During my rare moments free from college schoolwork, I like to read. Usually fiction, but I’m trying to expand my voluntary reading interests by trying books from different sections of the library (yes, I’m one of those people). I think in this day and age people forget about the library due to the internet providing everything that people once had to visit the library to obtain, but there’s another strange thing happening that I think is just crazy. Young(er) people, from grade school to college peers, BUY books at bookstores. WHY? A girl I watched over the last few summers wouldn’t even entertain the idea of going to the library, but spent over $20 on a randomly selected book at Barnes and Noble, which she will probably never finish, definitely not reread. My city, Columbus, Ohio, has one of (and usually THE) best public library system in the nation. They always have the book I’m searching for, with easy online resources. If there is no other public service I can provide, it’s VISIT THE LIBRARY! It’s free! Even late fees (that I tend to rack up) are only 10 cents per item per day. And no clutter, which is essential for anyone my age or younger — you will be moving, a lot. Why fill heavy boxes with costly books when the library will hold them for you?
Anyway, back on track… this first book, Freakonomics, is a unique perspective on current phenomena we experience in our world. Nonfiction writing uses the foundations of economic theories to explain why things happen the way they do. It might sound boring if you’ve never learned about econ, but it thrives on the basis that money drives everything; this book expands “money” to “incentives”, saying people are motivated by incentives, and pinpointing those drivers will predict behavior. The connections the Stevens make are pretty interesting, and they write in a somewhat casual manner to ease the understanding of the concepts. In all honesty, I only got through 2/5 sections, because I couldn’t rack up any more late fees and the book is so popular I couldn’t renew. There’s actually a class provided at Ohio State centered around this book, but unfortunately it didn’t fit my schedule. If you like business/econ, or think you might, this book is a great way to relate theories back to normal life in a fun way.
I actually just finished Across the Universe yesterday. It’s an easy read, about 350 pages, with a sci-fi setting. Amy is frozen for 300 years and sent on a spaceship headed to a new Earth-planet; however, she is woken up early, and finds there is more going on that may threaten the mission. The futuristic world the author creates is interesting, but there is a lot of buildup that falls flat the the end of the book. I chose this read after hearing recommendations online, but I was very disappointed with how it ended. You get no resolution to the conflict, and the success/failure of the mission, aka the whole point of the story, is never revealed. There is a secret revealed in the last few pages, and then it’s over. Unless there will be a sequel, I’m highly disappointed in the story’s “conclusion”, if you can even call it that much. I would not recommend this read, because I believe there are much better, more thorough sci-fi/futuristic worlds other authors have created with complete plot lines.
Out with the bad, in with the good! Room was my favorite book of the list. A fictitious young woman was kidnapped and has been locked in a shed for five years. She had a son, Jack, in the room; he is now 3 (ish? Can’t remember) and has no idea that there is a world beyond “Room”. The prose is written wonderfully from Jack’s point of view. His whole life is this small shed, with “Mama” and “table” and “fork” for friends. It’s heartbreaking, but amazing, to be able to understand the way he processes his emotions, specifically the shock of new experiences that we (free) people wouldn’t think twice about. It’s a little disturbing at times, since the premise of the story is kidnap and rape, but the bond between this mom and son is like nothing from our world. It’s a beautiful, emotional story that changed me after reading. I highly recommend it to anyone — it’s a great, easy read that will really make you appreciate your good fortune, no matter how small.
So go to the library and read people! There are so many gems and worlds to be found in there. It’s nice to take a break from our lives, especially the superficial, totally screwed up internet that has become modern reality.
Does anyone have any good reads for me? I’m always searching for new books during school breaks. More reviews to come!