Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I've Been Reading

I think that one of the reasons I've been doing fewer posts is because I haven't been posting any reviews of book I've been reading.  And part of the reason for that is that I haven't been reading nearly as much this year!  (It's amazing how much less "free" time I have now that we have Satchel!)  By this time last year, I'd already read 24 books.  So far this year, I've read 9.  (In my defense...I wasn't working at all from January to mid-March last year.)  I figured I'd give a brief run-down of those nine books.

1.  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout:  This collection of short stories won a Pulitzer in 2009.  I liked the fact that the stories were all tied together by the fact that the character of Olive Kitteridge was in each one, although in some stories, she was a very minor character (like she and her husband might have been eating at the same diner as the central characters in a story).  I gave it 3 stars.

2.  Cesar's Way: the Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Millan:  Have you heard of the "Dog Whisperer"?  This is Cesar.  He's a god among men, according to dog training types.  I got this book the day after we got Satchel.  Truthfully, I thought the book was interesting, but there were very few actual techniques listed in the book, which disappointed me.  I gave it 3 stars.

3.  Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead:  I don't remember why I chose this book, and I definitely didn't love it.  I gave it 2 stars.  It's the story of a boy who spends his summers on Sag Harbor (outside NYC).  The book jacket claimed that it was funny; I didn't think it was.

4.  Bel Canto by Ann Patchett:  This was an interesting concept.  Terrorists crash a birthday party, and the book tells the story of the "standoff"...which doesn't go the way you might imagine.  I gave it 3 stars.

5.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer:  I really liked this book.  It's written as a series of letters among a journalist from London and people from the Island of Guernsey who formed a "literary society" during the German occupation of their island during WWII.  I gave it 4 stars.

6.  The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs:  This is a funny little non-fiction book.  The author literally spent a year involved in all sorts of crazy experiments, and he explains them in this book.  For example, for a month, he outsourced his life to a team of people in India, and he spent a month practicing "Radical Honesty."  I gave the book 4 stars.

7.  Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami:  A friend sent this book to me (she had read it for a literature class), and it was odd.  But good!  There were basically two plot lines going on simultaneously, and they were both a little sci-fi and mystical (although one storyline also felt like it may have taken place in the past).  I wanted to give it 4 stars, but I stuck with 3 because I didn't like the ending.

8.  The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson:  This is a young adult book that definitely brings up questions of ethics and science.  It begs the question...just because science has figured out a way to do something, should we necessarily do it?  I gave it 3 stars.

9.  Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah:  I think this was probably my favorite book so far this year.  It follows the stories of two best friends over 3 decades.  I thought it was fun that large portions of the book were set in Snohomish, Washington, which is only a few miles from here.  I gave the book 4 stars.

And there you have it!  All 9 books that I've read so far this year.  Looking over the list...I need to pick some better books!  I'm currently reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and I'm enjoying it so's good for what it is.  I have a few more books sitting here that I'm looking forward to, too.  I'll let you know what I think.  :-)

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