September Reads Recap: John Dies at the End is Fucked Up

September Reads Recap: John Dies at the End is Fucked Up


Reading recaps are mini-reviews of the books I’ve read each month.

Pick of the Month: A Walk in the Woods

“A Walk in the Woods” is the first Bill Bryson book I’ve read. I’ve been recommended several of his books over the past few years so I was really looking forward to reading this. I was not disappointed. Although this is a memoir about a life-changing experience, Bryson’s humor and honesty keep it feeling light and relate-able. He is exceptionally skilled at relaying the experience in a realistic way.

He doesn’t only describe the setting but also his feelings in such a direct manner. I have zero experience hiking long distances but was able to understand his experience (as much as possible without actually doing the work).

Spoiler! Although he decided not to hike the Appalachian Trail in completion, he never explained this defensively. As a reader, I appreciate that attitude. It made it feel like he was writing just to write and not for reader’s expectations.

The story is about his experience with the trail plus trail facts interwoven through his personal narrative. Some of the tidbits go a bit deep into the organizational structure of the National Parks Association. The history portions were my favorite. I enjoyed reading a mix of personal story on hiking the trail plus history about the trail itself. There is a good balance of the two and neither are dependent on each other.

This is an enjoyable read for people who like humor, memoirs, nature, or history.

Author: Bill Bryson
Genre: Memoir
Source: NYPL
Rating: 4/5
Summary: Personal memoir + history lesson on hiking the Appalachian Trail

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

This was another first-time author for me and will most likely stay that way. I enjoyed Dark Places to the point that I tore through it because I really really really wanted to find out the killer(s).

Although the characters weren’t likable, the storytelling was done very well. No spoilers! The story switches back and forth between the past and the present. The past storyline chronicles the day of the murders from multiple character’s perspective. I honestly would have rather just read that story without any of the present-day investigation. But all in all the combination of both worked.

I can recommend this if you’re interested in murder thrillers based around highschoolers and selfish characters. The story was fun to read over a weekend but I don’t plan on reading another Flynn novel.

Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Murder
Source: Own (Thanks @fierian)
Rating: 3/5
Summary: A little girl’s family was slaughtered by her brother. Maybe.

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

I first heard of Oliver Sacks last year when “Hallucinations” came out. That was fun but got a little bit bogged down in the middle. But it was a light read considering the material.

“The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat” was quite different. The neurology-speak was much heavier. While the studies themselves were interesting and I did want to hear more details, some of the technical explanations went right over my head. I felt this book wasn’t written for general audiences.

His writing is top natch and the material is extremely interesting if you’re interested in the topic. At the very least, it never fails to amaze me just how often our brains sabotage us.

Author: Oliver Sacks
Genre: Neurology Non-Fiction
Source: NYPL
Rating: 3/5
Summary: Nuerological case studies featuring selective amnesia and perception.

The Woman who Dies A Lot by Jasper Fforde

After reading “Shades of Grey” last year by Fforde, I hungrily read more by him. His humor is a perfect blend of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. The world he created with Shades of Grey and Nursery Crimes is unique, elaborate, and engaging. I’ve been wanting to read more by him for a while.

When hunting for a new book in the library, I was happy to stumble upon The Woman Who Dies A Lot – part of his Thursday Next series.

I couldn’t finish the book. It didn’t pass my 100-page test.

This is the first world by Fforde that I just couldn’t get into. Maybe it would have made sense if I read other books in the series. Maybe things would have been explained later on in the story. Either way, within the first 100-pages I just couldn’t understand what was happening, what had happened, or why I was supposed to care.

I still highly recommend “Shades of Grey” and Fforde as an author and might try to finish this one later on.

Author: Jasper Fforde
Genre: Fantasy
Source: NYPL
Rating: n/a
Summary: There’s a woman. And she dies a lot. If anything else happens, I’m not aware of it.

John Dies at the End by David Wong

As I said last week, this book is weird.

It began as a website, then was published as a book, then turned into a movie. Good for David Wong.

The book is out there, crazy, ridiculous, stupid for the sake of being stupid, insane, boundary crossing, gives no fucks – yet somehow stay together. A story that you should hate, but don’t. There were definitely times I rolled my eyes, but kept reading.

None of it made sense, the reader is confused the entire time, but it’s an enjoyable ride. Read this if you like the weirdest of the weird.

Author: David Wong
Genre: Fantasy/Weird Shit
Source: NYPL
Rating: 3/5
Summary: This book is fucked up.


2 Replies to “September Reads Recap: John Dies at the End is Fucked Up”

  1. Oh funny coincidence. Z and I were talking about books yesterday and he said “Oh, you’d like Jasper Fforde, I bet. He’s like a cross between Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett!”

    So I’ve just bought The Eyre Affair and it’ll be next on my reading list, once I finish my Stephen King binge.

    1. Yay! I haven’t read that one but have heard good things about it. I really love his writing and the world’s he creates. Excited to hear what you think of it!

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