Kvothe and became a legenday hero for some, a demon for others. Legends about his person and his adventures are common, though contradictory. Chronicler finds him and Kvothe agrees to narrate his story, the whole truth, in three days. The Name of the Wind takes us through Kvothe's childhood and teen years, while the following two books are expected to talk about what really turned him into a legend.
The first time I heard about this book was because I asked the shopkeeper what would he recommend to someone who has read everything related to Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire and the Dragonlance books. Without hesitation, he gave me The Name of the Wind, and my boyfriend (to whom I was buying the book as a birthday gift) loved it. I finally read it, and also loved it: I've commented other times that I'm not a big fan of this sort of literature, but I fell in love with Kvothe. As a character, he is a bit of a Harry Potter, only that Kvothe is intelligent and not as lucky as the boy who lived, so he manages to survive on his own. I really am looking forward to reading the second book, The Wise Man's Fear.
About a Boy (Nick Hornby, 1998)
Will is a thirty-something year old perpetual teenager: he lives off his father's heritage (he wrote one very famous Christmas song, and Will gets his money from the copyright). He wants nothing to do with compromise, family or even children. However, he makes up that he has a two-year-old son to date single mothers. It is then when he meets Marcus, the oldest 12-year-old in the whole of the UK: not only he dresses in the worst of tastes and knows nothing about contemporary pop culture, but he acts like an old man. Somehow, the two of them will help the other to learn to act their age.
I knew about this book because of the film adaptation starring Hugh Grant (which I've seem many times on TV, but never complete, so I don't know if it's a good adaptation of the book). I found it for 1€ and I read it in three days while sunbathing. It's a funny book, it made me grin quite a lot of times because of the main characters' attitudes, and the writing is full of ironies and sarcasms (British humour: you love it or you hate it), even though it can be interpreted as a very tragic story if you go a little deeper. Also, it's the ideal lenght for a story of this sort.
Matched (Ally Condie, 2010)
Cassia lives in a world where the Society decides what is best for you: how much exercice you should do, what you must eat, who must you marry, when you must have children and when you'll die. When children turn 17, they have a matching dinner party, where they are introduced to the person who'll be their husband or wife. Cassia is lucky because she gets matched to her best friend, Xander, but something weird happens: another boy appears on screen when she wants to find out more information about him... And she also knows this boy, Ky, and she finds herself wanting to know more about him, even though the Society tells her that it was a mistake by the computers. Could she be falling in love with him?
I didn't know what to expect from this book, because I don't find teen lit appaling: it's all vampires and werewolves and stupid love triangles. It gratefully surprised me. There is a love triangle in this story, too, yes, but there is more to that. It reminded me a lot of 1984 and other science-fiction stories with totalitary political systems as background. I kind of expected, from an early point, that there would be some sort of rebellion (because I'm old and saw it coming), but I totally didn't expect the ending... but later I found out that there is a sequel, soon to be published. Also, I read somewhere that Disney wants to turn it into a film. We'll see... It's not a bad book, in teen literature standards. Actually, it makes you think much more than Twilight and stuff like that. It's something. The only thing I didn't quite like is the fact that it's written in present tense most of the time.
Now that I look at the images, could it be that I have a thing for books with a lot of green on the cover?