what i read : april to june 2013

July 5, 2013

So I’ve still been reading, and here’s what I read and what I thought.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller: Although this isn’t my favorite of Donald Miller’s books I still appreciated so many things about it. I love his writing style and even when he seems like he’s just rambling I enjoy it. I have never really thought of my life in terms of a story and it was helpful to think about what makes a good one and how that can apply to real life. The anecdotes were great, some of them extremely touching. It was also a fast and easy read. (3 stars)

Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist: I have never read Shauna’s blog and I don’t remember how I ended up with this book but I know it was given to me. I was in the mood for a memoir so I picked it up, and I enjoyed it. The chapters are kind of random and don’t exactly follow any kind of order, so in that way I felt like I was reading a series of long blog posts. I don’t think I liked that part, but everything did follow a theme and I found myself tearing up many times throughout. I think the one main feeling I had when I finished, and probably the one thing I will think about when I remember this book, is that it encouraged me to look for community and to foster relationships intentionally. (3 stars)

Wild by Cheryl Strayed: This is not a short book, and I have a job and a toddler, but I still managed to read it in less than two days. That’s how good it is. I don’t know if the author and I would be friends in real life, but I liked her and admired her for her honesty and her courage. Her story was inspiring. It made me want to do something brave. (5 stars)

Matched by Ally Condie: This was a YA dystopia that was an easy & fast read. The world and plot were compelling enough and I am interested to see what happens. The writing is simple and straightforward with short sentences which seems to be the norm for this genre. My problem was with the characters. I didn’t feel like they were developed at ALL. There was a love triangle, but I honestly couldn’t care which guy she chose because they were both fine, and one was quickly friend-zoned so the romantic tension fell flat in that area. Overall I thought it was average for the genre, although I would read the next one to find out what happens. (3 stars)

Abhorsen by Garth Nix: Only the perfect conclusion to one of my now all-time favorite series. And seriously, the audiobook, narrated by Tim Curry, is amazing. This was supremely satisfying and I recommend the whole trilogy starting with Sabriel. (audiobook, 5 stars)

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler: This is a very heavily character-driven book, so if you need a fast-paced plot to keep you interested this isn’t for you. But I loved it. It was a book club choice and I was super worried when I read that it was about a man recovering from his son’s death because I tend to become an emotional wreck faced with tragedies happening to children. But the book starts about a year after the death and for some reason that softened the blow. Of course there were some emotional parts, but the focus wasn’t on the tragedy, it was on the character of Macon Leary: who he was and who he became in the wake of it. I say it focused on Macon, and that’s true, but ALL of the characters are amazingly clear. His two brothers, sister, boss, the woman he meets after his wife leaves him…even the dog is a character all his own. I laughed and I cried, truly. It was such an enjoyable read. (4 stars)

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin: Her first book The Happiness Project was almost revolutionary to me and so inspiring. This wasn’t exactly the same but very close. It felt too similar to the first to grab me the same way, but I did get ideas. (3 stars)

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen: It’s been a long time since I read a book like this, just completely light and feel-good. It was just what I needed at the moment and made me happy. (4 stars)

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin: A new fantasy series that was recommended to me and was quite interesting. The first half reminded me so much of another book but then everything changed and I got into it more. She developed a really great character that made me want to know what he would do with his life. (audiobook, 4 stars)

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier: This was fine. Just fine. It was historical fiction and I did appreciate the writing in that descriptions of a maid’s lifestyle and all the mundane tasks didn’t bore me. I wouldn’t say it was a romance even though there were hints of it. Probably a little disappointing for what I wanted out of it, but it was fine. (3 stars)

Unafraid by Francine Rivers: I read this for a church book club; I was supremely touched by the content of it and it made me think about the life of Jesus on earth as I never have before. The writing is average though – I have read better from this author. (3 stars)

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin: This was the second of the Earthsea books. It had an entirely different protagonist and the wizard that we came to love in the first book didn’t show up until partway through. I enjoyed the new setting but the first half of the book was starting from scratch with character- and world-building. It really picks up with his appearance though. (4 stars)

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: Who doesn’t know what this is about by now? I am personally totally hooked on the story and am going through withdrawals as I wait for the next audiobook to be available from the library. I liked it from the beginning but it took until about halfway for me to really feel pulled in. I am sure that I will continue with the entire series even though it’s forever long. (audiobook, 4 stars)

Posted in: books & reading, books & reading, what i read

Comments on what i read : april to june 2013

  1. 1

    From Scott:

    It can’t be understated how good Abhorsen is. I’m also happy to see you are enjoying the Earthsea series – I really appreciate how LeGuin is willing to take a chance with the sequels and not just rely on the strength of Ged as a protagonist. I think more series would benefit from that kind of risk taking.

  2. 2

    From Jennifer:

    I just finished Matched, too (wanted a quick & easy read), and I feel the same. I’m not excited for the second book in the series, but I would like to know what happens!

  3. 3

    From Nora:

    I think my biggest complaint with bloggers turned writers/memoir-ists is that it does feel like long blog posts. That is why I didn’t love the bloggess book that much, at least in my opinion. And the rambling is hard for me. And yet Tina Fey’s book rambled and I enjoyed that one. So maybe it’s just me, who knows :)

    Way to go on the reading. I’m currently knee deep in summer lit cause I can’t handle anything serious right now. The series is called “The Ivy” and it’s labeled for “high school” students so I guess YA. If you liked Gilmore Girls ever it’s a good read as it’s a Harvard/Yale story with a bit of teen drama. And it’s funny and catchy, at least I think so!

  4. 4

    From rachieannie:

    I love reading what books you read/listened to! I always get good ideas. I read Game of Thrones, and I really wanted to find out what happened to all of the characters, but I could not deal with the blood and gore, so I went online and read spoilers. Lame I know, but it worked.

  5. 5

    From kapachino:

    That’s funny! I’ve done that with series that I liked enough but didn’t want to put the effort into finishing. Also I listened to Game of Thrones on audio and I think maybe it was easier to deal with that way? Like, I don’t think I envisioned it as clearly as when I read, and since I was driving I was also kinda distracted. I’m reading the second one now so I’ll see how it compares.

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