Book Reviews: Summer Reads Edition
(Image taken from www.harpercollins.com)
The team at Skidmore News is full of avid writers — but sometimes we take a break and pick up a book instead. The summer provided ample time for our writers to read, and now we have brought together our two passions to create a list of books that we love — and we hope you will too. Whether you like fantasy, experimental storytelling, or thriller, the Skidmore News writers have a recommendation for you.
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
By Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
In Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett give us the odysseys of four groups as they prepare for the apocalypse: a demon and an angel, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, a couple of Witchfinders, and, of course, an eleven-year-old boy named Adam and his friends. If you are not paying attention it can be hard to follow as the story flips between each of the groups, but the book is so captivating it is hard to not pay attention. Good Omens is not just any biblically inspired story—it is full of humorous twists and turns as an angel and a demon try to prevent the world they’ve grown accustomed to from ending.
Gaiman and Pratchett’s matter-of-fact writing style in this book allows their dry (and occasionally surreal) senses of humor to shine. Their humor combined with a story so engaging that you might not notice your surroundings for a few days (and not to mention the sheer number of hilarious footnotes) has made Good Omens one of the best books that I have read in while, perfect for anyone who is looking for a fantasy novel that will also make you laugh. Or, if you have watched the recent Amazon TV adaptation but have not read the book, give it a shot!
The Couple Next Door
By Shari Lapena Review
In Shari Lapena’s 2016 bestselling thriller The Couple Next Door, Newlyweds Marco and Anne are launched into every parent’s worst nightmare upon returning home from a dinner party with—you guessed it—the couple next door: their newborn’s crib is empty! But who took the baby? Could it be the clueless police? The skeptical detective? The wealthy parents? The charming and mischievous Couple Next Door?! You think you know until you realize you are only halfway through the book, which is probably a feeling similar to being a Guiding Light or All My Children fan in the 80s.
While I cannot deny that the Couple Next Door was a page turner, the main reason those pages were getting turned was to stop worrying about if the fictional baby was ok. Maybe I should have just done what I’ve done with so many cancelled-after-one-season Netflix Originals and read the Wikipedia plot summary.
Exercises in Style
By Raymond Queneau
I can think of few books as exceedingly unique as Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau. The book is based entirely off the same unremarkable story of a long-necked young man with a silly hat and an indignant personality, yet Queneau manages to make every iteration of this same story interesting by retelling it in 104 different ways. Of all the styles the author uses to both entertain and dumbfound readers, my personal favorites are “The Rainbow,” in which every sentence contains a color of the rainbow and “Ze Frrench,” in which every word is written so that the narrator sounds like a rather hyperbolic french-man. Despite my favoritism, each chapter makes a marked contribution to the book’s absurd soul. Even the first letter of each chapter’s title stands out, featuring people of various shapes and sizes letting it all hang out while doing goofy poses. If that’s not a selling point, I really don’t know what is. What I do know is that reading Exercises in Style is worth your time.