I’ve just finished reading a number of books and I wanted to give a quick recap on them while they are top of mind. I am also in the market for a new book, so if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris: I think I must be the only person alive who hadn’t read a David Sedaris book, but I finally got around to it while I was in Mexico. Overall I thought it was pretty good. I’d give it a B. There were parts of the book where I was literally laughing out loud and there were parts that were really boring. I wish he would have written more about his brother the “Rooster”, that was my favorite part. I’m always amazed how authors can turn a seemingly boring life tidbit into an interesting and engaging story.
Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand: Until I read this book, I had never even heard the name Louie Zamperini. Now I’m in complete awe of this man who endured so much. Hillenbrand takes you through his life first as a troubled youth, then as an Olympic contender, then as a bombardier in WW2 and a plane crash survivor, then as a POW and lastly as a veteran. The unforgettable story is a page turner and makes me want to read Hillenbrand’s other book Seabiscuit. I highly recommend this book and I give it an A!
Escape, Carolyn Jessop and Laura Palmer: I stumbled across this book on Amazon and decided to give it a try. It’s a memoir written by a woman who escaped from the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints with her eight children. Carolyn was born into a polygamous family and was later married off at the age of 18 as the 4th wife to a prominent figure in the FLDS. Her story is powerful and heart-wrenching. I give this book an A-.
Half Broke Horses, Jeanette Walls: While this story is not as memorable as Walls’ other novel The Glass Castle, it is still a good story and I enjoyed it. For those who did read The Glass Castle, Half Broke Horses details the life of Jeannette’s maternal grandmother Lily Casey Smith who was a no-nonsense, hard working woman in the American Southwest. I’d give this book a B.
The Widower’s Tale, Julia Glass: I hate to keep comparing books to the author’s previous books, but I can’t help it! The Widower’s Tale was good, but not nearly as fulfilling as Three Junes. The parts of this book that I loved: complex, real characters, interesting family dynamics, and a plot that demonstrates how people intersect and influence other lives. Overall, I found the plot to be a little lacking. I also started to get impatient with one of the storylines. If you have not read Julia Glass, read Three Junes. If you have already read Three Junes, give The Widower’s Tale a try (I give it a B+)!
Green River, Running Red, Ann Rule: I read this book because it was on my Kindle, it’s not typically the kind of book I read but I liked it. Well, that’s not entirely true. I really wanted to like it, but it was just ok. It’s interesting but boring. I wish she would have focused more on Gary Ridgeway and his motives, upbringing, lifestyle, etc. I feel like she barely scraped the surface on him. Instead she gives a biography of each of the victims, which is a noble idea, but it gets redundant to read. I also think she gave too many details on the individual law enforcement officials. I couldn’t care less what officer ABC was wearing or who he married or who attended his retirement party. I give this book a B-.
Don’t bother reading
The Blue Notebook, James A. Levine: I really didn’t care for this book. This is a fictional story about a 9 year old that was sold into prostitution in Mumbai. The book started out ok, but went bad quickly and the ending was bizarre. For me, the narrator/main character wasn’t believable and the writing felt VERY FORCED. One minute she was writing sophisticated and insightful poems and the next minute she’s talking to a stuffed tiger. It didn’t make any sense to me. I also detested how she referred to rape as “making sweet cakes”. I would not bother with this book, I give it a D+.
Room: A Novel, Emma Donoghue: This is a very fast read, but I wouldn’t say it’s a good read. I was disappointed because it received good reviews and I thought the concept had potential. The story is about a boy and his mother who are being held captive in a small room. The story is narrated by the 5-year old boy whom I found to be annoying and not believable. I also thought the plot lacked depth and the ending was rushed. There were parts of the story that the author should have explored more, but she was limited because her narrator was a young boy. I give this book a C.