Boring Book Recommendation: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

15815333She recognized that that is how friendships begin: one person reveals a moment of strangeness, and the other person decides just to listen and not exploit it.

What is this book about?

Six kids meet each other at a summer camp for special creative kids and become a tight knit friend group. They decide to call themselves The Interestings because no one is as interesting and special as they are. During summer camp their perfect lives seem to last forever, but coming back to reality changes things quickly. Friends fall away and soon a much smaller group is left. The novel follows these characters from this first summer to the end of their lives.

Why is it boring?

Even though the book has some exciting bits, it’s mostly just about life. About how life can drag you down and how it can be fair or unfair. Wolitzer writes about these people and their lives without trying to make it seem better or flashier then it actually is. Sure some of them are rich and famous, but the heart of the story is Jules who is none of these things. What she is, is jealous and maybe not really that special, but isn’t that just what life is like for most?

Who would you recommend it to?

Although the book starts in the 1970’s and tells the story of that generation of teenagers, the book would also be very good for kids from the 90’s. The story is about teens growing up thinking they are special, but finding out that maybe all the encouragement to find their creativity wasn’t that helpful at all and now they find themselves completely disillusioned by life. Sound familiar Generation Y?

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

It’s just so honest about human emotions. These things are not pretty, but they are powerful and painful. The book is a joy to read. Wolitzer lets you follow these people like you are an actual part of the group. The friends find themselves intertwined after that first meeting and are still a part of each others lives well into their fifties. None of them are perfect, but they stick together anyways. Even though the book is long the writing is fun and light, never getting you bogged down in the heavy amount of pages. If you want to read what a long life does to a person without getting too depressed, this is an amazing book.

Rating: 4/5
If you want to read The Interestings you can order it here

Boring Book Recommendation: California by Edan Lepucki

18774020“… the girl who worked there accepted gold only, and not jewelry – it had to be melted down already.”

What is this book about?

Cal and Frida, a young couple from California, have fled the city to live a life of isolation. The cities are in ruin, devastated by a yet unknown threat and have created a post-apocalyptic or maybe just apocalyptic world. Life has become dangerous, modern life untenable and all Cal and Frida can do is stick together while facing the current wilderness of the state of California. After a while the loneliness is getting to Frida and with the belief that she is pregnant, they head out into the unknown forests in search of others.

Why is it boring?

The first part of the book is just Cal and Frida, two young kids trying to make it on their own. They do their chores, have a lot of sex and simply try to survive. Even though this sounds like the most boring part of the book, because the excitement should happen after they find a settlement and Frida’s long lost brother, but for me it was completely reversed. The first part is filled with mystery of why the world is in shambles and does a great job creating this familiar, but now scary world. The second part is more conventionally boring by explaining the past and thereby ruining the power of my imagination.

Who would you recommend it to?

Anyone who likes a good realistic dystopian novel.  Don’t expect any YA dystopia filled with action and mutated humans. This book is a drama, a serious story with a heavy focus on human emotion. Wilderness freaks and land-pirates should definitely pick this one up.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

I went into this book with high expectations which were immediately confirmed by the first part of the book. The great mystery that was set up of what had happened to the world and why Cal and Frida had decided to flee the city gave me hope that I was reading a grown-up version of the Adventure Time apocalypse. When things got explained it turned out my expectations were way off, the mystery of the end of the world wasn’t even really that much of a mystery. But the writing is solid and although it is easy to find Cal and Frida (especially Frida) annoying, you still care for them and any of the remaining survivors. It’s a great book if you want to delve deeper into human emotion and isolation, but if you are looking for an action packed novel, you really have to look further.

Rating 3,5/5
If you want to read California you can pre-order it here!

Boring Book Recommendation: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

10194157How would I have said goodbye to Mal anyway? Thanks for being my best friend and making my life bearable. Oh, and sorry I fell in love with you for a while there. Make sure to write!

What is this book about?

Imagine Durmstrang, the Russian school of Wizardry, but then more awesome, more powerful, more dangerous en much more glamorous and you might come close to explaining Shadow and Bone. The story is about Alina, an orphan peasant girl who is, just like everyone else in Ravka, part of the King’s army. The nation is at war and isn’t just scared of the other tribes, but also of the Shadow fold, a mysterious pitch black sea filled with monsters. When Alina finds out that she is part of the magical Grisha, a special branch of the army with magical abilities, she is swept away by their leader the Darkling and is hailed as the savior with her unique ability to summon the sun.

Why is it boring?

Oh god, is it yet another trilogy about magical young adults? Is there yet again a love triangle between two hunky guys and a girl who thinks of herself as plain and ugly? Will the main character of this book turn out to be the most special and powerful Grisha yet to come? YES, YES! All of that is true, but is that really such a bad thing?

Who would you recommend it to?

Lovers of anything magical, Young Adulty and hunky bad guys. The world building in the Grisha trilogy is insane. If I could wish to transfer myself to a different fictional universe, I would have a hard time choosing between Harry Potter’s magical London and Ravka. And although it is a young adult novel, don’t expect whiny teens and uncomfortable first sexual encounters. All the characters are tough as nails as whining as a Grisha will get you cut in half. Oh and those hunky bad guys I was talking about? The book is filled with them, but no one can beat the Darkling.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

A magical story to rival Harry Potter isn’t enough for you? Well Alina is an awesome heroine, being much more snarky then any other character in YA history. The love triangle isn’t annoying, which is a feat in itself. Mal, one of the corners of the triangle, gets to tell you romantic lines that rival Augustus Waters and will make you weak in the knees. But besides the book being a love story, it is also about power and greed and the story does not waste any time before throwing you down into the darkness of the Shadow Fold and releasing scary Volcra on all of the characters. However, I can’t stress enough that this book contains a character called the Darkling who is hunky and dangerous and scary and awesome and should be plenty of reason for you to pick up this book.

Rating 4/5
If you want to read Shadow & Bone you can order it here!

Join the Goodreads group to (re-) read the first two books of the Grisha Trilogy, just in time before the final installment will be published!

Boring Book Recommendation: My Biggest Lie by Luke Brown

19254123

What is this book about?
The book is about an editor who loses everything one day. He gets dumped by his girlfriend and ‘kills’ a newly made friend and established writer (whilst doing a lot of drugs) on the same day. He then decides to hop on a plane to Argentina to escape everything and write the novel he always wanted to write. In Buenos Aires he meets an old friend and her jealous boyfriend. When -again- he is on the verge of losing everything, something happens that changes everything.

Why is it boring?
This book starts with a bang. Break-up, death, drugs, but then the writer takes it slow. The main character is lost in translation in Buenos Aires trying to create a novel and a new life. He takes Spanish classes and in the mean time he takes a lot of drugs and does some really stupid things. So it’s not really boring but the main character isn’t an interesting person at all. He’s a loser that cries a lot and is losing the grip on his live. But that makes it pretty fun to read actually.

Who would you recommend it to?
People with an interest in the book business. The book is about an editor and gives a tiny view of how the book business works. Also people with a broken heart. It’s all about losing the one you love and trying to get her back.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!
Yeah, why would you? This is why! It’s a well written story about a man full of regret and self pity.
It’s a funny read and the book gets exciting at the end. There are some good unexpected twists involved, which I can’t tell you anything about. So buy it and find out on your own!

Rating: 3/5

Written by Charlotte de Heer.
Book provided by American Book Center‘s You Review.
Do you also want to write boring book recommendations? Send us an email at boredtodeathbookclub@gmail.com!

 

Boring Book Recommendation: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

2113260“I don’t need you to agree with me,” she said quietly.” I’ll go away happy with a little bit of doubt. Doubt is good. It’s an emotion we can build on. Perhaps if we feed it with curiosity it will blossom into something useful, like suspicion – and action.”

What is this book about?

Shades of Grey describes what society and social order would be like if this was all arranged on color. The people in the society can all see only one color and what color this is, determines your standing in the world. Do you just see shades of grey, then you are at the very bottom (oh god, so many Fifty Shades of Gray jokes possible here) and if you can see violet you are at the top. The entire world and your entire life will be based on the color in which you see the world. We follow Eddie Russet, a low-level red with small ambitions. But then he falls in love with Jane, a grey Nightseer who opens up his world and shows how messed up this colortocracy actually is.

Why is it boring?

Are you really looking forward to another dystopian story, but now based on colors? Haven’t we had enough of the plucky heroin who comes from a poor background, showing the rich boy what life is actually like? Do we really need to overthrow another government?!

Who would you recommend it to?

Anyone! My writing did not prepare you for this at all, did it? I might have to take my enthusiasm back a notch. This book is not for people who don’t like to laugh while reading and it is definitely not for people who can’t get over the fact that entire world turned some kind of colorblind. So if you are a too realistic bore, this is not the book for you, otherwise I think you will love it!

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

Shades of Grey is written by Jasper Fforde who also wrote the brilliant Thursday Next series. However, this novel is even better then anything he ever wrote before and I can’t exactly explain why that is. His humor is as good as it always is and his world building is phenomenal, but there is something special about Shades of Grey that makes it special-er than all those other books. It deals with social status and the difference between classes and is serious about this, but it goes around explaining the problems with such good fun that it never gets bogged down. The small hints at what has come before the world as they know it is on par with the storytelling of Adventure Time and makes you want to know more. The characters are lovable without being too perfect and their adventure is fun and scary without being unbelievable. Fforde just hits the exact right spot with everything he tries in this novel and succeeds perfectly!

Rating 5/5
If you want to read Shades of Grey you can order it here!

 

Boring Book Recommendation: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

15790842“Why is everything an ‘adventure’ with you?” Sylvie said irritably to Izzie. Because life is an adventure, of course. I would say it was more of an endurance race, Sylvie said. Or an obstacle course.”

What is this book about?

Ursula Todd is the seemingly unremarkable daughter of a wealthy English Family living in the wonderfully named house Fox Corner. At the same time Ursula dies in childbirth, not even being able to embark on this life. At yet another time Ursula does live, but drowns at the beach when she’s just a little girl. But how can that be if she, at the immediate start of the book, tries to shoot Hitler? Oh yes, this is one of those books with multiple possible story lines. Ursula has the chance to do redo her life, over and over and over, trying to get it right.

Why is it boring?

I like a good science fiction premise, but it’s not like we’ve never heard of this idea before. Someone has the ability to do over once’s life after dying, making death not the inevitable end. And why did Ursula have to go after Hitler? I’m not sure there is a more cliched idea than ‘What if someone killed Hitler before he could do all these terrible things?’. I was about ready to dismiss this book immediately after those first lines, but fortunately Atkinson doesn’t really delve into this possible world that much. She even sets up the story in such a way it sort of makes ‘sense’ for Ursula to kill Hitler and that’s quite an accomplishment.

Who would you recommend it to?

If you always wonder about the darkest timeline this book will indulge you in your lunatic rantings. Life After Life shows the consequences of small changes and how life’s major moments might not be yours to change. It is also a great read for lovers of all things English. The book is so British you can smell the tea on the pages. Ursula’s family is portrayed as a magnificent stiff English, but wealthy family with the odd black sheep thrown in. Reading it made me wish I grew up in the English countryside in a house that is visited by foxes, holds antique furniture and  many adorable siblings.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

It might not be the most unique story, but it’s a delight to read and with plenty of new additions to still make it feel special. Ursula and her family are all lovely characters who you just want to spend more time with. It was very interesting how all the side characters were at least equally intriguing as Ursula, who herself is a pretty awesome lead for the book. Atkinson tries to stay away from all the ‘Butterfly-effect’ cliches – with the exception of Hitler – and tells a rather small story about an English girl who makes mistakes throughout her different lives. I liked how Ursula wasn’t that aware of her reincarnation possibilities, or at least didn’t use it as a special power. Every life she lived she treated as her only life, living it out until it was no longer possible.
The story of Life After Life is emotional and kind, but unfortunately it also felt a bit disjointed. There were too many possibilities, too many lives for Ursula to live and Atkinson wanted to tell them all. Which I get, because they all have their own perfect details and stories, but as a novel there was too much going on for it to make a whole.

Rating 3,5/5
If you want to read Life After Life you can order it here!

This Boring Book Recommendation is unofficially brought to you by The Morning News Tournament of Books in which Life After Life is one of the contenders. If you wanna see how the book fared in the Tournament against The People in the Trees after beating Woke up Lonely, you can read what John Green has to say about it.

Boring Book Recommendation: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

17333230“Never underestimate how extraordinarily difficult it is to understand a situation from another person’s point of view.”

What is this book about?

Catton tells the story of 12 men meeting in a local tavern in New Zealand in 1866 to discuss the disappearance of a young and prosperous gold digger and the two woman connecting all of them. A Melvillian murder-mystery!

Why is it boring?

It can get a bit too Melvillian. The story is over 800 pages long and although it makes sense to write a big book if you have about 15 main characters, after a while you just have enough. The flowery language is also not a great way to draw you in. It should have a beware notice on the front for extremely long descriptions of people and places and events.

Who would you recommend it to?

Literary prize junkies, historic novel lovers and readers with a penchant for long chapter titles and astrology. Eleanor Catton is the youngest person (not just woman!) to ever win the Man Booker Prize, which already guarantees you you won’t be reading a terrible book. If you like reading the prize winners so you can talk about it with your book club, this is definitely one for you.
Besides being well-liked by a jury, the book is also a very interesting insight into 19th century New Zealand and the gold rush in general. The Luminaries is a detailed, fictionalized history of that time which makes it an excellent historic novel! And although some might find it a gimmick, every part of the book is part of an astrological system, complete with drawn star-charts and influences the zodiac might have on the characters. Then every chapter title is about as long as the chapter itself, especially near the ending, with lovely examples like: “In which the chemist goes in search of opium; we meet Anna Wetherell at last; Pritchard becomes inpatient; and two shots are fired.”. Although I love the explainy titles, I can totally imagine it feeling tedious.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

It’s still a murder mystery! The book tells a tale about stolen identities, the gold fields, family revenge, a seance, star-crossed lovers and romanticized opium dens. It has plenty of interesting characters and story lines, but that might be its downfall. The story is long, but exciting and the descriptions are long, but well-written. It also has one of those endings that seems to go on forever. The story is wrapped up neatly, but Catton feels the need to keep on rearranging the bow on top until it is absolutely perfect. The ending is overworked and I would have liked the book much better if it had quit about 200 pages earlier. It is by no means a bad book, but it is one of those books you have to really want to finish, otherwise you will too easily put it aside for something lighter.

Rating 3/5

This Boring Book Recommendation is unofficially brought to you by The Morning News Tournament of Books in which The Luminaries is one of the contenders. If you wanna see how to book fared in the Tournament against Hill William, the indie underdog, read the very controversial ruling by Rachel Fershleiser.