All around, this month was pretty fantastic. See my post on writing and life for the month of March to see what else has been going on. BUT – that’s not why we’re here on this post, is it? (The answer is no…it’s not)
We are here to talk about reading. One of my abso favorite things to do and discuss, and this month I got in FIVE books!
For me that’s pretty amazing, but I also believe it’s a testament to dedicating myself to reading a minimum amount every month, which has then led to me reading even more every month. I’ve also been watching a lot less TV. Heck, there are days when I come home from work that the TV never even gets turned on because I’m reading instead (do not fret TV addicts, this is actually fantastic news!)
I’ve spent several snowy days this month curled up on my sofa, reading and watching the snow fall outside. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to just read and relax through the meditation of the written word.
I have read my entire life, but lately either because of all the writing I’ve been doing, or because of the increased amount of reading, my LOVE for it has expanded. My adoration at being whisked away to another world, the emotional journey those pages take me on, everything – it has all just increased. How can a person be a reader and not be in love, deeply in love, with the world? This is what reading does for me.
Sorry! Enough with the mushy goo, on with the list!
Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Book two in the HP series and the continuation of my revisiting these wonderful books. As I’ve mentioned, on this go around I’m doing the audiobooks, and they are worth listening to if you haven’t done so. They have a charm all their own, and are an enhancement the series.
After I’d finished reading The Sorcerer’s Stone (book one) I watched the movie, and enjoyed it so much that I went ahead and watched the second movie (for this book) that same night. Which kiiiiiiiiind of gave away some of the things I had forgotten about this book, and ever so slightly wrecked it a bit for me. I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. I’m reading the third book in the series in April, and it’s so hard to wait and not watch the movie before I’m done reading it…ahhhh!
Armada: A Novel by Ernest Cline
Hmmm…yeahhhhh, this one was a toughy. I ignored the (mostly) negative reviews on this book and read it anyway. And yes, I gave this book a chance based on the fact I adore the author’s first book Ready Player One (which is seriously one of my top-ten favorite books of all time).
So, was Armada boring like the reviews said? Yes.
Was it cliché like the reviews said? Yes.
Was the foreshadowing done badly? Yes, so much yes.
It was way overdone, and so glaringly obvious I can only liken it to a blaring klaxon horn, saying over and over again, many times before any action actually happened, “THIS IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN!” and then it would happen, and that is kind of disappointing.
But you know, with all that said, there were some things I thoroughly enjoyed about this book.
First: Wil Wheaton read this on audiobook, and he’s probably the most perfect choice in the entire universe to read Cline’s novels (Wil’s amazing, love him on audiobooks!)
Second: One of the quickest ways to my heart is a healthy appreciation and/or dedication to all things 80’s. And Mr. Cline is basically a walking encyclopedia of 80’s fantasticness, which as a stand alone fact makes me a dedicated fan of his, like pretty much for life.
Third: Cline’s funny, like really funny, and it comes across in his writing. His writing has style, personality, and its fun to read – or rather listen to Wil Wheaton read to me, haha!
Honestly, had this novel not been written right after the serious amazingness of Ready Player One, it may not have fallen so hard. But because I was such a fan of RPO, it was near impossible for me to not compare or have expectations going into this book, and that definitely colored my opinion. I’m also not sure any other book will ever be able to compare to RPO, which could be a bad thing for Mr. Cline, or depending on how you look at life, it could be a very good thing.
Kiss The Girls by James Patterson
Wow, holy shit this book was boring. Maybe it was just me, or maybe it was because I had seen the movie (with Morgan Freeman) so many times before reading this book that I already knew most of the story. In addition, I didn’t like the main character, Dr. Alex Cross, although I didn’t hate him either. I didn’t like or hate him. I didn’t feel anything for him, at all.
And in the book he’s having all these romantic feelings towards one of the other main characters while his niece is being held captive by a madman who is torturing and raping her repeatedly?! I guess I just found that bit really off-putting (Morgan Freeman would never do that shit!) I can’t imagine if someone I loved was being held captive by a serial killer/madman that I’d be off thinking about getting my dick wet. Sorry, that part just seriously annoyed the living crap out of me. Anyway…
I did like the main female character Kate – she was a strong and lovely written character and I appreciated her very much.
Also, the twist of who Casanova was didn’t come as a surprise for me because again, I had seen the movie too many times. I am willing to take into consideration that the movie may have diminished some of the shine of this book’s appeal. And maybe Mr. Patterson’s writing has improved since this book, but the advice he gave in his Masterclass videos was not evident in this book. I just found this one boring, and after it I’m not in any hurry to rush out and grab up anymore of Mr. Patterson’s books. Although considering his mass appeal and success, I’m willing to succeed the fact that I probably stand alone in this opinion. Oh well…Lol…on to the next one!
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
Okay, so this book simultaneously fascinated me and left me outraged. Which made me appreciate it all the more because I did have such an emotional reaction.
The book is about a young woman named Delores and her life growing up. That’s it. No really, that’s it. Sounds so simple right? Yet somehow the journey is far more complex.
In the beginning I was drawn in enough by the main character to keep reading, so that by the time I realized I had no emotional connection with this character, and in fact, despised Delores, I was hooked. Also the side characters are so beautifully done, they kept me engaged enough to keep reading through my outrage at Delores’s behavior. I could not stand her! I’m totally not kidding either. I mean, I wanted to feel for her. Goodness knows she goes through enough shit that I should have felt more sympathetic to her plight, regardless of her behavior. But man! Her really awful, terrible attitude kept me feeling cold and indifferent towards her. Don’t worry it gets better, and this is just my opinion anyway. For me this was the appeal of the book, Delores is supposed to be that way! The events in her life are exactly the things that shut her down emotionally and are the reasons she has built this wall around her heart. She not only keeps most of the other characters in the book at arm’s length, she also keeps the reader at arm’s length.
Wow, just wow. The author does a fantastic job of doing this pull in/push away thing. In fact, I think Mr. Lamb might be magic.
Delores does finally began to win me over when she brings her old guidance councilor an African Violet – read the book to know what I mean – but this was also the beginning of her showing any kind of vulnerability. That’s when I knew she had it in her to be human, and she began to not only let me in, but some of the other characters as well.
And her recall of the memory with her Grandmother and the pebble in her rosary, yeah, that’s when I knew her Grandmother had it in her too. They just both kept it so locked up and hidden away. ::sigh:: I couldn’t help but slowly begin to understand how they worked, and through that understanding, my love for them both blossomed and took off.
Again, I attribute the host of side characters for keeping me engaged enough to see the story through. I adored Roberta – just adored her. Kind of even hope to be just like her as I age 🙂
I did cry at the end of the book, but strangely enough, it was out of a kind of frustration. The ending was so ambivalent, and I was sort of shocked at what I’d just gone through in this story. I mean, I don’t really read books like this, I have no experience with such things! It was…wow, just no words for it. I actually slammed the book down on the coffee table, yelling “Damn it, never again!” Although I’m not sure how true that is, maybe again, one day.
I’ll say this, there is a lot to learn about the writing world; what people are writing and what you can do with a story. It doesn’t have to all be worldbuilding…man there’s so much to know. Anyway this book is an adventure; a very strange adventure indeed.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Yay, yay, yay…so much yay for this book. I bought a copy of it cause I have a fan-girl crush on the author, which basically means I knew I was going to love it even before I read it.
And I did.
I even highlighted portions of is ::GASP!:: I’ve never done that before, marked up a book. Holy balls man, was it liberating! Too often I find myself flipping through the pages of a book looking for that one line that stood out/resonated with me, and I can’t find it again. This time I was all like, “Fuck it. Who says I can’t mark up my own book.” Seriously, fuck that purist idea of clean pages, books are meant to be enjoyed. Break that spine, highlight those sentences. ENJOY IT! – Okay, enough about that rant. I’m sure I lost some of you there. And if you’re a purist, hey enjoy that too! As a reformed purist though, I can tell you, liberation feels fine. But this is not why we are here, so back to the book.
As I said, I went in to this book already a fan of the author; this is her story. I like her writing style, I like her journey, I like how it ended. I’m a fan.
Btw, the book is so far superior to the movie, you’re truly doing yourself a disservice if you only watch the movie (or watch it at all, but that just may be how I felt about it. Of course I watched it directly on the heels of having read the book, which mayyyy have been the problem there).
Anyway, it’s about her journey for spirituality, peace, God, and a reminder of what pleasure can be like. In the end she is rewarded with: Love. Which IS my friends, the answer to all of it.
Through her journey she learns to forgive herself, open herself, and love herself. This is how she becomes a peron able to allow others to love her. See how this works? Oh it’s good. It’s deep, it’s funny, and worth reading. Two thumbs up Ms. Gilbert!
P.S. I’m going to see her speak in May – so excited I can hardly contain myself. Which also means another of her books Big Magic, is on my April reading list 😉
Thanks for coming along on this little adventure. I fear I won’t get as much reading done next month with everything going on in April, but fret not! I will still be reading and you should still come back to check it out and discuss it all with me. See you then!