I have always loved books – as far back as I can remember and then some (or so I’ve been told). I spent countless hours in my local library or perusing my grandmother’s bookshelves (often reading books well above my content-appropriate age level…oops). So when I got to college, an English Lit degree seemed only natural. Then I decided to go to law school, which was a decision that has approved to be a blessing and a curse on many, many levels. I learned to read, digest, and outline hundreds of pages a day. Now I’m not bragging about this – it serves me well in some situations but also makes buying books impractical. Nowadays, the better the book the faster it’s consumed, leaving me very grateful for digital libraries! (smile)
My biggest issue now is finding books that are quality, which is why I was so excited to find the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge hosted by Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life. If you haven’t checked this out yet, there’s still plenty of time to join in!
I thought it would be fun to do a check-in post and to give a quick review of each book for anyone interested in recommendations.
5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 200 pages long. – The Firebird by Susanna Kearsly (566 pages, 3 stars).
This book is a follow up to The Winter Sea (which I really enjoyed). It’s a little fantasy, a little romance, and a lot historical so I felt like it all balanced out pretty well. It’s set between Scotland and Russia, which is an interesting combination. Overall, an easy and entertaining read.
10 points: Finish reading a book you couldn’t finish the first time around. – The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson (400 pages, 3.5 stars).
I can’t really remember what originally inspired me to download this book, but I do remember finding it a bit slow to start. Perhaps that’s the reason I didn’t get very far into it the first time around. This time, however, the subject matter intersected nicely with some other research/reading I’ve been doing so I found it a bit easier to stick with it and finish. The plot involves a non-believing minister meeting the Devil. It’s an interesting read on modern religious ideas and by the end I found myself nodding along to some of the more ironic points. Definitely must be read with an open mind.
15 points:Read a historical fiction book that does not take place in Europe. – The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (US history) (384 pages, 3 stars).
Also a book involving a little magic mixed with religion (I’m on a roll apparently), this book focuses on the history of the Salem witch trials. I found it to be well-written and insightful. It lost a star as the ending seemed a bit rushed and out of proportion to the rest of the book somehow.
20 points: Read a book that was/will be adapted to film in 2014. – The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (352 pages, 5 stars).
Okay yes, I totally jumped on board with this one. Usually I don’t have much luck reading books that everyone is talking about, but I literally read this entire book between the time I got home and (a reasonable) bed time. There are a lot of heavy themes in this book – being a teenager, young love, cancer, and dying to name a few – but the writing still manages to keep things light enough to propel you forward. It’s not a happy ending, but I still found myself smiling while sniffling there at the end. I’m not sure if I’ll see the movie or not, but I’ll definitely be re-reading the book!
25 points: Read a biography, autobiography or memoir. – In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White (memoir) (352 pages, 3 stars).
This is a memoir about a typical middle-class businessman that ends up in prison for a year. The twist? He was housed at Carville, a prison/hospital in Louisiana that housed individuals with leprosy. I appreciate the history I got from this book – I mean I certainly never realized this place existed and I’ve probably actually driven nearby a time or two. The book isn’t extraordinarily well written, but the sentiment and the history are there for redemption.
PREVIOUS POINTS: 0
TOTAL POINTS: 75
Recommendations always welcomed!!