Category Archives: Reading

October Reading Recap

This month was a pretty good month compared to my last two months where I really started to fall behind with my reading challenge. I read 4 books this month, which puts my total books read this year at 40! I have 12 more books to read by the end of the year to reach my goal of 52 books. I am 2 books behind schedule, but I’m pretty confident I can make that up!

Here are my three favorites for this month:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – 4/5 stars

The Princess BrideThe Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies. It is one of those classic, timeless movies you can watch over and over again without getting tired of. So I was really excited to read this book and I had pretty high expectations going in. And I wasn’t disappointed!

The Princess Bride is one of the funniest, most satirical and witty books I’ve read in a long time. The plot itself just keeps getting better and better –  I mean we are talking about a story that has the most beautiful woman ever, the best swordsman in the world, a giant, the Dread Pirate Roberts, true love, an Albino zoo keeper, a prince plotting the murder of his wife and abetting the start of a war – it just never ends! Full of adventure and romance and everything in between, this book has it all.

The only reason I didn’t mark this a full five stars is because of the narration. Goldman includes a fictitious abridgment in the novel where he pretends that he is not the original author and is abridging the book based upon a fictitious author. It gets a bit confusing when he then makes up a fictitious father who read this story to him as a son and then a fictitious story about the process of writing the story – it’s all a bit much. This weird narration didn’t add anything to the story for me – in fact it detracted from it because he would interrupt the plot to flesh out his (fictitious) reactions to what was going on when he was a kid and his (fictitious) father’s response. Or he would summarize what the (fictitious) original author wrote. I just ended up skipping most of these abridgments and kept reading the actual story.

 

 Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee – 3/5 stars

Go Set a Watchman (To Kill A Mockingbird #2)I hadn’t heard a lot of positive remarks about Go Set a Watchman, but I wanted to read it all the same because I loved To Kill a Mockingbird.

The plot itself was pretty much nonexistent, and rather hard to believe – not in the way that you watch a movie and the actions are so ridiculous they are unbelievable, but because you know the characters and the decisions and actions that they make don’t make sense. The characters that did return from To Kill a Mockingbird were surprisingly few, surprisingly shallow, and lacked real depth.

The parts that I enjoyed most of Go Set a Watchman were flashbacks that Scout had of her childhood. These little anecdotes were more reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, but while they were fun and sometimes humorous to read about, they did nothing to build the plot. They were simply wandering thoughts that were completely unrelated to anything that was going on.

The actual climax of the book was so disappointing and read like a bad Fan Fiction; Scout and Atticus have a fight and then they make up and The End. Period. End of Story.

My advice is to read Go Set a Watchman as if it were a standalone novel and not as a sequel to one of the best books written in this century, because if you go in with that notion in your head, you will be vastly disappointed. So I’m being generous with three stars and pretending that no, this is indeed not a sequel, and is just a weird take on the times of the disgruntled South.

 

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – 4/5 stars

NeverwhereYou may remember my reviews of Gaiman’s other books which I’ve really enjoyed, so I was excited for this book. I’m not sure what I was expecting – maybe something lighter and more along the lines of Stardust, but this book had a much darker tone to it. These more sinister novels normally don’t interest me, but Gaiman has such a way of writing that pulls me right in.

Neverwhere tells the story of an average man living in London, who stumbles across an injured girl named Door. The decision to help her sucks him into her world, called the Underground, where those from Above don’t acknowledge or even notice those from Below. Baffled and confused, Richard quickly realizes that his life has been irrevocably changed and seeks out Door to help him return to his old life.

This book was a long read for me, but I still really enjoyed it. This was one of those books that you slowly savor and let the story sink in, piece by little piece. Neverwhere, despite being a darker story, still had its dry humor and a beautiful array of characters. I love a good adventure story and this took an interesting twist to my normal read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Have you read any good books lateley? Happy reading, friends!

September 2016 Reading Recap

During the month of September, I read 3 books, bringing my total of books read for this year to 36! So I am 69% done with my goal of reading 52 books this year, which puts me four books behind schedule. I need to catch up in October!

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells – 3/5 stars

652083The novel follows one man during an invasion from Mars, an invasion where the Martians come in with deadly heat rays and attempt to make the humans their slaves.

It took me the entire month of September to finish this book. The plot moved at a snail’s pace, and the book altogether was a bit underwhelming. That being said, I did like it. While we’ve all read stories of aliens taking over the earth, this was a bit refreshing. The book focused more on the humans and their reactions,feelings, and behavior rather than the action of things being blown up or people dying that you would imagine seeing in a movie. So while the plot moved a bit slowly because of this, I liked this different perspective

The ending, while rather anticlimactic, but it made sense. The book didn’t go out with a bang, if you will, but I think the simple ending made sense for this classic.

Ender’s Game by  Orson Scott Card – 4/5 stars

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)Ender Wiggins is the hope for all of mankind. The result of genetic experimentation, he is hoped to be the military genius Earth needs to defeat the Buggers, an alien race seeking to destroy the human species. At six years old, Ender is sent off to battle school and thrown into a game that teaches him the skills and strategy needed to command an army.

I unintentionally went on a sci-fi kick this month. :P

This wasn’t a page-turner for me, but it was an easy and exciting read. The plot was well thought out and were well-weaved together throughout the entire novel. Little tidbits that appeared early on in the novel resurfaced later with a deeper significance. And it’s amazing how much happened in the novel – Ender was six years old at the beginning of the book, but it follows almost fifteen years of his life through the Bugger Wars.

Orson Scott Card did an excellent job with making you feel each character’s emotions. You loved characters and your heart broke with the trials and circumstances they went through. You hated characters and despised their every action and motive. To me, being able to convey such feeling to your reader is the mark of an excellent writer.

Where most books don’t provide a very clear ending, I was really surprised with how much detail the author provided. It still left just enough open for future books, but it was so satisfying to have such a well-wrapped up ending. I’m never a fan when authors leave endings wide open for interpretation and so the reader can imagine whichever ending they want. But I need closure, and this ending left me feeling completely satisfied.

I intend to read the rest of the books in the original quartet, but I know later the author wrote like ten books in total, and ain’t nobody got time for that. :P

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng–  4/5 stars

18693763Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

Everything I Never Told You takes place in the 1970s and tells the story of a Chinese-American family living in small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite middle child of the family, but when her dead body is found in the local lake, the delicate bonds that are holding the Lee family together are destroyed.

I read this over a weekend despite the fact that books that focus on character development tend to move slower and don’t pique my interest as much. But there’s something so intriguing about starting from a point in time, and then backtracking to see all of the events that led to that moment, all the words that had to have been spoke and all of the actions that were made to reach that specific moment. It’s fascinating how specific people can have such an influence on a person’s life, and how it shapes that life and that person’s actions.

That’s what this novel does. It goes through defining moments of each family member’s life and how that shaped who they are, and consequently, how they shaped and affected Lydia. It tackles issues such as sexism and racism and feminism, but yet doesn’t revolve around those issues. Lee takes the simple moments of every day life and makes them powerful and complex.

I probably won’t remember the little details and intricacies of this book in a few months or even a few weeks, which brings me to really my only complaint about this book: it’s kind of forgettable. It’s very intricate and complex in the little details, but it’s not something that is going to stay in my mind for a long time. I think if I could relate more to the story then I might have more to takeaway.

Aaaan that’s it for last month. Happy reading!