Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Books I've Read Jan - Apr 2014

I can't believe I've been blogging about books I've read for 3 years now. My first installment of "Books I've Read" was in April 2011. Mainly I'm impressed that I've stuck with a blog topic for so long! Ha! Me and my distracted self...

I've never really had anyone ask me why I read what I do. I work in a library, so most people aren't curious about why you read what you read; they're more curious about what you read. I have an extremely eclectic taste in books. I'll read just about anything if it sounds interesting OR if I'm challenged to read it. That doesn't mean I get through every book that I pick up, but it does mean that I'll try out almost anything.
My favorite books tend to be young adult novels and biographies.
I do love a good literary fiction or historical fiction here and there.
I also love books on the Christian faith and parenting.
I enjoy fantasy, but don't always like sci-fi.
I do not care for manuals. If I need to learn something, I'd much rather someone show me than ask me to read up on it. But I love to research, so go figure.
Of course I love picture books and juvenile chapter books. I'm getting really excited about reading chapter books with Xander. We've started reading some like, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark (because we went to see the play) and Magic Treehouse. I'm hoping to start Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little with him soon, some of my favorites from when I was a kid. And then there's the story that my Dad gave me to read to Xander - An Otter's Story  by Emil Liers - a book that my dad got when he was a little boy and then gave to me to read when I was about 8 yrs old or so. He gave it to me last Thanksgiving so that I could hand it down to Xander. Pretty cool to have a first edition of a book go through 3 generations.
(I also have a first edition of Stuart Little - that was one of David's favorites that his Gran read to him when he was young.)

Anyway, I read kind of a strange assortment of books to start out 2014. Lots of YA novels. A couple of classics. A historical fiction novel. A drama/thriller. A non-fiction. A Christian/parenting book.

It's been an interesting year so far. :)



Paper Towns
by John Green

Shocking that I started the year with a John Green novel, I know. This came out a few years ago, but I hadn't read it yet. Since I love John Green so much, I decided to try it out. He did not disappoint. Another good one. I would rank this one just under The Fault in Our Stars, my favorite Green novel.
Not my favorite ending, but a very fitting one.





Wuthering Heights
by Emily Bronte

I've decided to adopt some classics into my repertoire of reading. I've had this one on the shelf for a long time, plus it's a free download in iBooks. I can take this with me wherever I go. :) I was probably supposed to read this in English class or something, but I didn't. I'm a little embarrassed at all the classics I haven't read. One of my dear friends used to be a high school English teacher, so I dare not tell her of all the books I should have read, but didn't. Anyway, there's no better time to start than the present, right?



If I Stay
by Gayle Forman

This was certainly an interesting book and an interesting concept. A girl is in a car accident, but doesn't die instantly. She has an out-of-body experience where she sees herself and her loved ones dealing with all that happened. It didn't really end, so I'm going to read the sequel, Where She Went. I really want to know the rest of the story. :)







Where She Went
by Gayle Forman

In this story, told by Mia's boyfriend, we learn what happens after the accident. It's a great ending to the first book, If I Stay. I almost liked it better. Told by the boyfriend, this one had a more relatable feel to it and the overall storyline was more interesting to me.






A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving

My dear Aunt Karen found this in a used bookstore while we were perusing the shelves and insisted that I read it. I really enjoyed it! It was sad and sweet, and mostly, thought-provoking. I'll admit that it took me awhile to read it. I couldn't just blow through it like I've done with some others. I'm glad I read it, though. Not sure if it counts as a classic since it's not that old, but my ex-English teacher friend had read it and taught it in her class...I say that makes it a contemporary classic. :)

Serena
by Ron Rash

Great book! The characters are fantastic, the story intriguing, and the language appealing. I would highly recommend this book. I decided to read it after seeing it was going to be made into a movie (with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper) and then realized it was by Ron Rash who wrote The Cove, which I read last year. It's set in the mountains of North Carolina (which I always find fascinating) in the 1920's. I'm interesting to see JL and BC in the roles of Serena and George Pemberton...they're not exactly who I pictured when I was reading the book, but I think it'll be interesting, nonetheless.

 The Dip
by Seth Godin

A great book for helping you overcome obstacles. A quick read, which I liked. I'm a "serial quitter" as Seth calls those who start things and quit in the middle of it. I'm horrible at this! I read this book to give me insight on how to follow through and become the best at what I do. Here's to hoping I can make it through the dip...and quit the right stuff!
 The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger

Another classic that I never read. David read it in high school and asked why I chose that classic to read. I don't really know except that it's one I hear about frequently. It was a banned book at one point (though I still can't quite figure that out. In 1951, maybe, but it's been banned as recently as 2010...crazy to me!!). There always seem to be references to it and I always felt a little left out for not knowing them. Now I know. And I can't say I loved it (which is why David was curious about my choice). I read it and it's now in my repertoire, but it was not a book I would read again. It seemed a little pointless to me? And maybe that is the point, seeing as this is the first line to the book:
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."
Pretty much sums it up. :)


Dark Places
by Gillian Flynn

"Dark places" is right. Man. That was an extremely dark and intense book. Quite the mystery and very well written as to keep you guessing and interested. But,ugh. Certainly doesn't leave you feeling all happy inside.




The Maze Runner
by James Dashner

I seem to be very interested in these types of books lately - they're all the rage. Here is yet another YA series for me to read AND the movie comes out in September.
This novel started off a bit slow to me, but picked up speed after about 100 pages. A lot of confusion while you figure out the characters and learn why they're in the maze. You're learning everything at the same time the main character is figuring it all out. I liked it. It got very interesting toward the end and really flowed right into the second book.  



The Scorch Trials
by James Dashner
Whew! This was intense! It was a great book and I couldn't wait to go right into the third book. I liked it even better than the first one. It was riveting and scary and intriguing and a very enjoyable book overall.








The Death Cure
by James Dashner

I was ready to start this book as soon as I'd finished the second one. I was so into it that I just couldn't wait! It did not disappoint. It went in a slightly different direction than I anticipated, a much more political one, but it was definitely worth the read. The ending wasn't my favorite, but it was fitting for the story. Oh! And I found out there's a prequel. I suppose that means it's not really the end, right? Guess what's next on my reading list? ;)



Divergent
by Veronica Roth

I read a summary and some reviews about this story after I found out it was going to be made into a movie. It was in my queue, but I didn't read it until March. I mentioned it at the beginning of the year to my SIL, Becky. She started reading it and loved it, so I decided to pick it up. It DEFINITELY has undertones of some other YA novels I've read, but I certainly liked all those other YA novels, so it's no surprise that I like this book, too. I had a hard time not comparing it to others (Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and even Harry Potter) while I was reading it, but it was enough of it's own story that I quickly got involved. If you like Young Adult novels, I say pick this one up.

Insurgent
by Veronica Roth

Technically I haven't finished this one yet, but I've started it. I'll let you know what I think when I'm finished. :)







Hands Free Mama
by Rachel Macy Stafford

I'm not exactly sure what to say about this book. It had some wonderful information. It was spot on about many things we need to let go of, and place more of our focus on what truly matters. I agree so much with many of these things. I was encouraged and felt a camaraderie with the author.
On the other hand, it was so annoying! I couldn't tell if I was feeling a wee bit judged (which would be my own personal problem) or if her Pollyanna attitude was getting on my nerves (which is saying something because I've been compared to Pollyanna on several occasions). Many of her anecdotes and stories got a tad redundant. Anyway, I will take many ideas and lessons from this book, but next time I may just read the bullet points.


Looking at this list of books, I now understand why I haven't been blogging much lately...I've been reading!!

1 comment:

THE JUDY JOURNEY said...

I love your book reviews and always end up adding some of them to my reading list. :)