Friday, February 17, 2017

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

February - Books with Mr. or Mrs. in the title

To fulfill this month's book club theme, I literally did the broadest search in my local library's database, simply typing in the word "Mr." in the title search. My plan was to find a few books, read their synopsis, and then yes, pick 1 by its cover. Then do the same with "Mrs." However, I found 2 with "Mr." that have interested me and I think I will stay with those.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore turned out to be a random good pick. Imagine a secret society for bibliophiles, because that is what the book's narrator, Clay Jannon, unintentionally falls into while bored at his new job as book store clerk for the eccentric Mr. Penumbra. When Clay decides to while away the hours by using computer code to plot costumers' book histories, he discovers the puzzle filled world of the Unbroken Spine. Not only is his life changed, but he turns the secret society upside down with the events that follow.

Here is another book done in first person. Is this the new big thing? I have to say, the point of view was neither here nor there for me this time. While I was mostly okay with Clay's voice, there were a few other times I thought things being said were mere thoughts but were answered by the other characters. Ok, so dialogue then. No quotation marks? Mildly annoying. Usually, though, Clay's thoughts were humorous and entertaining.

Overall, the story was interesting. I liked the idea of this secret society just for people who tend to look too deeply into books. And the secret to immortality, yeah, that was something to make me smile. Oh, and the very wide range of people involved! The way things turned a little sideways. These things made the book more enjoyable.

I'm glad I stumbled upon this one. It was unique and fun! Has anyone else picked up this little gem? If so, I would love to know what you thought as well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Every Last Word

January - Books with a white cover

This is the story of Sam. Sam has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, focusing on the obsessive part. She is sixteen and she was diagnosed years ago, and she is in therapy and trying to cope with it. But no one outside of Sam's family knows. And she likes it like that because she wants the world to think she is completely normal. Only, she is lonely because of this thinking. Until she meets Caroline and her world starts to change. Sam discovers poetry and makes friends and focuses on herself. She starts to be happy. It's a wonderful story!

And it is so darn familiar to me that sometimes I had to take a step back. Sure, the details are a little different because while I do have OCD (or Pure-O as I have discovered is more accurate), I was dealing more with depression and anxiety in high school. And whereas Sam had a group of plastic friends she felt she could never explain things to, I had my family who I was desperate not to disappoint. Sam meets the Poets, friends that understood, had their own faults, but had poetry. I had a few friends that had their own illness and were willing to just let me be. Sam finds AJ. I am now married to my own AJ. It sounds so awesome, finding your way through, figuring out who you are and how to be happy in it. But it's not that easy. At one point, Sam's friend tells her she is changing, and maybe not for the better. I received those same lines from my father. It was hard to explain that I wasn't who everyone had though I was up to that point, especially since my family really liked that girl and I was becoming my own person. It took my a long time to find my own Poets, but I got there and have slowly to become happier in my own life.

So imagine how amazing it was to pick up this book and discover my story within its pages! So maybe I was far more drawn to the story than you would be. But I honestly believe that Stone does such an amazing job of giving us Sam in all her crazy glory and making us fall in love with her. She does an incredible job of capturing the good, the bad, the crazy of Sam's day to day life, from the obsession with her odometer in her car to the panic attacks that nearly cripple her. Stone did a lot of research for this story, and it really shows in how accurately she portrays so much of it. It was wonderful getting to read this one. Even through the sad parts and the bits that gave me second hand embarrassment and the pages that made my heart smile. It was a fantastic book from beginning to end. Please, pick it up, read it, love it with me!