Time for another five-book-wrap-up-thingie. These are the last five books I finished.
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
This is the story of Rose who falls into a sinkhole when she’s a little girl and lands in the hand of a giant statue. It seems to be glowing and it’s very strange, also why is it there? When Rose grows up she becomes a scientist and she works on the project that looks into the hand. The team consists of her, a couple of interns, a linguist and two military pilots. The story is told through interviews and diary entries. The interviews are conducted by a nameless person who seems to work for the government and seems to have some power over the President even. The book was fascinating. I found the style worked really well. All the files had a number and some numbers are skipped, so it’s clear that some files aren’t shared with us. I thought it was interesting, and it’s an interesting look at what happens when one country, or armed force has a massive weapon that no one else has access to, and how moral or ethical that is. I liked it. It didn’t blow my mind, but I liked it.
Bikubesong by Carl Frode Tiller (Song of the Beehive)
This is a Norwegian book I’ve had on my shelves since I was in high school, so for over ten years. I never finished it in high school, but now, now, I have finished. So proud. Anyway. The books is made up of short stories based around one block of flats in a small village in Norway, near Bergen. All the stories focus on one different apartment and a person who lives in that apartment. I found it really interesting. It’s such a great microcosm and it’s a clever way of telling a story. All the stories interlink with at least one other story, because these people live so close. I feel like he managed to write in different voices really well and I liked that. There are at least 20 stories and they didn’t really blend or smush into each other, so that’s good. Smush, excellent language skills there. Anyway, it was good. I don’t know why I never finished it in high school, but at least I’ve finished it now. I should tell my Norwegian teacher. I’m sure she’d be proud, or ask who the hell I am.
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
This is a beautiful little book and it made me so happy, I don’t even know why. It’s about a young woman named Makina who lives in Mexico and who is going across the border into the United States. She is looking for her brother who went to the States a while ago. He was looking for some land that supposedly is in the family. And Makina is taking a message across for her mother, and because it’s hard to go across illegally she needs help from the Mexican underworld. So she’s also bringing across something for them. The book is really short, and a lot happens in that time. The language is so spare and so beautiful. The book is brutal, and I just feel like I have all the respect in the world for people brave enough to go into a country where you don’t speak the language, don’t know anyone and where many people try to hurt you simply for being there. Makina is strong and tough and incredible. I felt scared for her a lot of the time, but I also had all the faith in the world that she would be a badass at all time. The book is so beautiful and bare and incredible. There aren’t a lot of quote marks and the punctuation is also spare, so you have to deal with that. It didn’t bother me, I found it easy to follow, so it’s not very hard, but I realize some people find it annoying. But it was beautiful and wonderful.
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell
So during the US war of independence a teenage aristocrat from France, the Marquis de Lafayette, went to the US and fought under George Washington for the freedom of the United States. As you do. In 1824 he returned to New York and something like 80,000 people showed up to greet him. That’s insane. Today Lafayette is more a place; squares, towns, streets, and Sarah Vowell is a history nerd and wanted to write about the person who gave his name to all those streets and towns. I really liked it. I’ll be honest and say I read this because I love the music to Hamilton and Lafayette plays a big part there. I’m a simple person. I also really like Sarah Vowell. The story is so incredible, and there’s so much pluck in the soldiers who fought for freedom and self-rule. A lot of the time they didn’t have food, horses, or even shoes. And Lafayette wasn’t even American, but he fought anyway. He was shot in the leg and he was so bored and annoyed so he wrapped his leg in a blanket and rejoined the war, as you do. It’s so much fun. I listened to the audiobook, which is read by Sarah Vowell, and I like hearing her reading it, because she knows how she wrote it and where to emphasize words and stuff. She is also joined by a lot of actors and comedians who voice other people, like John Adams, Washington, Hamilton, and everyone else, and I think that’s a good idea and a good way to do it. I feel like it adds to the book.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
So this is the book version of the play that is currently on in London, and it is purported to be the 8th Harry Potter story. The story is focused around Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, and it’s set 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Albus and Harry have a really contentious relationship, and don’t communicate very well. And it doesn’t help that Albus doesn’t live up to Harry’s legacy, or Albus Dumbledore’s legacy. And Harry doesn’t know how to cope with being an adult. So Harry is approached by Diggory’s father who has heard rumors of a time-turner and he wants Harry to save his son. And anyway, that’s the meat of the story, also the rumor of Voldemort having a kid. So I have some issues, I’ll be honest, I have a lot, but just… first of all the idea that Voldemort had a kid is just so unlikely that I just, no. He wouldn’t have done that, ever! He didn’t like people. Also, has no one learned, don’t mess with time. Diggory’s death was tragic, but as any Whovian will know, it’s a fixed point in time! He has to die in the graveyard to save Harry. I’m so annoyed that that’s the story line. I’m so annoyed that it’s so stupid. I loved that I got to be in the world again, because there are moments that feel like Harry Potter, but just, GAH.