Tag Archives: Reading Recap

January 2017 Reading Recap

The first reading recap of 2017 is here! Yay!

Not a bad start to the year, either. I read 8 books this month, though about half of them have been easy re-reads. I’m still glad to be off to a strong start and to give myself a little padding for later in the year when I inevitably slack off, haha. I am 15% done with my annual challenge of reading 52 books in a year!

Feel free to friend me on Goodreads to see all the books I’ve read and to follow my progress!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed – 3/5 stars

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailAt 26, Cheryl is at a quarter-life crisis. Her mother just died, she recently got a divorce, and she has no money and no plans. On a whim, she decides to hike the Pacific Coast Trail, a trail 2,650 miles long that spans from Mexico to Canada. Cheryl has no experience or knowledge of backpacking or hiking or climbing mountains, but she goes.

I really had a hard time determining whether I liked this book or not. I loved Cheryl’s sheer will and tenacity to go on this crazy adventure even though she’s clearly out of her league, and I really enjoyed learning all the basics of hiking alongside her. It was amazing to see her put everything she needs to survive in one large backpack (and have to carry it!), how she purified her water, how she slept at night and protected her food. All the aspects of the book that pertained to her hike fascinated me because I don’t have hardly any prior knowledge. I’m a newb, too.

The part I had trouble with was her. I understand it’s necessary to include the background of her life which led up to her decision of why she wanted to hike the trail in the first place, but she was so annoying. She made poor life decisions for no apparent reason at all, and then she complained and wondered how she got into those situations in the first place. It was also a little mind-boggling how very little she prepared for the trip. She didn’t research any farther than her nearest REI store and when she got into these horrible life-and-death situations – like where she didn’t bring enough water on a stretch of the trail because she didn’t want to carry it and almost died of dehydration- I just wanted to yell, “What did you expect???” So while I admired her tenacity and spontaneity, she was also incredibly stupid.

I didn’t really come away from this book with a completely new outlook on life, but it was an interesting read. I think it’s worth reading, but I didn’t live up to all the hype.

Little House on the Prairie (Books #1-4) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House in the Big Woods – 5/5 stars | Little House on the Prairie – 5/5 stars | Farmer Boy – 4/5 stars  | On the Banks of Plum Creek – 4/5 stars

2612801These are some of my favorite childhood books. I have a paperback copy of the whole series that are well-worn because I have read them so many times. I still have some books at my mom’s house that I went over to pick up and I found these in that pile. I hadn’t read them in a long time and when I was flipping through, I remembered how much I enjoyed them and wanted to read them again.

I enjoyed them just as much on this read-through as I did when I was younger. Life back in the 1800s is so vastly different than today, so it’s always interesting to read how they did everything by hand and to view it all through Laura’s childlike wonder. Everything is new and exciting, and while they’re written for children, they’re just as enjoyable for adults. There are actually a few things that I’ve caught that I didn’t fully understand when I was younger.

77769For example, Laura’s father tells her and her sister not to slide down the haystack he’s worked to put together. So when he finds the hay scattered all over, no longer in a stack, he asks her if she slid down it again. She answers no, she didn’t slide down it, but she did roll down it. He turns around and she sees his back quivering. I realize now that it’s because he is laughing at her logic, but doesn’t want her to know

My least favorite of these four I read this month are Farmer Boy and Little House on Plum Creek. While I still enjoyed them, they just aren’t my favorites in regards to the story line. I’ve always loved Little House in the Big Woods, the first book in the series, as everything is just normal every day life before they decide to hitch everything up and move west. I’ve got the first four down in the series, now five more to go!

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiogrophy by Neil Patrick Harris – 4/5 stars

20170296NPH’s autobiography is everything you think it might be: funny, witty, cleverly unique, and entertaining. He styles his autobiography after choose your own ending books, where you can flip to different pages for different endings and storylines. Some were humorous, like the fictitious chapters about fantastical ways that he dies, and some were more realistic chapters about how certain aspects of his life might have played out differently had he made different decisions.

All the hilarity aside, I think NPH did a great job giving an overview of his life, including his struggles and how they shaped the person that he is today. I’ve enjoyed a lot of his work so it was fun to learn more about him and his life. The book is pretty short, so it’s a quick and easy read that I would recommend to any one who is a fan.

Happy reading, everyone! Have you read any good books this year?

 

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!