Tuesday, February 9, 2016

on my bookshelf: rainbow rowell


so, first, a confession:

i read books like other people drink iced tea. okay, no that's just my dad.

i read books like other people follow the news.

i read books like the French eat cheese.

i read books like the English drink tea. there that one works. i think. well, anyways, you get the idea.

i read a lot of books. i love reading. i love love love reading. i read basically everything, although my favorite genres are Literature (classic and contemporary) and YA. those might, to some people, seem to be too different to be rated right next to each other (or maybe not), but those are the books i read, and i'll probably be posting about (reviewing?) whatever i'm currently reading/loving/obsessing over. if you're interested. which you're probably not. but maybe.

so. what i'm reading now:

Rainbow Rowell (author)

i had to start with her, because even though i just read her for the first time last month, i have a giant writer's/reader's crush on her. she is fresh, real, visceral. i fall in love with each and every one of her main characters, which is an amazing thing to pull off, as a writer.

i actually thought about the first book i read (which i also happen to think is her best), Eleanor & Park, for a whole week after i read it. i'd still be thinking about it if i hadn't gone straight to the library to get all the rest of her books i could find immediately after it.

i'm almost afraid to pick anything else up now, because they were all so good. you know how when you eat something really amazing - like an amazing cheesecake maybe. or the best burger ever. and you're a little afraid to put anything else in your mouth afterwards (you are super picky about whatever it is, at least), because you don't want to lose that first taste? that's how reading rainbow rowell is to me.

but beyond the real, relatable, beautiful and flawed characters (and dialogue!) she writes, one of the reasons i love rainbow rowell is because her writing actually makes me want to write. sometimes you read something, and it's so good that you actually give up hope a little and you think, i might as well stop now before i make an idiot of myself because i'll never be able to do this. and sometimes you read something, and it's so good that you think, i have to do this. i have to do this too, right now!

i don't exactly know (or maybe i'm just too lazy to figure out right now) what lies between them to make the difference. but i know that rowell falls into the latter camp. and that makes me love her even more.

so, eleanor & park.

basically, this review says it all, and i'm not sure i can really add anything, but here's the cliff notes version of that review if you don't feel like reading it -- if you like reading about love, if you like young people, and if you want to read something that reminds you of what it's like to be young and in love, this book is for you.

here's a breakdown of eleanor & park:

1. characters -- 5 stars
2. story/plot -- 5 stars
3. writing (words) -- 5 stars*
* maybe you think this shouldn't get a full 5 stars, because the language isn't complicated and genius and abstract, etc. and you would be right. but, it's exact and scientific in a way that is also poetic and full of life, which is its own kind of genius. it is exactly the language this story needs. 
4. writing (feeling) -- 5 stars
5. stay with you factor -- 5 stars

= 25 enthusiastic stars

obviously this isn't a very scientific or professional review, and maybe i should create a better list of criteria for reviewing a book. i would still probably give this book full marks.

caution/advisory/caveat: i should also inform you that eleanor & park does have a lot of bad language, which will be off-putting to some. 

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