Arts & Culture

Pony Express Picks: Book Edition

Due to the extreme excess of time I had during summer quarantine, I ended up picking up an old hobby: reading. Books have always been my happy place, but the amazing (and not at all stressful) things that came along with high school forestalled my much needed relaxation time. However, my passion has once again resumed! 

Here are my reviews of some of the books I read during this quarantine period.

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini



Rating: 12/10
Yes, these may be a reread, but it is justifiable due to the sheer masterpieces Paolini has created. This is a series of 4 books (and a fifth on the way!) with the average page count of 700. The series is full of magic, dragons, elves, dwarves, and much more, greatly resembling J. R. R. Tolkien’s works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The books are of the young adult fiction genre and cover many deep and philosophical topics, including religion and war. Overall, they offer deep connections with the characters, many nights pondering life itself, internal sobbing over certain unnamed deaths and a profound sense of quiet joy. As Christopher Paolini so eloquently said, “Books are my friends, my companions. They make me laugh and cry and find meaning in life.” 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller



Rating: 10/10
The Song of Achilles is a single novel that is essentially a retelling of Homer’s The Iliad. The story is written from the perspective of Patroclus, Achilles’ companion and lover (which is still a subject of controversy among many scholars). Madeline Miller somehow wrote in a manner that was both simple, yet complex; delicate, yet unforgiving. Altogether weaving an adaptation with such captivating and profound emotions, you cannot help but finish the book the day you pick it up. However, be warned that you will most likely die inside. 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol



Rating: 9.999/10
While Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland might not come to mind for the mass majority when picking up a book, it is 1000% worth the read. Lewis Carrol’s writing is simultaneously odd, witty, playful, and childlike, which (obviously) makes for quite an interesting and enjoyable read. The only reason I knocked off 0.01 from the rating was because I felt like I probably should not give every book a 10 or over (but keep in mind that it definitely is a perfect 10 and deserves your attention). 

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini



Rating: 11/10
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is nothing short of a work of art. The premise follows a fifteen year old named Craig who is hospitalized in a psychiatric center after almost committing suicide. While the topics within the novel are quite heavy (drugs, suicide, depression, etc.), the humor is both weird and incredibly relatable. It truly embodies all of the aspects of depression, ultimately coming off as honest and real. Vizzini did not shy away from the ugly parts of mental health, which makes the book all the more beautiful. However, be prepared to be stuck in very deep thoughts and possibly have an existential crisis. 

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