A part of me doesn’t want to continue this At The Mercy Of My Library reading challenge because something fantastic happened: I moved across the country. This means I no longer have that library. Does this mean I should still be at its mercy?

Moving is more stressful in the preparation of it than it is in the actual act of putting of boxes inside a new place. (Was that sentence even grammatically correct?) That’s why I flaked out for months. Months! I brought Michael Crichton’s novel (which I own) with me, intending to breeze through it when I wanted to feel more at home (which was and still is all the time). In between these two months came NaNoWriMo, which always messes up my reading.

I will most likely continue this challenge because it helps me feel better connected to home. Before leaving my home state, I copied down all the books I might have taken were continuing this challenge at my old library. (Yeah, I’m crazy like that.)

Enough ado. On to the challenge!

The rating system:
0/4 In the words of Homer Simpson, “AAH! Burn it! Send it to Hell!”
1/4 It was bad, but I’d still recommend it to people who don’t like books.
2/4 It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good enough for me to want to finish it.
3/4 It was good. I finished it.
4/4 It was fantastic!


The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

author: Chabon, Michael
title: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
year: 1988
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Dudes, I don’t even care! I’ve read Gentlemen of the Road twice (one time it was a comfort story while I had the flu) and loved it both times. I’m biased for this author based on only one of his books, but I have to tell you I’m exciiiiited!
pre-read impression: Hmm, there’s no summary. When there are only quotes of praise on the back AND inside of a novel, in my experience, it’s probably a crap novel. But we’ll find out when I read it.

LAST impression: It started out well, despite how I loathe stories about depressed grad students. (He was a grad student, right? English Lit, right? It really doesn’t matter.) I also loathe stories about depressed people whose sole purpose is to meet sparkly, unique people who get the main character into trouble. The protagonist goes along for the ride and doesn’t seem to have a say in his life, and we all know it’s because the protagonist is only a representation of the author himself and the only way the author COULD introduce the sparkly pixies was if he put himself in the book because he had no idea how to write for other characters without making himself the focus. (Phew!)

Sorry about the rant. I still like Michael Chabon and hope to read another of his books someday. It’s just… I’m pretty sure The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is the literary version of Garden State.

STARS: 2/4. I ended up skimming the last third to see how it ended. Once I learned how it ended, I was excited and still couldn’t bring myself to care.


Joe Victim (Cleaner, #2)

author: Cleave, Paul
title: Joe Victim
year: 2013
special sticker: none
guess the genre: Murder thriller.
pre-read impression: Psychological detective something, I don’t know, for some reason I want to hurry up and read this.

LAST impression: I couldn’t consume this fast enough. Cleave’s crisp writing, combined with the unreliable narrator, made me sit up. Physically, literally sit up. This isn’t a lazy story. The main character is a murderer who doesn’t believe he’s a murderer. Other character’s stories are told, as well, and they’re far more interesting, sometimes, than the protagonist. This is another book that’s split between first person and third person, which appears to be a wonderful device. I’m a fan of Paul Cleave now.

Although I’m not supposed to read sequels for this challenge, this book is actually a sequel to The Cleaner and I couldn’t tell sometimes. In the end, it didn’t matter; Joe Victim was pretty good on its own. I’m excited to read another of Cleave’s novels. It might not be The Cleaner, either. I need to see what he does with other characters, but I’m also intrigued to see how little Joe Victim got into this predicament.

STARS: 3/4. We have a 3! Glory be, we have a 3!


The Andromeda Strain

author: Crichton, Michael
title: Andromeda Strain
year: 1969
special sticker: none
guess the genre: The genre is Michael Crichton, LOL.
pre-read impression: We all love this guy, don’t we? I’ve never read anything by him, sadly. It’s about time I do this!

LAST impression: This novel took a while for me to love, unfortunately. The beginning promised a good book, and the end promised me that I’d just read a good book, but it took me two months to read this, damn it! It wasn’t because I was savoring the story or the writing. No. It was because all the cool graphs couldn’t quite spice up all the scientific- and government-speak. I find these languages dry and drying.

It seems tragic I don’t have much to say about this story. In fact, I’m wondering whether I want to read another Crichton novel at all. I might like the movie better. Or the mini-series.

STARS: 3/4. In the end, I think this was a good book. The thought of some minor bacteria on a spacecraft having huge mortal repercussions should be frightening for everyone. Also, the subject matter in comparison to the book’s publishing date is intriguing. I can see how Crichton carved himself a nice place in modern fiction.



Yeah, I think I’ll keep going with this challenge. I’m dreading the amount of disagreeable books I’ll have to work through, but what’s a challenge if you don’t, dur, challenge yourself?

I’m not even going to write my impressions of these two books. I have no hope. No hope at all! We’ll all be eaten alive by bacteria anyway!

Spellbound A Knight in Shining Armor