Back in May, I wrote about my first fail in the Buzzwordathon Readathon. Because the book I selected, The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman, put me in a “reading slump”, I didn’t finish it within the month. When I read A Horse Called Holiday by Frances Wilbur, I was able to get back on track with my Buzzwordathon goals. So, for September, I thought I received a second chance to read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Unfortunately, this book took me longer than a month to read. This also derailed my Buzzwordathon reading plans for October and November. However, I did recently complete all three books I planned to read for these aforementioned months. Unlike my other Buzzwordathon reviews, I will be writing shorter reviews for each novel.
Title: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Theme: Light & Dark
As I said in the introduction, it took me longer than a month to read All the Light We Cannot See. However, it felt like I spent a year reading this book. One reason is how Anthony prioritized explaining the characters, their actions/choices, and what was happening in their world over telling a story. The book’s 530 page count contributed as the other reason. But Anthony’s attention to detail allowed me, as a reader, to picture the story in my head. There was also a strong use of descriptive imagery. Even though All the Light We Cannot See was broken up into parts, each part consisted of a collection of shorter chapters. This decision gave the book a steadier pace.
Overall score: 3 out of 5 stars
Title: White Bird by R. J. Palacio
Theme: Creatures & Animals
I found White Bird to be a solid graphic novel! There was a good balance between well-crafted story and visually appealing illustrations. The use of lighter and darker lines provided a nice distinction between the 1930s/1940s and the present day. I also like how color was used to bring focus to a character, object, or location. While White Bird contained good messages, the delivery of some of them was a bit heavy-handed. The book features heavier subjects, which doesn’t give it a high re-readability rate. However, this was the best novel out of the three I’m reviewing!
Overall score: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Title: The Decoding of Lana Morris by Laura & Tom McNeal
Theme: Words that end in “ing”
Based on the book’s synopsis, Laura & Tom McNeal had potential to create a charming and whimsical story. Sadly, The Decoding of Lana Morris ended up being one of the worst books I’ve ever read. When creating a story with “magical realism”, it’s important to maintain a balance between the magical and realistic elements. In The Decoding of Lana Morris, though, the magical elements were so underutilized, they were far and few between in the text. This made the story feel like a generic, ‘slice-of-life’ tale. I was not a fan of the protagonist, Lana Morris. It took her longer than necessary to figure things out. She lacked foresight and critical thinking skills because of this creative flaw.
Overall score: 0 out of 5 stars
Have fun during Buzzwordathon!
Disclaimer: All the Light We Cannot See, White Bird, and The Decoding of Lana Morris contain subject matter that may not be suitable for some readers. Reader discretion is encouraged.