What I’m Reading: March to May

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.

This is round three, and I’m at 20 books so far for the year.  I feel like I’m slowing down, so maybe my goal of 26 wasn’t too far off.  The program I’m in right now is kicking my ass so I haven’t been able to read as much as I would have liked.  In fact, I had hoped to be done with at least one more book before this post went live.  Alas, it was not to be.

In the meantime (sort of) since I last did a book review round up I’ve joined Goodreads, a site that helps keep track of books that I’ve read and what I’d like to read.  Now if only that would sync to the public library and they would just send me stuff.  Like a Netflix for books.  That would be awesome.

Goodreads makes it really easy for me to make up this post because I review books as I read them and then to make this post I simply copy/paste the reviews into WordPress.  If you’re on Goodreads, let’s be friends.  You’ll also be able to see what books I’m currently reading (usually about three), and leave comments.

Fed Up with Lunch by Sarah Wu
I remember following Mrs. Q when she was blogging back in 2010. I was a regular reader all through the project, but got a little lost afterwards. I knew there was a book and I’d been meaning to read it, but never got a chance until I saw it on sale at my local bookstore. A really fun read, and a very insightful book about everything that’s not quite right with school lunches.

Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty
I have adored the Jessica Darling Series for a long time, but somehow only just got around to reading this fourth in the series. I’m planning on reading Perfect Fifths soon too and I’m so excited. While the other books took place over years, this one is the thoughts and musings of Jess from only one week, the week the infamous Marcus Flutie has given her to think about weather or not she wants to marry him. As a life-long shipper and a big fan of Marcus, I had to quell my excitement over this development, somehow knowing it could never be that easy. This book is full of references and mentions of the previous books, but also brings in new characters and surprising stories that did nothing short of make my heart exceedingly happy. So exceedingly happy.

Maus by Art Spiegelman
Maus is the fantastically told, true story of a jew and his family in Poland during the rise of the 3rd Reich. Woven in between horrors, the narrator tells about dealing with his elderly father (the protagonist in the WWII story). Both stories are ripe with depth and honesty. The artist uses personified animals to show the different races and sects of the characters. I was moved by this telling of the Holocaust like i had never seen it before. Highly recommend to anyone interested in WWII/Holocaust stories or fantastically rendered characters.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
I have been casually interested in this story for years, always remembering in the back of my mind the story of a young man who died in Alaska. I don’t know how i came upon this when I was younger, as Chris died before I was old enough to understand what death was, but regardless I am glad to have stumbled upon this book. I think Chis was brave, perhaps a bit under prepared, but nevertheless a strong character and someone I would have been proud to know. His story is told well in these pages, with a heartfelt honesty that is both refreshing and shockingly simple. Well done. I hope that Chris’ story will continue to be an inspiration as well as a cautionary tale.

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit by Robert B. Grant & Thomas Lennon
This is not my usual reading material. For one thing I’m much more interested in TV then movies. I’ll admit my naivety, but most movie-specific guides turn me off from the get-go. To add onto that, I’m not really interested in making the “boat-loads of cash” they keep talking about in this book..

My Life Without God by William J. Murray
I finished reading this book in two days. There are a few factors in how quickly I managed to get through it. For one thing it’s good. The writing is easy to follow and I continually want to know what happens next, though… Another reason I read it so quickly because i kept waiting for the turnaround. To have a life without God implys that there was also one with God. I kept wanting the author to find God already so he could stop making mistakes. I kept thinking ‘oh, it’ll be in the next chapter…or the next one’ it’s literally the last chapter and I wish that he had gone more into how his life was changed after. The last and least of the reasons I read this book so quickly: no internet at my new apartment.

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Oh, that was six!  For some reason I thought there were only five since last update.  6!  Awesome!  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?

Previous Book Review Roundups:
January to March
March to May

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What I’m Reading: March to May

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.

This is round two, and I’ve gone through another 6 books.  I’m sort of impressed with my progress.  Lately I’ve found myself reading for hours on end.  I keep looking for the midpoint, the next round of plot development, something to up the stakes.  I keep remembering that books don’t have the same structure as television does.

1984 by George Orwell
Written during the beginning of the cold war, 1984 portrays a society where everything is regulated and the only emotion is hate.  Big Brother, the ruling power that may or may not actually exist, controls the past the present and the future, with his minions updating the records every time something changes so that the history books say that things were always as they are.
I don’t really know what my opinion on this book is other than finally understanding the references to it.  I’m happy to now be one of the enlightened, but other than that I have no strong feelings for of against it.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Of savages and class societies, Brave New World examines how the introduction of one “savage” impacts others in the society.  In a world of birth control and mass consumption, we see the flaws of the system resulting in a writer, the savage, and the savage’s keeper being given a choice: stay where they are or be sent away where no one will see them again.
It’s a classic, and I enjoyed it.  It get’s pretty deep, and sheds light on the world in which is was written as much as the possibilities still to come in the world we live in today.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Leviathan and John Green
Once again with my love of Young Adult literature   This one is written from the point of view of two guys both named Will Grayson, and the perspective flip flops between them.  While I liked the story, one of the Will Graysons seemed to think in one of my pet peeves (where everything is lowercase even when things should be uppercase. like the beginnings of sentences and the word i) which made it hard to concentrate at first.

Long Drive Home by Will Allison
This is the beginning of my reading novels meant for actual adults (beyond the classics).  Written as a father’s confession to his daughter about how he and her mother broke up, it’s a touching, yet sad story of the end of a marriage due to a series of mistakes and half truths.  A quick read, and a touching story.

Love is the Higher Law by David Leviathan
Upon seeing the cover of this book I immediately checked it out.  It’s about three kids and their memories of 9/11, and the friendship they began because of the events following the attacks.  It’s a topic that’s very close to my heart and with the recent attacks on Boston, all the more real.  Again, this book is told from shifting perspectives, and in the best way possible.

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
A book about women and their love lives.  This book has so many characters it makes my head spin a little.  They are all somehow connected to the main three, Isabella, Lauren, and Mary, who all live in New York and are trying to find happiness in their jobs and in their love lives.  It chronicles them watching as friends get married and they are bridesmaids again and again.  The large cast of characters was a little disorienting at times, but overall I really loved this book.

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I seem to be making much quicker work of 26 books than I thought I would.  I suppose I was in a state of inertia where I hadn’t read anything for so long that I didn’t know if I would be able to continue, but now that I’ve started I can’t seem to stop.  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?

What I’m Reading: January to March

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.  So far I’ve finished six so far which I’m pretty happy with, and I’ve also gotten a few more in the works.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
This one is sort of an ‘untold story’.  A fictionalized account of the life of Alice of Alice in Wonderland fame.  I’m not sure how much of it is true (and to me it doesn’t make much of a difference), but it follows young Alice begging for the book to be written and then the repercussions throughout her life.  I’m a nut for both historical fiction and grown up versions of children’s stories, so this one was a win/win for me.  Fantastically well written, I would recommend this one to anyone who fondly remembers Alice.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
I have been an avid VlogBrothers subscriber for a while now, but hadn’t read any of John Green’s book until The Fault In Our Stars came out last year.  I loved it and knew immediately that I would have to read his others.  Looking for Alaska is about a guy at boarding school getting to know a girl named Alaska who–nope, not giving it away.  Just read it.  It’s awesome.

Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith
A book my sister gave me for Christmas, Glaciers is a novel following the musings of a young woman.  What it lacks in plot it makes up for in beautiful prose.  You get to know Isabelle, her present and her past, as she recalls memories of growing up in Alaska.  Glaciers is a great book, but it certainly is not for everyone.

Messenger and Son by Lois Lowry
These two go together and are the continuation of the universe established in The Giver and Gathering Blue, books I read a long time ago when I was a kid.  Both look into the world of the village that Jonas sees at the end of The Giver.  Time has past and Jonas, is now the leader of the village.  He helps Matty, a messenger between the village and outsiders to use his gift to heal the wounds of the town.

Later in Son, Claire, a young woman from the community where The Giver began, tells her side of the story as the birthmother of Gabe.  The book follows her journey to find Gabe and runs into characters new and familiar in the process.

I would recommend both of these books.  While they are aimed towards young adults (remember my love of them?), they both, along with their companions The Giver and Gather Blue pose lots of good questions to readers of any age.  In fact, I almost think that I got more out of them this time around than I did when I had first read their predecessors.  Reading these was like returning to an old friend, a true joy.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Kind of a “and now for something completely different” moment right here.  Mindy Kaling was, of course, one of the writers of The Office, and currently the creator and star of her own show, The Mindy Project.  The book is a memoir (I guess?  I’m not really sure about the definition of these things) of her childhood and her quest to be a writer/actress on stage or screen.  It covers up to and partially including her time at The Office.  Just like she is on screen, Mindy is entertaining and engaging on a page.  And funny.  Of course funny.  But you already knew that much, right?  Recommended to anyone who enjoyed Bossypants by Tina Fey.

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I am still reading, though somewhat less lately, I expect to have another review post in a month or two.  In the meantime, have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?