Joining Rebecca today for What'cha Reading? Wednesday!
I set a goal for myself on Goodreads to read 30 books this year. Counting the books I read is not something I normally do, but after keeping track of my reading last year, I decided I could bump it up at least a little this year. Reviewing my list at the end of January, I see that I have read four books already, so 30 seems like a very attainable goal.
After Christmas, I snagged several books for $3.00 or less at Barnes & Noble's clearance sale. I have read two of them so far, and while not outstanding, they were definitely worth the small price I paid for them.
Anna McPartlin's Pack up the Moon is the best book I have read so far in 2011. It is a story of love and grief, but not in a sappy, overdone way. The characters are Irish, which was fun, but I had to adjust to their tone of speaking. The tragedy occurs very early on in the book, so you don't have a lot of time to get much of a feel for the characters before the action happens, but it is the characters' reactions to the tragedy that makes up the bulk of the story. I knew (or guessed, I suppose) what was coming from the first few chapters, but that did not make the story less enjoyable. Overall, it's a relatively well-written story with a satisfying conclusion.
The Center of Everything is another of my bargain books that turned out to be well worth the money. When I bought it, I thought it might actually be a young adult novel, but after reading it, I'm not quite sure (and I am too lazy to find out for sure either way). It is told from the point of view of a young girl, Evelyn, spanning from ages 11-17, I believe. I am not always a fan of the child narrator, but it was done well even in the sections of the book where Evelyn is young. The book is set in the 1980s, so it was fun for this '80s baby' to catch some of the references. Touching on everything from death and depression to love and religion, this one was a bit heavy at times, but enjoyable.
I saw the trailer for this movie awhile back and thought it sounded interesting. I came across the book in my browsing recently and when I realized it was just $5.00 on Kindle, I went for it. I don't want to give the key plot point away, for that is the most interesting part of an otherwise boring story. Never Let Me Go is interesting as a discussion starter for some morality issues, but there is not much else to redeem this book. The writing is very conversational, like the narrator is chatting with an old friend, but it takes too many tangents and includes too many details about unimportant events from the characters' childhoods. For what should be an emotional story, I found I had a surprising lack of empathy for the characters, mostly because I didn't feel I knew enought to care about any of them personally. The whole book is written in sort of a detached tone, which seems odd for a first-person narration. I sort of wanted to shake the characters for not trying harder, for just accepting things the way they are. If there had been more explanation as to why they didn't do more to escape their fate, I might have been a bit more pleased with the novel. I don't exactly consider this book a waste of time, but it certainly could have been much better. I might see the movie eventually, just to see if I am as frustrated as I was with the book.
If you're looking for something to read in the next few weeks, Marcia and I are getting ready to read through Francis Chan's Crazy Love. I am feeling a need to spend a little quiet time getting back to what's important in my life in this new year, and I think this might be just what I need. If anyone else would like to join us in reading Crazy Love, we would love to have you! I think we will just read through it a bit at a time and discuss our ideas on the book. Just leave a comment here if you want to join us and we will figure out the details.