Welcome to Friday Reads. Each Friday, I’ll review any books I’ve completed that week, as well as share what I’m reading right now. And by “Each Friday,” I mean “some Fridays.”
I tried to post an update last week but decided it was more important to spend time reading than figuring out WordPress updates. And this week, same thing. So though I should be reading, I’m going to try to fight through a post instead.
Also, I’m now finished with 37 books, which means I’m only one behind with 10 days to go.
Caroline: Little House, Revisited – Sarah Miller – 3.5* (Dec 11)
I was a big fan of the original Little House series as a young girl so it was interesting to see part of that story presented from Ma’s point of view. While Laura was mostly excited to have an adventure, Ma worried about their safety, about whether they had enough to eat, about what awaited them in Kansas, and about the baby she carried inside.
This telling feels a lot more “real” than Laura’s version and sometimes that’s not a good thing. On one hand, it was interesting to hear about how certain practical matters were handled. On the other, I got really tired of reading about “the necessary.” And I really didn’t need TWO sex scenes. Especially one containing the word “spurt.” Reading about Ma and Pa Ingalls having sex is a little like thinking about your own parents and that’s just not something most of us want in our lives.
Another issue worth mentioning is how the character felt about the Indians. They were moving to Kansas, which they regularly referred to as Indian Territory. The attitudes depicted about crowding the Indians out, waiting for them to move on, felt gross, even if they may have been the norm.
Overall, an interesting addition to the Little House saga. I might even read my little blue box of the originals again. But I don’t think I’ll buy this one for my permanent collection.
Another Day – David Levithan – 3.75* (Dec 16)
At 70%, I added a note: “Overall, this book isn’t giving me much more story than its companion and there have been times when it felt like a waste of time. But reading Rhiannon’s thoughts as she considers how she judges and feels based on physical characteristics is worthwhile. The car vs driver comparison may stick with me for a long time.”
And now that I’m done, that impression stands. The most valuable aspect of this book is the expansion of a theme from the first – even if the personality is exactly the same, how do people react differently based on various exteriors? Rhiannon really struggled with this and it made me think how I would react in the same situation. She starts to compare the body to a car and the personality to the driver, which I found very interesting.
I read the first book early in the year and I don’t feel this added much to the story, except to make Rhiannon a fuller character for the sequel.
Someday – David Levithan – 3* (Dec 20)
Based on the ending (no spoilers), I’m assuming this is the final book in this series.
I was left feeling disappointed when it was over. The ending felt random and rushed. The war I thought they would be fighting became more of a battle and it wasn’t fulfilling. Many chapters present viewpoints of characters we’ve never seen before – and never see again. It would seem those are meant to expand the universe, make us wonder how many more travelers are out there, but it never comes together with our primary characters.
I also disliked that the book fell into a typical YA trope of the MIA parents. Alexander’s parents both travel – convenient. Justin’s are at work weird hours. Almost every body A inhabits manages to get clear for the day to do whatever A wants.
The themes surrounding inclusiveness and focus on personality rather than body and labels are still present, but the focus is more on morality. It’s necessary because they’re fighting “evil” but it doesn’t resonate as strongly for me.
It’s not the strong ending I would’ve hoped for, if this is indeed the end of the series. But I like a book that challenges how I think and these definitely did that.
Bad Dreams and Other Stories – Tessa Hadley – 65%
Ugh, this book. Seriously. It’s not that it’s bad – it’s that it isn’t drawing me back. I managed to read one more story and I’ll finish it by the end of the year but it’s taking forever..
I have several books checked out of the library right now. I also have a couple of shorter books on my own shelves, including one I just received as a Christmas gift. But I’ll dig into something again soon – only 10 days to finish three books!