For such a short month, I crammed in a lot of reading. Thank you, winter storms and long plane trips!
Let’s get started:
Attachments – Rainbow Rowell – 4.5* – (Feb. 6):
My second Rainbow Rowell. I forgot I was on the waitlist at the library for this one but I was happy to dive in when it became available. It was a quick read. For a debut novel, it was impressive. The characters here are adults, though the main male character seems sort of in that middle ground of being adult in age but not quite in actions/lifestyle. I don’t know how well this book will hold up over time, given the theme of Lincoln the IT Guy reading email that’s been caught by the company spam filter. It’s set around the Y2K craziness despite publishing in 2011 so maybe that’s not really a concern. I always feel kind of odd when tech plays a central role in the story. Still, ultimately it was just the means to his “spying” on Jennifer and Beth’s emails. It was fun seeing the exchanges between the friends, both via email and Lincoln’s exchanges with his friends. The collisions of worlds were awkward and kept things moving. Rainbow didn’t disappoint.
#jhbc choice. I gave this one 5* for the story, 3* for the writing. Louis Zamperini’s story of survival and resourcefulness kept me reading, hoping as he did that the next transfer would bring relief. Of course, he had a long way to go before that was the case. It’s amazing what he and the other POWs endured. However, Hillenbrand’s writing felt very uninspired to me. She had amazing material to work with and firsthand access to so many of the people involved. Yet she wrote as if completely detached. It was like reading a clinical thesis. Had the story itself not been so compelling, I would’ve never made it through 400+ pages. I’m looking forward to the movie.
If I Stay – Gayle Forman – 4* – (Feb. 17):
The main character in this story, 17-year-old Mia, has a promising life ahead. But a terrible accident leaves her experiencing an out-of-body situation and she must decide if she will stay or go. I’ve been interested in this story for awhile, in part because when I was slightly younger than Mia, I had my own near-death/out-of-body experience. I guess I wanted to see how the book handled it. Mia’s situation was much different than mine. Mia was a complex character. Maybe because her parents were a bit unconventional in how they raised her, at times I appreciated her mature thinking (for example, she realized how difficult the job of the social worker must be) but at other times, it seemed a bit unrealistic that at her age she would be allowed out at all hours pre-accident at parties, her little brother drinking coffee, etc. It was a quick read and I’m on the waiting list at the library for book #2. I’ll probably catch the movie at some point.
New York Stories (Everyman’s Pocket Classics) – Diana Secker Tesdell – 4* – (Feb. 17):
How do you really rate a collection of short stories? This is my first collection in forever and I’m not sure. The theme was New York and all stories hit the theme in different ways. I reviewed each along the way. I enjoyed some more than others and skipped two because I couldn’t get into them at all. I enjoyed being exposed to different authors and look forward to more titles in the Everyman’s Pocket Classics series. In the end I gave it 4 stars because I didn’t love every story but I enjoyed the overall experience.
I admit – I bought this book based on the title and the jacket. Not always the best idea. But in this case, it worked out. It was a very delightful read! Wilfred is such a romantic and one day, swept up in the moment, a yellow dress and trifle are enough for him to propose marriage. This story is about the consequences. The book is sometimes quite light and lovely but often delves much deeper into the motivations faced by the characters. Even when I didn’t particularly like the characters, I mostly understood their actions. There are unexpected turns and moments that I found heart-breaking. Wilfred Price is a gem of a character.
Before I Go To Sleep – SJ Watson – 5* – (Feb. 28):
It’s my first 5* book of the year! This book is everything I love, though the reviews are mixed and I understand why. It’s a psychological thriller about a woman with amnesia. Every morning, she awakes with her memory erased – never to exactly the same point – and the man in her bed has to explain all over again that she was in an accident, he is her husband, she can’t build new memories, and this is how they live now. But there are secrets. She’s been seeing a doctor her husband doesn’t know about and she’s been rebuilding her memory by writing things in a hidden journal. I absolutely loved this book and it’s twists and shocks. Just when I thought we’d hit the epilogue, things went completely crazy. A movie was made with Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth – great cast but it received little attention. I’m anxious to see it but have low expectations based on the trailer.
Eddie and Sunny – Stacey Cochran – unrated* – (Feb. 28):
I edited “Eddie and Sunny” last December and the release date is March 3rd but I’m counting it in February as a placeholder for another manuscript I read/edited that month (a prequel for Astrid “Artistikem” Cruz and The Caregiver series”). Usually I would use a children’s book in this situation. Somehow, I think I missed counting “Eddie and Sunny” at all in 2014. As for giving this book stars or doing a review, I’d prefer not to do that. I’ll write up my editing experience (a rush job, last-minute over a weekend) on my professional blog. The author didn’t include my name within the published piece, but I did the work just the same.
That makes 13 of 40. Not too shabby!
Regarding reading diversity – eh. I completed my first volume of short stories but haven’t started another yet. I read another non-fiction book. I seem to be reading a lot of YA, which feels weird to me. I think there were a couple of YA stories/authors I was interested in and they became available all at once. I received my first graphic novel as a gift during February so I’ll likely read that during March. I’ll probably read more of Waking Up by Sam Harris this month as well. I only made it to February 5th before buying books to add to my TBR shelf. A relocated used bookstore was to blame for starting the avalanche. And then International Book Giving Day. And then books were just pretty… Oops.
In January I read 2010 pages and in February I read 2166 pages for a total so far of 4176 pages in 2015.
Have you read any of these books or seen the movies? Are any of them on your list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!