So, it's no surprise to us that our bookworm "series" has become our monthly favorite post to write and we were so happy when we introduced it three months ago and we had readers that were card carrying bibliophiles like we are. We read all month and try to decide which 4 books we'll share with y'all on the blog, which ones you'll like best, etc. and we absolutely love hearing what you're currently reading and all the recommendations we get in the comment section, so keep those comin' (we've read several, a couple of which are included in this post). Seeing as our favorite genre is fiction, we stuck with that this month and chose a couple writers you've probably heard of, and a couple you might not have!
The plot in this book is helped along in equal parts by Old Knowledge (books) vs. Internet Knowledge and just when you think technology will win it all, to solve everything, the book throws a twist. There are so many quotable lines in this book. Mr Penumbra's is a tale of conspiracy, puzzles, a secret society and the promise of eternal life—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore and Google HQ.
“After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this: A man walking fast down a dark lonely street. Quick steps and hard breathing, all wonder and need. A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.”
Big Egos by S. G. Browne - S. G. Browne is one of my favorite writers so I knew I was going to read this book regardless of what it was about. But, this book included a few of my other interests like RPG's and psychology. The narrator works for Engineering Genetics Organization and Systems (EGOS). EGOS sells DNA cocktails (there are 3,000+ available) that will temporarily allow the user to become someone else. Anyone who can afford one can become a famous fictional character, historical figure or dead celebrity for 6-8 hours... why not be Marilyn Monroe or Indiana Jones for the night? It's basically a real life role playing game... put down your Final Fantasy!
Everything is going really well for the narrator... until he starts noticing some side effects from his EGO-use. He's losing large periods of time and people at the EGO parties he's attending seem to be dropping like flies. Is it because they're using Black Market EGOS or is something else awry? I have to say, the author really did his research on EVERY SINGLE EGO he chose to feature in this book, I was laughing particularly hard when the narrator dosed up on my favorite Catcher in the Rye anti-hero, Holden Caulfield, and everyone was suddenly a "phony". I think you guys will LOVE this book. Browne is incredibly sarcastic... but in a charming way. I'll end with this scene there's a deceased authors party in LA and...
Bram Stoker hits things off with Mary Shelley while J.R.R. Tolkien is the Dungeon Master in a game with Ray Bradbury and H.G. Wells. Lewis Carroll and C.S. Lewis dare each other to climb into a wardrobe while William Goulding runs around holding a conch and yelling. All the while Herman Melville and Leo Tolstoy are holed up in a study, snorting cocaine and making fun of Phillip K. Dick.
Eleanor and Park has a natural progression to it that I feel like many other novels lack. I read this book over a day, and I seriously struggled to put it down.
The novel follows the title characters Eleanor, a chubby redhead who has an eclectic sense of style and who has experienced life well beyond her years, and Park, a biracial boy who has a love for comic books and good music. The entire time I read the novel I thought about how I would have fallen completely for a guy like Park when I was younger. I mean, what is not to love about someone who makes you mix tapes with The Smiths on them and lets your read their X-Men comics? Although there are plenty of cute and funny parts of the novel a lot of the novel is extremely emotional and deals with issues like poverty, abuse, body image, neglect and bullying.
Eleanor and Park is a quick read, but it will linger with you. So if you’re ready to have some emotions then I definitely recommend Eleanor and Park..just know it's not your average YA novel.
Also, the ending really pissed me off…so be prepared to not be happy.
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer - I was super late to the game with my love for Everything is Illuminated. The novel came out in 2002, but I didn’t read it until my first year of college in 2009. Also, I’m sorry that I have this creepy cover that has Elijah Wood’s face on it. He stars in the movie adaptation…which I’ve never seen.
Everything is Illuminated follows Jonathan Safran Foer on a journey to Ukraine to find the women who saved his grandfather’s life when the Nazi’s cleared out the area. Jonathan is not alone on his journey he has his cigarettes and pictures, Alex, Alex’s grandfather and the deranged seeing-eye bitch Sammy Davis Jr., Jr.. Also, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. is the best character name in any book ever.
It is a fragmented story told through letters and multiple narrators. It is narrated by both Jonathan and Alex, and since Alex is not a native English speaker his broken English adds humor to the novel and also a lack of clarity. The other part of the novel is comprised of letters from Alex to Jonathan. One thing I would emphasize is don’t start the novel thinking that it’s some kind of historical bore—you get to read about Jonathan’s grandfather who has a reputation for being good in bed, which I’m sure is definitely need to know information for Jonathan.
The novel is a work of fiction that feels like non-fiction and reads like a narrative, which is what truly makes it so interesting. If you’re a fan of satire and historical themes then Everything is Illuminated should definitely be on your “to-read” list.
Pottermore's Keepin' Potter Alive
June: I waited days to read this little column because I wanted to pick the right time to launch myself back into the Wizarding World, even though I knew it would take me less than 5 minutes to read. I curled up on my couch with a cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee and read it. I teared up a little while reading it... because I have issues haha. When you're involved in a fandom like Harry Potter, where technically the books are "over" (they're never over) it's nice to see every once in a while, that Good 'Ol J.K. (June, I love you because you quote Doctor Who while talking about Harry Potter. -Amelia) is sitting around thinking about them too, wants to keep them alive and "picks up a pen" and writes about them again. I love both books she's writen under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, but nothing is Harry Potter.
Amelia: The day this column was posted I FREAKED out. So much so that I totally texted June at 6 a.m. her time telling her about how excited I was. I've never left the world that Jo created, and this story made me feel justified in my continued obsession with Harry Potter. The article contained information that I already knew about (because of interviews), but to read Jo write about her Wizarding World was just so amazing and it was a completely different experience! Plus, I know I can't be the only person hoping that she'll write another novel about Harry and his universe.
Next Month on Junebugs go Bookworm
Rocket Boys: A Memoir by Homer H. Hickman, Jr. | Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
// We thought we'd try something different and share what we'd be featuring next month, in case y'all want to read along, so we can discuss in the comments section. You can find us on Goodreads, June and Amelia.
//What are you currently reading? Have any recommendations? Have you read any of these books, what did you think?