Similarly to how I did not review The Avengers because there were already so many great reviews of it, I am not going to review these books. I'm just going to give my thoughts on them. I was going to review them, but I have a problem being too wordy, and this would have been too long, and blah blah blah.
How To Be Good
For those of you not familiar with the name Nick Hornby, he is the author of About a Boy and High Fidelity. Both of these have been turned into movies starring Hugh Grant and John Cusak, respectively. Hornby is a British author and his books are very British. I totally love this, but then again I love many British things; although not the food. Anyway.
I like the book, but the ending is a bit of a downer, and that caught me off guard. Overall I'd give it a B-. If you really liked the two I just mentioned and are looking for a similar book you're not really going to find it here. If you've never read Hornby before this might not be a bad starting point and then go to his others. Here are some real reviews of it, if you're interested.
The main thing I took from this story is that wanting people to do more to make the world a better place is all good and fine, but there's only so much you can do to change people. I know GQ lives with this problem living with me and my recycling
habits obsession. Reading this story has made me realize that I can do all the recycling I want, and encourage The Girls to do it, too, but trying to make someone do what I think is best doesn't really work. Same thing with the character David in this book.
He wants the world to be a better place and begins to impose his desire on his family, regardless of how this makes their life more difficult than it already is.
I can see how this is similar to how people feel when others are wanting them to give more money or time, recycle more and waste less, etc. Of course these are things that everyone should do, and most are things everyone could do, but forcing people to do those things typically only makes you feel better. A lot of the time it will make the others feel hostile toward you or whoever is doing the forcing.
The Fault In Our Stars
I love John Green's books. I think John Green is an entertaining, funny and original author. He has a Tumblr that has some good stuff on it. Plus he and his brother have a very funny video blog.
Again, not going to review it because you don't have that much time to read all my words. I give it a solid A. Here are some real reviews.
Here's what I love about John Green, and all of my favorite authors really: The characters. I am able to connect to them immediately. I may not always like them, although I did very much so in this story, but I can always find something with them that I can relate to.
The main characters in this story, Hazel and Augustus, are great. The side characters are as well. Isaac, their friend is one of my favorite minor characters I've read in a long time.
This story deals with cancer and cancer victims. This includes their family and friends. Because John Green writes YA and juvenile fiction the characters are of course young. All three suffer from one form of cancer or another.
Since the story is from Hazel's point of view you don't necessarily get a great point of view of the parents, but you the hopelessness they feel because of what their children are suffering is pretty evident.
I can't even begin to imagine how devastating it would be to have a child with cancer. My mom is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with it when I was 12, I think, and I was not told a lot about what was going on. I used to be bitter about that, but now I understand that it would have freaked me out completely and just given my parents one more thing to worry about.
Having a parent with cancer is one thing. Having a child with it, or any other disease is another, and I am amazed at the strength parents have to deal with it, and hope and pray it is something that GQ and I never have to deal with.
I'll be honest. I cried a little reading this book. Luckily I was at the pool sweating in the crazy heat so the few tears that escaped were probably just another salty liquid streaming down my face. Wearing sunglasses helped too, I'm sure. Actually, it's not too unusual for me to shed some tears if a book is really good. If you know me you know I'm a pretty sensitive guy. Medication helps me not be a quivering mess of a sensitive guy.
So, there you go. Two books. One just okay and one really great one. If you're looking for something to read you won't have wasted your time with either of them.