While I like to consider myself a "jane of all genres", I have often been diagnosed as a great reader of adventures and comedy.
However, this past week I found myself keeping company with two VERY heavy, emotional and deeply saddening works of fiction. This was unusual for me not because the books were sad (call me a cold-hearted bitch but I really do enjoy a good unhappy ending), but because I will rarely follow a heavy, emotional book with a second book of the same nature. I typically like to break them up and intersperse some lighthearted children's works or maybe a cute graphic novel in between these emotional heavyweights. Just for the sake of my emotional health, and my supply of tissue.
But without further ado, I present the two reviews. The first is a classic of Russian fiction and criticism of Stalinist repression; the second is a work of YA fiction that forces the reader to confront their deepest fears.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Having read Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking triology, I also had expectations when approaching A Monster Calls, which I had been meaning to read for a very long time. A Monster Calls is just so incredibly different from Ness' other work, I quickly disregarded what I remembered from those books and looked on this one with fresh eyes. In this disturbing teen read, a 13-year-old boy is visited by a monster which forces him to confront the disturbing realities of his life. And I can't tell you anymore than that without completely spoiling the book, which I wouldn't want to do because EVERYONE should read it. Books don't often make me cry, but this one had me darn close at the end. The writing is lyrical even though it is told from a 13-year-old perspective, and the accompanying illustrations are perfectly suited to the tone of the story. The story is simultaneously beautiful and horrifying, it is truly a unique work of fiction which conquers very difficult subject matter without being trite or melodramatic. The message of the story is incredible, and I very honestly would recommend this book to anyone who is capable of feeling feelings, because A Monster Calls will make you have so many of them.
So after all that strenuous emotional reading, what am I reading now? I'm working on some non-fiction reads on information consumption for an online course I'm taking. Talk about switching gears!
Ciao for now.