Sarah the Book Owl - Chapter 3

It's been a while since I updated the blogging world with what I've been reading. I only have one excuse for this: Shantaram. But I'll talk more about that later.

So yes, another installment of 'Sarah the Book Owl' (formerly 'Sarah Reads Books' until my cousin came up with this better name). I mean, why didn't I think of this in the first place? It's so obvious and adorable. Props to the wonderful mind of my cousin.

Now, onto the books! The last three books I read were:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

Onto the reviews!

Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts (2003)
click here.
I started this book on the 16th ...... of June. At almost 1000 pages and with super small print, this is the longest book I have ever read. And one of the best. Roberts uses the most vivid imagery of any author I have ever encountered. He makes everything, even horrible things like death, seem beautiful. This book makes me want to pack up and move to India. He even had the ability to make the slums sound like a magical, wonderful place. Which, to him, they were. I adore this book, and I think part of the reason it took me so long to read was that I didn't want to be done reading it. This book means a lot to me and went with me on many of my summer adventures. Upon reading the last page, I was filled with many emotions, mostly an overwhelming sense of awe. As hard as it is to no longer be reading this book, I'm now onto bigger and better books, and by that I mean smaller and hopefully equally as good. But definitely smaller.
Pages: 933
★★★★★ (5/5)
Recommendation: I recommend this book to anyone who loves books about travel and adventure. I wish I could get many people to read this book, but I fear I won't be able to because of it's length. Don't be afraid! It's worth it!

Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins (2010)
click here.
Review: Before I start this review, I want to say two things: 1) This book is horribly named and 2) This book has a horrible cover (the softcover, pictured above, is a step up from the hardback - trust me).

Ok, now that that’s out of the way – do not base reading this book off the cover or name. I put it off for so long because I thought it sounded like a hokey love story that would follow a boring and predictable narrative arc, comparable to a Nicholas Sparks novel.

It wasn’t.

This book was I-couldn’t-put-it-down-and-had-to-keep-reading-into-the-wee-hours-of-the-night good. It was romantic and charming. The characters were well developed and the story was believable. I was rooting for both Anna, our protagonist, and Étienne St. Clair, her love interest, to realize their love for each other and accept it. It took them a while, but I thought the pacing was brilliant. It kept me on the edge of my bed.

I also thought the minor characters, Meredith, Rashmi and Josh, were important parts to the story, unlike so many minor characters in other books. I liked that they were step up to possibly be in future books (I hear Josh is in the third companion novel by Stephanie Perkins).

This book, albeit oddly named and even more oddly bound, was awesome. It was a perfect YA love story, one that I can say I dreamed of in my teenage years. I can’t wait to read the second companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door. Ahhh, love stories. Ya gotta love ‘em.

Pages: 372
★★★★★ (5/5)
Recommendation: I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates that teenagers love just as deeply as adults.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman (2013)
click here.
If I could describe this book in two words, they would be: peculiar and captivating. This was my first Neil Gaiman novel, and I quickly became enamored with his style of writing and voice. I have a funny suspicion that Gaiman himself is both peculiar and captivating – thus it reflects in his writing.

Here is a list of things I found peculiar and captivating about this novel:

  1. The protagonist doesn’t have a name. And I only realized upon completing the book. I have to say, I like this choice of having a nameless narrator, especially when his name wasn’t important at all.

  2. Throughout the book, the narrator explains how adults and children differ. One of my favorite quotes is, “Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundred of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.” However, he is an adult telling the story. And mentions later on that there really are no adults in the world. Which I find to be exceptionally true.

  3. The events of the book all happen over the course of one day. I usually am not a huge fan of 24-hour stories, but this one made it work.

  4. There is a nanny in the book called Ursula. She is positively horrible. Makes me wonder if it’s a reference to The Little Mermaid, a childhood classic.

And the thing I find most peculiar and most captivating goes along with the idea of children and adults differing. I found myself not quite understand everything going on in this book. But I don’t think I was supposed to. As an adult, I think some of the elements, things children could understand easily and without question, were meant to challenge my thinking. I don’t know if Neil Gaiman meant to write his story this way, but I loved it regardless.

Pages: 178
☆ (4/5)Recommendation: I recommend this book to anyone who needs a reminder that we never really grow up.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Any books you’ve read lately that you’re dying to talk about? Please share in the comments. I ADORE book recommendations. (I've been on a YA kick lately, if that helps.)

For more of my (mini) book reviews click here and here.


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Oh, hello!
We're Sarah and Kaitlyn, roommates from Milwaukee who started this blog to promote creativity and life.
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