Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Wrap-Up

August! You came and went so quickly. Here is what I read:

Mr. Wroe's Virgins by Jane Rogers

Mr. Wroe's Virgins

This is the first product-of-browsing-the-library book I've read in a looong time. On that particular library trip I decided I wanted to pick one book that was not on my TBR and try to return to the way I used to pick books, if only for a fraction of my reading. And this pick was a success! It was very interesting and beautifully written. The story surrounds a religious group, whose leader suddenly declares that he must pick seven virgins. Since Religion is one of my majors, this definitely sparked my interest. The book rotates between the perspectives of a few of the girls, and the author really did an amazing job of developing the voices of each character. The book wasn't perfect, but I enjoyed it. In the end I gave it 4 stars, and I would definitely read more books by Jane Rogers.

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)

This is the third book in Harkness' All Souls Trilogy, and I think it was pretty good. The first book, A Discovery of Witches, was amazing. The second book, Shadow of Night, was pretty terrible. The Book of Life was somewhere in the middle. Because I'm attached to the characters and the story, I enjoyed it. However, the book had problems. There were a lot of things that just weren't explained properly. I gave it four stars because I did enjoy it, but the four stars were mostly for the trilogy as a whole, and my attachment to the characters.

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

Our Mutual Friend

I finally finished this beast. This book was for class, and it is not a quick read at 800 pages. This is one of those books that I didn't love, but will probably grow fond of as we discuss it in class and I do multiple research and writing assignments about it.

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway 

The Cellist of Sarajevo

This was a very interesting read, surrounding a topic that I knew nothing about. It's one of those imagined versions of a real situation books, and I think it was done very well. This is another rotating perspective novel, and it was a fast-paced read that covers a serious topic. I gave it four stars.

What am I reading right now?

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 

The Goldfinch

This is a book I'm reading purely because of the hype. When I put it on hold at the library I didn't even know what it was about. I'm only about 60 pages in so far, but it is already pretty gripping.

Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers

Galatea 2.2

This is a read for a different class, and at first I thought I was really going to hate it. As we get farther into the book, however, I am liking it more and more.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

July Wrap-Up

What did I read in July? Not all that much, it feels like. Here's what I managed to get to:

My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel
My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind

If you have an interest in anxiety you will find this book interesting. It is not a manual on how to cope with anxiety; in fact I think it gave me more things to be anxious about. It was fascinating nonetheless.

Listening is an Act of Love edited by Dave Isay
Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project

Despite the self-help-esque title, this is actually a compilation of true stories recorded by everyday Americans through the Stopycorps project. I highly recommend this to anyone. It is so moving, and it reminds us that everyone has a story to tell.

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
Ghost World

The description or blurb (I can't remember which) of this graphic novel claims that it is one of the most accurate depictions of young people. Which I found funny because I did not relate to the characters at all. It was depressing without being moving, the characters were extremely annoying, and I just didn't get it.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
Saving Francesca

I liked this book. I probably would have enjoyed it more a few years ago, when I was still a fairly frequent YA reader, but this book had the same feeling of some of the books I used to love reading, and it didn't make me roll my eyes, at least that I can remember.

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury

I saw this on the shelf at the library and had to revisit it. Calvin and Hobbes actually aren't my favorite comic strip (that would be a tie between Mutts and Zits), but I really enjoy reading these collections.

I also got about halfway through Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. This is a book I have to read for class. I have kind of a so-so opinion of Dickens. I've previously read Great Expectations, and now that I've read that and half of OMF, from what I can tell I generally enjoy reading Dickens in that it is not a painful experience. For a classic the writing is smooth and quick-moving, despite the fact that Dickens does not write short books. But I won't be rushing to pick any of his work up for my own enjoyment, although eventually I would like to read more of his work.

Our Mutual Friend

For August I'll be focusing on finishing up OMF, and I am also picking up The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness tomorrow, so I should be finishing that one up since it's a library copy.