July 10, 2012

more books ...

Yikes.  It's a while since I've reported my recent readings.  So here's my last 6 months of readings.  Some excellent (TKAM, Night, & Out of the Dust, I'm talking to YOU!).  Some not so excellent...


A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. sweet, innocent, charming, cozy book. reminiscent of Anne of Green Gables, tho with a big dose of naturalist detail. The delightfulness of this book is enough to make me forgive some of the book's flaws, including, but not limited to the following: 1. the author [poorly] uses dialogue to move her story forward and reveal everyone's thoughts about everything, having all the characters deliver loooonng speeches to make their opinions known - the dialogues, unfortunately, come across as being [to me, anyway] very inauthentic & unrealistic. 2. The narrative moves in jerks and starts. ie. in the middle of a chapter, after having spent several chapters developing the protagonist's journey to a high school education, the author abruptly advances the narrative ahead 4 years to graduation ceremonies. But, like I said, I'm totally willing to overlook the weaknesses, because this was a thoroughly enjoyable little book. (btw, this was a free Kindle upload)

Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter. meh. 'twas just ok for me. the book that comes before A Girl of the Limberlost ...

The Chalk Girl by Carol O'Connell. the latest book in my all-time fav mystery/suspense series. loved it. I may have to start this series over, way back at the beginning, while awaiting the next one ...

Reread To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Y'know how sometimes when you reread a favorite years after you've first read it, it's somehow just less than you remember it being? I needn't have feared that happening with TKAM. It's still awesome.

The Princess and the Goblin & The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald - there's a reason C.S. Lewis holds George MacDonald in such high regard.  These were both beautiful stories.

Distant Land of my Father by Bo Caldwell.  This was a $1 download for Kindle.  Interesting story, well told.

The 13 Clocks by James Thurber.  Quirky, funny, Fairy-tale-meets-The-Phantom-Tollbooth.  I laughed my way through it, and then read it aloud to my younger dudes over breakfast for a couple weeks.  Totally enjoyable.  Thanks, Heidi, for the recommendation!

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy.  Meh.  Not my cuppa.  Not really sure why this particular book is considered classic, except that perhaps it was the first "ordinary man as a masked superhero"?  Anywhoo, this was picked by my bookclub.  Free Kindle download :-).

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. One of Middle Dude's school books that I'd never heard of. So I read it. And it's quite good. Free prose (not usually my preference) - but it very nicely "fits" the frugality, sparseness and quiet desperateness of the dust bowl years.

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen.  YA book that Middle Dude read and passed on to me.  Enjoyable & quick reading, if a bit predictable.  The characters were all a little too "modern" feeling to be medieval-ish times.  And the biggest flaw:  written in first person narrative (except for a jarring 1-2 chapter switch to omniscient 3rd person observer), but first person was telling the narrative while keeping "secrets" (which, truth be told, weren't very secret).

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (the original, not "restored" edition).  I did NOT like this.  At all.  It was my bookclub's selection.  And, as it's almost un-American not to revere Hemingway, I thought that perhaps it was just this book of his that I didn't like.  So I picked up ...

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.  But I also did NOT like that book.  So I'm hereby giving up Hemingway for ever.  And ever.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.  The newest pick for my bookclub.  Free Kindle download.  Because a couple of our club members have seen and loved the BBC Sherlock series (myself included), we decided to delve into Conan Doyle's original character.  Fun, light reading.  Fun to compare Doyle's Sherlock to the BBC thoroughly modern Sherlock.

The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery.  Gosh, Ann of Green Gables is one of my favorite books.  Ever.  And L.M. Montgomery claims that The Story Girl is her favorite book that she wrote.  So, it was a no-brainer for me to read, right?  I came to the conclusion that it must be her favorite for sentimental reasons (it's highly autobiographical; Lucy *is* the Story Girl).  I did not like this story, Sam-I-Am.  I did not like it at all. In the words of BBC-Sherlock, "Bor-ing."  I skimmed.  Heavily.  And finally stopped reading a few chapters before the ending.  Never finished.  That's how much I wasn't into The Story Girl (despite it being a sweet, innocent, old-fashioned telling of a charming childhood.  just not enough plot for me.)

Night by Elie Wiesel (edition translated by Marion Wiesel).  First person Holocaust narrative.  This sparsely-told, powerfully written book should be a "must read" for every. single. person.

Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell.  I did decide to start this wonderful series over again at the beginning. My summer reading :-).  One of the things I really remember enjoying about the first (four?) books is the larger inclusion of the offbeat-funny-smart-diverse-quick-witted supporting cast of characters (mostly the close friends of Mallory's deceased adoptive dad).  In this first book, Charles (one of my favorite characters from the series, one who seemingly has a smaller and smaller role as the series gets further along) was a "starring role".  Fun to get reacquainted with him.  And the earlier Mallory.



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5 comments:

Prairie Mother said...

Yeah, I've found Hemingway hard to read too. But the Old Man and the Sea for some reason I'm a fan of.

Gene Stratton Porter too is a hard read, maybe because of the time period. I grew up very near the area that inspired her naturalistic writing, Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost. When I was a girl my aunt took me to Porter's home, a tourist site. What a beautiful place!! The flora and trees, it makes reading the books more enjoyable after you've seen where she lived. :)

Michelle said...

Thank you for posting this! I will be checking out several of the books you mentioned. Also, you scared me with your TKAM review. I was totally thinking you were going to say it was "less than" the second time around. ;)

Tracy P. said...

I love your book reviews. They make me want to read. Which I don't. But still. I loved TKAM in high school and have often thought I should read it again. Maybe I will!

Timothy Keller relates parts of The Princess and the Goblin in his King's Cross, and it sounded like a great read. I need to keep that one in mind.

Andrea said...

Love me a book list!! In fact, I read this while waiting at the doctors, then went to Target (for a ton of stuff) and bought Chalk Girl! Can't wait to get started!
Thank you!

Life with Kaishon said...

I like to read your book reviews. And every time I do, I think, "Oh my, I hope she never come to my book shelf."