Reading

February Reads

Well it took one whole month for my new years resolution to completely derail–one whole month and four seasons of Game of Thrones. Husband and I had never seen it before and we had just finished watching Battlestar Gallactica when our friends brought us seasons one and two of Game of Thrones. They had been telling us for a while that we needed to watch it and we finally listened. One episode and we were completely hooked. One episode and we spent the next three weeks powering through the four seasons. Husband and I had both become drooling, slobbering messes, watching at least two episodes a night. Now that there is no more to see, we frankly do not know what to do with ourselves.

Our evenings seem empty without Game of Thrones. I have even gotten around to picking up those things I think are called books and pawing through them as a cave man might. Needless to say I came no where close to reaching my February reading goal, but that was alright. I knew my new years resolution was a pipe dream anyway. The point is that I am back on the horse and have moved three bookmarks further into three different books. Progress–once again.

Here is the sadly short list of books I read in February:

This is the second book I have read by Anita Shreve and to be honest I just need to take her off of reading list. Everything about this book, and The Pilot’s Wife, was just alright: the writing was alright, the plot was alright, but nothing grabbed me. I found nothing compelling and I didn’t get anything out of reading her books. It wasn’t a page turner to make up for its lack of depth. It was lackluster at best. You all know that I have strong ideas when it comes to what books I should be reading. You only get to read so many books in this life. The number is finite, so why waste your time on anything other than amazing? This was not it.

If you have seen the movie, you have read the book. For the most part. I can’t say that it swept me off my feet, but I feel like it was an important read. Charles Webb does an amazing job of instilling a crushing sense of apathy in his characters. No one seems to really care about anything, as long as no one is embarrassed. As long as the façade looks flawless, who really cares about what is underneath.

I loved Moby Dick, but I found Billy Budd harder to track, harder to get into. It was still beautifully written, but I am afraid some of its deeper significance was lost on me. I don’t thing I really gave the book the attention it needs in order to really get it. Melville’s writing is complex, which anyone who has tried to ply their way through any of his books can attest to. I honestly believe his books are complex in a good way, but in this modern age where we expect literature (dare I call it that?) to be spoon fed to us it can sometimes feel like a chore to sit down and read something that has the meat still on the bone, so to speak.

I will always have a soft spot for Maeve Binchy after The Glass Lake and Circle of Friends. While the Scarlet Feather is no Circle of Friends, I still had a hard time putting it down. This book is just about ordinary people, going about their ordinary lives, and Binchy writes with such simplicity and warmth her books are always a pleasure to read. If you want something light and enjoyable, something that doesn’t make your soul feel dirty, or like you have wasted your time I cannot recommend her enough.

I love getting lost in Mccaffrey’s world of dragons. This one was a lot of fun because there is a lot of exploring of a hot, tropical island and since it is winter here, it was nice to think about swimming in pristine, warm waters and eating perfectly sweet, ripe fruit. These books are not great feats of literature, but they are very well written, fun, and worth the time. I should say worth your time if you like Sci-fi/Fantasy. I know some people do not go in for that sort of thing. I don’t really understand why you wouldn’t, but then again I have good taste when it comes to books 😉

Much of what I wrote about the last book can be applied here, which is really no surprise considering they are in the same series. I didn’t realize that I was reading this one so far out-of-order. This is the 14th book in the series, while the White Dragon is only third. I can say that it stands alone well enough that if you haven’t read 1-13 you won’t be lost. At least I don’t think you will. This book was not as satisfying as books 1-3, which are the only other ones I have read in the Pern series. This moves further away from Sci-Fi.Fantasy in my opinion and would be better described as a political drama. While it was interesting and entertaining, it lacked a page turning quality that I feel McCaffrey’s books generally have.

That’s all folks! Hard to believe isn’t it. I have read something like 22 books since the start of the year and only six of them were in February. I don’t have a calculator on me, but what else did I get done in January? I do not know. Hopefully March will be a little better, but I will be having a baby here in March and I hear that tends to derail the best laid plans. First Game of Thrones and now a Baby.

Life just keeps getting in the way of my literary addiction.

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Reading

May Reading Review

I have decided to go back to one of the older format of my yearly reading list. Currently it has a picture and a paragraph review of every book I have read, broken down by month. I have not been able to keep up with this due to some formatting issues. So I have decided instead to do a monthly post with the fancy pictures of what I have read that month and that lovely paragraph review, while the page will have a list the basic list of book and authors and each month will have a link to its respective review post. Make sense? I think this will make it a little easier for me to keep up with and it will give me an already formatted post that I get to do once a month.

Fantastic.

So without any fanfare here is my list for May. It is short and all of them were easy reads.

I forgot how much I loved Terry Pratchett’s writing. The story is fanciful and an easy read, but the writing is smart and snarky. This is the first book in his Discworld series and it shows Pratchett’s incredible imagination. He creates a magical world so incredible and complete it is no wonder that he wrote many more books based in the Discworld. He created such a rich tapestry that he must have put eons into creating it.

I am just going to review these three at once, considering they are a trilogy and neither two or three were disappointing like so many other trilogies. These are classic Mercedes Lackey. They are easy fun fantasy with magic and gryphons (surprising I know).  The characters are endearing and the plot interesting. I wouldn’t recommend running out to buy them (unless you are a die-hard Lackey fan) but if you ever stumble across them I would say give them a chance.

I checked this out of the library because I recently started a new project! I am ghost writing a memoir for a man who grew up under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. I needed to know more and unfortunately my local library didn’t have a lot of material. This was a picture book, with stripped down simplicity, for early middle-schoolers. But it gave me a basic (VERY basic) idea of the history and culture.

Now to be fair, I gave up on this one. I got about two chapters in a decided that I couldn’t do it. I have a very low tolerance for people being self-destructive out of a lack of willingness to communicate and boredom. The main character is self-righteous and bored out of her mind. She is unwilling to talk to her husband and sabotages their life in a million tiny decisions. Cheating is comprised of a million tiny decisions, all of which we have power over. No I will not text that person, or get coffee, or run into them in the hallway on purpose. This character does it all and I couldn’t watch the resulting train wreck.

I thought I had read these books before, but if I have I do not really remember this one at least. Anne McCaffrey is awesome if sometimes a little backwards from a feminist stand point. But since she is one of the leading women in the world of Fantasy we can cut her a little slack. There is a lot to this book–it is very dense and sometimes I have to spend a little too much concentration to keep everyone straight. These are done in the same vein as a lot of Mercedes Lackey books though the feel a little more grownup.

I saved the best for last. This is by far my favorite book that I read in May. I guarantee that I will be rereading this at some point. I love the southern world that Rebecca Wells paints. If you read the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and loved it then this is the next book on your reading list. Calla Lily is a magical young woman and the world she grows up in is just as magical with fireflies and a beautiful moon that she prays to and a river she practically lives in. This is a very feminine book just like the Sisterhood. It’s delicious!

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