This is quite a hodge-podge of titles but all were purchases and I don't feel like dedicating an entire page to any of them, even though I enjoyed them all.
I purchased The English: A Field Guide by Matt Rudd when I got to Victoria Station in London and realized I didn't have any reading material for the train trip to Dover. Unacceptable! Must have reading material! So, I grabbed The English and, since it was one of the "Buy 1, Get 1 Half Price" books and so was The 5th Wave, I threw in the Yancey book for good measure.
The English is sarcastic fun, a book that observes and pokes fun at English habits and attitudes in the kitchen and garden, on the sofa, in the office, on the commuter train. It talks about pubs and clubs and shops, sporting events, the motorway, the beach and even the bedroom.
I love the cover blurb:
"An opportunity for the English to laugh at themselves and to show everyone else how mad and brilliant we are."
Spot on, Jeremy. Except the problem with the rest of us is that some of that lingo doesn't translate. I could have used a British English dictionary. Y'all do love your slang in the UK. But, I made sense of most of The English and it made the train trip out to Dover go quickly.
On the way back, I didn't get to read because I was distracted by the adventurers across the aisle. One fellow kept showing the others photos of the time he had to dig himself out of a snow cave and talked about how difficult it was to pull himself up out of a crevasse. But, at least his team had practiced for possible falls into crevasses by building a climbing area in the local garage. You so wish you could have eavesdropped with me, don't you?
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey was on my wish list because my friend Tammy gushed about it and it's getting very positive reviews.
An alien invasion has wiped out most of the Earth's population in 4 separate waves. Cassie has been alone for a while, living in the woods with occasional runs into town for food and water, knowing that even if there are any remaining humans it will be almost impossible for her to know who is human and who is not. She must stay alone and trust no one. But, how long can that last?
Private Zombie is being trained with a team of children. Nugget, the smallest, is so little he can't become an officer for another two years after training. Zombie likes little Nugget and feels protective of him. When the team is sent out on its first mission, they discover something sinister and realize the 5th Wave they've been waiting for has already begun. Zombie realizes he must go back for Nugget.
I love dystopian and apocalyptic books (aliens or otherwise), so it's only natural that I expected to enjoy The 5th Wave. And, I did. I liked the fact that the author tried to turn the whole alien-invasion concept on its head with references to movies and books in which, says the narrator, everyone got it wrong because there's no scattered group of humans that will band up to save the day. I guess we'll find out if that's the truth in the next book. The 5th Wave stands alone and is comfortably wrapped up, but it will still have you bouncing in your seat like popcorn, wishing you could get your mitts on the next book. Assuming you like that kind of thing. It's not great literature, but The 5th Wave is very well-written, stunningly plotted, action-packed, scary fun. I loved it.
Speaking of great literature, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is right up there. I've actually attempted to read it twice and couldn't get into it. There was something about the intro that threw me. But, the third time I had no problem. I haven't been able to find my elderly copy of Gatsby, so I wandered into a bookstore in Uxbridge (again, in the Greater London area) after we hiked out to the Battle of Britain Bunker. My feet needed a break, so I let the guys wander off to Sainsbury's without me and sat happily reading and swinging my feet on a nearby park bench.
All of that goes to say, this time around The Great Gatsby really grabbed me and, even though it's tragic and I adore sweetness and light, I loved it. I'm pretty sure everyone on the planet knows what it's about so I won't bother going into that. What I will say is that when I closed the book, I wanted to talk about it. I didn't love it as much as my first Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise, but I was still astounded by Fitzgerald's mastery of the language and the way the narrator, Nick Carraway, made me see a tragic affair and overblown desperation as a story with more heart at its core than I'd have expected.
At any rate, I'm glad I bought a second copy if only because the print is much larger than my older one. I like the cover, too, because glancing at the costumes helped me visualize the opulence. The Great Gatsby display in the Harrods' windows might have helped, too, but Husband kept dragging me down Sloane Street to get home, at night, instead of past Harrods. So it wasn't till our last evening that I finally managed to photograph those cool costumes.
This one rotated:
Bottom line: Thumbs up to The Great Gatsby, loved living through the alien invasion in The 5th Wave, and the English, as described in The English, are indeed mad and brilliant. I really enjoyed my vacation reading and highly recommend all three!
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