Coraline

Coraline Book CoverCoraline by Neil Gaiman is a quick read that I think has been, and remains, a source of inspiration and bravery for many readers. I have not yet seen the movie adaptation, having just read the book for the first time, but I know that the movie has expanded this story’s audience and influence. All this being said, I believe Coraline is a great story with a great effect. Though I didn’t love the story and felt a little old for it, which may just mean I’m in need of a rediscovery, I did like the story and believe it can be an very important book for those who need it or find it while younger or at the right time. It can easily be influential for younger minds, and I hope to read this story to my daughter when she is a bit older.

The premise of Coraline is that Coraline likes to explore. While exploring, she find finds a door that opens to a brick wall, except sometimes it opens to another place. This place is occupied by her “other mother” who very much wants Coraline to stay with her forever.

When I first saw images of the movie adaptation, I was a bit confused as to how the story would be for younger children. I saw the black button eyes and promptly thought it was a scary story. To be fair, it is a bit scary, but the story is more about bravery. Taking action despite being scared in order to set things right. I think this book has a lot in common with another of Neil’s works titled The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which could arguably be a “Coraline-themed book for adults” but instead of arguing about it let’s just take that as a secondary recommendation and enjoy reading both of them.

I understand why so many readers love this story. I was not as enamored with it though which may partly have been influenced by knowing about the story before reading it, knowing how popular it was thus having (unconsciously) higher expectations, or simply being/feeling old while reading it. Honestly, it might not have been one I would have loved either way. I think I am more excited to read it to my daughter, and perhaps my two nieces, than I was when reading it alone, which may be the biggest reason I am recommending this book.

Perhaps you will find this book more to your liking, or you may find it at the right time like many others and have it be a source of bravery for you. I hope so. Either way, I hope you enjoy reading it or sharing it yourself.

Happy Reading.

The Foundation

The Foundation Trilogy Book CoverThis recommendation is going to be split into three parts (all in one post) and each part will cover one book in this trilogy. The Foundation by Isaac Asimov is considered a classic science fiction tale that remains popular today. The television adaptation only recently began on Apple TV and partly prompted me to finally start reading it. I have the trilogy in one volume hence the structure of this post. Continue reading

Mythos

MythosI am a big fan of all kinds of mythology. I finally got around to reading Mythos which is Stephen Fry’s retelling of the Greek myths. Yes, Stephen Fry the comedian and actor. He even read/performs the audiobook, roughly 15 hours in length, which is how I made my way through this book. Though the overall story tells of a history of the world, it is a collection of smaller stories which makes it is easy to find stopping points or pick up without getting lost even when many stories build upon or reference earlier ones. I really enjoyed listening to Fry tell these stories and recommend the audiobook version though any version will prove entertaining and enlightening.

One thing I really enjoyed about Fry’s retellings was his method of showing how each story influenced the world we live in. He does so primarily by telling how certain words derived from or retain connections to the myths. You can certainly tell that he, perhaps with some assistance, conducted thorough research into these myths and enjoyed not only telling the stories but showing how they continue on.

It is commonly known that many of the Greek myths, or rather the problems at their center, stem from Zeus’s inability to keep it in his pants. This is of course true, but there is a lot more to the myths and there was much from this volume that was new to me. There were several stories I had not heard before and many characters I had known about but did not fully know their backgrounds or origins. For example, I knew the standard interpretation or general reference to Sisyphus, but I knew practically nothing else about him. Now I do and I feel much better about it for some reason. The same goes for many others including those who came before the more common Greek gods. I knew of Chronos and his relation to Zeus but I did not know his origin or those who existed before him. I did not recall how humans came to be via Greek myth but now I know that too. Thank you Prometheus.

There is so much depth and richness (both fascinating and horrifying) to the Greek myths and they greatly influenced, and continue to influence, much of the world. They are arguably the most well-known of the world mythologies and many stories today are influenced or reference them. There are of course those that directly relate to or incorporate the Greek gods such as the Percy Jackson series (that I have yet to look into), but there are many that are more subtly influenced by these myths. Fry has published additional myth-related books and I may eventually read, or listen, to them.

If you are a fan of mythology, history, or just interesting stories, then this is a book for you.

Happy Reading.

Fall Reading Lineup

Fall is here and I am wrapping up my final few classes which means I (should) have more time for some reading. My last post showing my intended upcoming reads was August and I am still working through one of them, the Sandman comic series, which I took a hiatus on reading once my current classes began. I am roughly halfway through the 3 volume omnibus set and will certainly finish the series by the end of the year. That being said, here are a few others I hope to read in the next few months.

The Foundation Trilogy Book CoverI am current reading The Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov. I just finished the first book and hope to finish up the next two in the next few weeks. I was prompted to start this series due to the premiere of the television adaptation though it may be some time before I actual watch the series. I am definitely intrigued by the story and look forward to seeing how it all wraps up. The structure is a bit lacking and characters are short-lived/lack depth but this is likely due to the story spanning 1,000 years.

Coraline Book CoverA smaller book I’ve been meaning to read is Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Since we are now entering spooky season, it is prime time I finally read it. I’ll likely read this one after I finish The Foundation. I may watch the film as well once I read the book. I always hear good things about this story.

The Graveyard Book CoverAnother Neil Gaiman book I might finally read, since it was bought alongside Coraline and corresponds to the spooky season, is The Graveyard Book which I also hear great things about. These two came in a three-pack of Gaiman’s books as illustrated by Chris Riddell. The third is Unfortunately, The Milk which I may read because it is short and came alongside these other two. We will see.

Cloud Cuckoo Land book coverThough I may wait until after the books above, I am a bit excited to read Anthony Doerr’s new book Cloud Cuckoo Land which I picked up recently because my book purchasing habits way outperform my reading habits due to time constraints. Regardless, I loved Doerr’s previous novel All The Light We Cannot See which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It was my first, and so far only, work by Doerr I’ve read so I’m looking forward to this one. I will likely look for his other works as well.

These may occupy my reading for the remainder of the year since I still have one more class after the two I will wrap up after next week. I may find room for more, and of course I will be writing recommendations for each book if I like them and think you should check them out. Of course, I’m always interested to hear what you may be reading or looking forward to read. Feel free to send me a cover or a message either here or on Twitter at @YarberWrites.

Happy Reading.

A Note on Book Recommendations

I wanted to briefly talk about the book recommendations that I make on this blog. Believe it or not, I don’t recommend every book I read. I only recommend books that I really like, or books that I find do something really well, or I think there is value in reading them for whatever reason (I usually specify what it is in the recommendation of course). However, I understand that enjoying a book is typically very subjective.

I openly admit that I primarily enjoy science fiction and fantasy genres, but my interests are wide-ranging and my hope is that you discover something new through my recommendations that may become a favorite of yours. I’m sure I never adequately talk up a book or convey my own enthusiasm for it, but I hope my recommendations give enough about the story to intrigue you. I always provide a spoiler warning if I think I may be at risk of spoiling an important part of the story, and I try to avoid spoilers altogether as much as I can.

The primary reason I write book recommendations is simply to share my love of books. Perhaps I may also help broaden reading interests or expose someone to their new favorite author. That is something that can change a person’s life. I believe books, and the act of reading, are healthy. Books can be enjoyed by people of all ages and have profound affects on individual lives. I’ll admit that I was able to get myself out of a dark place by reading a book. I’ve read books that have made me rediscover the joys of life, and I’ve read books that have shown me the darker sides of humanity. Books have power. After all, they are filled with words.

This being said, I don’t write book recommendations to sway or promote or advertise. I write them for me, and perhaps for upcoming generations, or older ones, or maybe I wrote one specifically for you. All I can say is that I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to read them, or peruse the titles on my list, or even just scroll past a post. Regardless, I’ll be here continuing what I love to do, and I hope you do the same.

Happy Reading.