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LocusAmoenus

Locus Amoenus: All By My Shelf

Watch the amazing Locus juggle several books at once, and try not to drop any! Free admission.

Professional Reader

Currently reading

One Corpse Too Many (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael Book 2)
Ellis Peters
Progress: 20%
Shameless: A Sexual Reformation
Nadia Bolz-Weber
House of Leaves
Mark Z. Danielewski
SPOILER ALERT!
Penguin Minis: The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

I think this a book that reads very differently depending on where you are in life. If you're young and in love, or in love with the idea of love, Hazel and Gus could make an attractive couple: witty, spontaneous, and bursting with emotion.

 

But for me, an older reader and a parent, the best part of the book was the final third, when Gus is gone and Hazel is left with a clearer understanding of what her parents will one day go through. Throughout the book, in fact, it was Hazel's relationship with her parents, and not her fleeting love story, that seemed to be written best. Otherwise, as I mentioned in earlier posts, I found Hazel and Gus' dialogue unnatural and tiring.

 

I could also have done without the Peter Van Houten subplot. For me, it added nothing to the story, other than to prove the old adage about not meeting your idols. And his reappearance near the end of the novel felt forced and just terrible. I was much more interested in his assistant, and the friendship she developed with Hazel.

 

As I also wrote in an earlier post, I bought this set of Green novels because they're the first foray Penguin makes into its new collection of Minis. This is a popular format in the Netherlands, and Penguin has done a fantastic job in adapting it to their offerings. The books are read horizontally, and the pages can be comfortably flipped up with your thumb while the rest of the hand supports the book. It made for perfect lunchtime reading. The pages are thin but very sturdy, and I loved the experience. Hopefully, more authors will be added to the collection soon.