What I’ve been reading…

I didn’t make a reading goal this year, I didn’t want to put pressure on myself like that again. I didn’t want it to turn into a number thing, ya know? But I recently plowed through three books… in three days. Hah! I forgot how awesome it feels to get lost in a book!

What I’ve been reading…
Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber

Well, let’s get this over with. If you know anything about my reading habits, you know I LOVE Chuck Palahniuk. I’ve been a huge fan since the first book I read of his. I always buy and devour his new books each year. So you’re probably expecting a glowing review… I don’t have one for you. If it didn’t have his name on it I wouldn’t be able to tell at all this was one of his. It. is. awful. That’s the only way to put it. With the release of his last few books fans have been jumping ship saying he just trying to shock readers. I didn’t agree with that until this book. I so desperately want to give you some examples but honestly they’re too raunchy. I would be embarrassed to share them and it takes a lot to make me feel awkward. I don’t mind explicit sexual details in books, in fact I love them, but this book just crosses a line. I 100% would not recommend Beautiful You. It’s nothing short of train wreck. Looking for a good read by Mr. Palahniuk? Try Rant instead.

I’m a little late jumping on the fan train for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children but I now see what all the fuss is about! I guess “teen fiction” is what kept me away… and that was dumb. This book is AMAZING. Easily in my top ten books. It’s a quick read that is incredibly easy to get lost in. The story is enthralling and if that wasn’t enough it includes real vintage photos that actually inspired the story. If you haven’t read this already, you should probably get on that… right away!!

I think it was Alexandra that originally recommended The Good Nurse to me, and apparently she understands my taste in books! The Good Nurse is the true story of Charlie Cullen who was dubbed by the media as “The Angel of Death”. He was a nurse who killed his patients, except they weren’t mercy kills at all. He just enjoyed killing.  Charlie worked at nine different hospitals, eight of which he was only let go of for making “errors”. That was the hospitals way of saving their own butts, they just turned a blind eye. It’s a super interesting read and a slightly frightening one as well! I highly recommend The Good Nurse.

What have you been reading? I’m always looking for recommendations!

You can take a peek at all the other books I’ve blogged about under the “books” tag, and a list of my favorite books can be found here!

Author: Kaylah Stroup

A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

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  • I find it hilarious that the words "Children's and Young Adults' books" scares us. I mean, I don't usually go digging in that section of the library, but SO many of my books come from there! A lot of childrens books are interesting and hilarious and well written.

    So, I've been reading a BUNCH since I graduated (a month and a half ago). But sorreh, I'll just cut to the chase now.

    So Many Africas by Jill Kandel. A true story. A great author. It is the best memior I have read. EVER.

    Poison, by Bridget Zinn. Oh myyyyy the giggles and silliness and if you're into saving kingdoms with minature pigs, read it. kthxbye

  • Here are some graphic novels I think you'd like:
    Relish: My Life in the Kitchen – Lucy Knisley
    The Property – Rutu Modan
    Mind MGMT – Matt Kindt
    Blankets – Craig Thompson

  • I loved "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children." It was inventive and a story unlike any story I've ever read. I felt like I was in that world while I read it. Incredible!

    Right now I'm reading "Little Failure" by Gary Shteyngart. It's a memoir– my favorite! I'm also reading "Art, Inc." by Lisa Congdon and "The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion. Next on my list is "Spoiled Brats" by Simon Rich.

    I basically read too many books at once.

    • Exactly why I loved it too. I was IN THE BOOK too! It was so easy to feel like you were right there beside the characters.

      Haha! I can't read more than one at a time or they all blur together.

  • If you loved Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, you'll like the sequel too! Hollow City is maybe not as perfect as the original but definitely worth a read if you already like the characters from book one. Another teen fiction author you might like is Rainbow Rowell. She doesn't write fantasy/sci fi like Miss Peregrine but Rowell gives an absolutely perfect picture of what it's like to be shy and different growing up.

    • Well, duh! 😛
      Jeff was reading it so I was waiting for him to finish it so I could just borrow his copy. I can't wait to start.

      Thanks for the recommendation.

  • I've read "Kiss Me Like A Stranger" by Gene Wilder if you're a fan of his at all you'll enjoy it!! "A Year Of No Sugar" by Eve O Schaub. You'll literally never eat the same way again! "The Moon is Down" by Steinbeck. If you like him you'll hate this and "The Cold Song"by Linn Ulman good book lane ending!! I missed seeing what you read!!!!

  • I am so bummed to hear about the Chuck Palahniuk book — I'm a huge fan, too. My brother and I went to one of his book readings/signings maybe 5 years ago and it was damn awesome. I've been reading lots of Mary Roach lately (currently on Gulp) and The Dead Roam The Earth by Alasdair Wickham (ghost stories, paranormal, awesomeness!).

    • Well, don't let me stop you from reading it. I definitely encourage you to give it a spin…maybe borrow it instead of buying it though. 😛

      LOVE me some Mary Roach!!!

  • I just read Catcher in the Rye for the first time. I liked it, but I have to say I think people who read it in their teens would like it more than as an adult. I also think it's one of those books that has been over hyped for so many years

  • I really loved "Fish" by TJ Parsell. It's a memoir of his time spent in prison. He gets tried as an adult at seventeen. It's a love story and a coming of age story. It's really good.

    Another good one is "Hiding from myself: a memoir" by Bryan Christopher. It's about his time as a Fundamentalist Christian while also struggling with his homosexuality.

  • Totally agree with you about Beautiful You. I got an advanced copy of it at a signing during Comic Con and read the whole thing on an airplane. I kept wanting to stop, but I held out hope thinking it couldn't possibly get any worse. I've kind of come to accept that he does everything for shock value now, but the writing was just BAD and the plot made no sense. The part about the old hag showing up at the wedding — c'mon, really? It's like a quarter of the way in he lost interest and just threw an entire book together.

  • I read "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" recently. Actually, I listened to it as an audio book. Do you listen to audio books? Anyhow, I was like you and steered clear of teen fiction for a long time. However, I'm just reuniting myself with them and I love the genre so very much! There's so many beautiful ideas expressed in young adult and teen literature.

    Circus & Bloom

  • Just finishing up "Anathem" by Neil Stephenson. I would recommend one of his earlier, cult classic books, and one of my all time favorites "The Diamond Age". Cyber punk adventure coming-of-age story with a mystical twist.

    Next on my list is "Going Clear", a history and expose of Scientology.

  • I really liked Yes Please by Amy Poehler and with your recent road trip wanderlust maybe give John Steinbeck's Travels with Charlie a try. He takes a road trip across the U.S. with his poodle.

  • Have you read anything by Arthur Nersesian? Some of his books are Palahniuk-like, but less shocking, while not being too watered down either. I also highly recommend Night Film by Marisha Pessl and S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst as sort of "grown up" equivalents to Miss Peregrine's (which I love & feel no shame in loving, despite what those quotations might convey!)

  • I've been reading "The Barefoof queen", "Outlander#1", now I'm reading an Agatha Christie's, and I just bought this weekend " The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals" by Charles Darwin to read 😀

  • I wrote a post about Beautiful You here:
    I agree — it's a complete DISASTER. It's gross, then it's… boring. How can it go from viscerally, eye-gluingly, unstoppably evil to blah? Within PAGES?

    I'm so glad I'm not alone.

    I mentioned it on my personal Facebook page and was notified by a friend I just didn't understand Chuck any more. I am not a prude, but I'm also not made of adamantium. The book's awful.

    Super Starling!

  • I had Miss Peregrine's on my to-read list when it was first published and never got to it…you have encouraged me to add it to my current list which I am literally doing as soon as I finish typing.

  • Palahniuk is one of my favorites, but I honestly haven't read anything since Rant (actually, I own that one but haven't read it yet!!!!). But I'll take your word on Beautiful You and spare myself the read. I'm working my way through my bookshelf this year, but if I find the time perhaps I'll pick up the other two books at the library 🙂

  • I actually loved Beautiful You! I think many readers missed that it's meant to be a satire on the whole Fifty Shades/erotic fiction craze that's so over the top and blowing up right now. I found it to be quite clever! Maybe that will change your perspective a little 🙂

    • Calling it satire doesn't excuse the poor writing. Maybe if his writing hadn't started heading down the shock for the sake of shock before this book maybe I could go with "oh, it's just satire"….

  • Ahh so disappointed to hear about another flop for Chuck. I stopped reading at Pygmy. That one was just painful for me. Currently I am reading the third book in the Walking Dead novels series. I love the show and the comics and this is a different kinda story than the show and comics. I am definitely going to check out these other two you recommend though, especially The Good Nurse!

  • I love reading, and for the longest time, I pretty much only read Stephen King. Still love him, but thought I should broaden my horizons maybe a little, so I started reading Palahniuk, and I'm so glad I did. In the past few months I've read Fight Club, Damned, Doomed, Choke, and now I'm reading Rant. From your post/skimming comments, it's seems like long time readers of his are the ones saying he's writing shockingly for…shocks sake. I wonder if I should read Beautiful You before I read anything else?

    Book recommendation: Horns by Joe Hill. From reading the cover, I didn't think I would like the book very much, but oh my gosh, I'd say that book would be in my top 5 favorite books of all time! IDK if you've seen the movie they recently made, of course it wasn't nearly as good as the book at all. I finished it a couple weeks ago and still can't get the book out of my head!

    • That might be a good idea! I hate to think that I'm only thinking that way because I'm a long time reader though. If someone had given me that book without telling me who it was by or what it was I think I still would have been appalled by it. But I'm really glad you still want to give it a go after my awful review. I hate to think that people won't read something because someone else didn't like it. Also, enjoy Rant! It's my favorite!!!

      Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

  • Right now I'm reading How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and really enjoying it so far. I haven't read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but I plan to! Another YA book you might like is Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley, and another biography/memoir you might enjoy is Fairyland by Alysia Abbott. Both of those books are in my favorites!

  • The Good Nurse sounds amazing – my mind keeps replaying the scene where the angel of death killing his patients. Will definitely check it out 🙂

    I also no longer set reading goals like I used to – it just stressed me out, so I decided to read when and what I want to read. Reading should be fun and a means of escape, and not another to-do list, eh? 🙂

  • Have you read/heard of Perfect Poison? It's about Kristen Gilbert, a nurse who killed he patients with epinephrine. They think she may have killed over 80 people and caused 300 emergency situations. She was also admitted to a psychiatric hospital multiple times and convicted of a bomb threat. It's kind of long, a typical true crime novel, but super interesting.

  • I went and saw Chuck (and met! *cue girlish squeal*) when he was on his "Better than Sex" tour for Beautiful You. Now I only know the premise of the book beyond just reading the first couple pages, but at the reading he did talk about his approach to writing Beautiful You – he said he couldn't understand why all of the Fifty Shades etc books were getting so much hype. So he gave up and went out and read those books and then strived to write a book like that. That being said, I guess I should read actually read it and see what I think but it was interesting to hear him talk about it. Also, you should try and go to a reading if you ever get a chance. It was an amazing experience and so enjoyable and interesting and fun! I reread the notes I took from that reading all the time because he told such interesting cool stories.

  • Woah, I'm shocked that you didn't like Chuck's new book, not because I've read it or liked it myself, but because I thought that was a constant over here. Anywho, I think it's brave to be honest about your opinions, especially when you count yourself as a fan, it's something I find quite hard to do. I always feel like I have to defend any bad material people I'm a fan of release, but you've shown it's alright not to. I'm definitely going to check out the other two books though, they sound great!