Thursday, March 27, 2014

First Quarter 2014 Book Report

Aye yi yi!  Where is 2014 going?  And why is it going so fast?

So guess what?  I'm in a book club.  I was so happy to be asked to join this group of wonderful women -- some I knew, some are new friends.  Their book for February was The Husband's Secret, which I had read last year and thought would generate some great discussion.  It did.

For March, they had chosen The Book Thief.  No problem, I thought.  I had read this treasure several years ago, and had recommended it to others.  I thought I had a copy on my bookshelves somewhere, but apparently, I had given it away.  So, I ordered a used copy from Amazon for .95, and received it with a week to spare for a little re-read and review.  But when I finally sat down with the book on Friday (our meeting was coming up on Monday), I couldn't remember the story at all -- yikes!  That Saturday morning was a cold snowy mess, so Clay and I watched the movie.  Beautiful.  But I knew there was much about the story that the movie wasn't able to cover, so I re-read as much as I could before the meeting, and I want to re-read the entire book soon. If you haven't read this one, you should.

Our friend, Tim, leads a book group at our library every other month.  Bad Dirt, a collection of short stores by Annie Proulx, was his choice for March, and we had a great discussion, despite the fact that I wasn't crazy about the stories.  In fact, if I wasn't reading this for Tim's group, I would have abandoned it.  I really wanted to like this book -- Proulx is a Pulitzer prize winner, for pete's sake -- I was ready to be wowed.  I wasn't.  Tim and another gentleman in the group found the stories hilarious -- I just found them pretty sad pictures of the human experience.  Clay and I did go upstairs after the group and check out The Shipping News -- I just want to be sure I'm not missing out on loving a great writer, so I'm trying again.

 I had made some reading resolutions for 2014, and I am happy to report that I'm doing pretty well on those.  For the young adult novel, I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

This is a beautiful novel -- not simply a beautiful YA novel.  It's sad, but you know it will be sad from the first page -- it is about cancer, so be warned.
It's just beautiful writing.  And it's full of beautiful characters you want to know.  And although it's set in Indianapolis, you will go on an amazingly beautiful journey.

It's worth the tears, I promise.

One of the resolutions was to read outside of your usual genre, so I decided I would read a horror or science fiction book.  My friend, Christie, recommended The Dead Zone by Stephen King.  It's not horrible, and just a tiny bit frightening, but it was thrilling, and I finished it in 2 days.  It's a love story, a father-son story, a teacher-student story and a "what in the hell would you do if you had this terrifying power?" story.  I probably won't read any more Stephen King, but I am glad to have read this one -- his storytelling is fantastic, and makes me understand why so many are addicted to his novels.

And I'm saving the best for last.  The first resolution was to read "something massive", and The Goldfinch, at 785 pages, certainly qualifies.

I saw this book on all kinds of "best of" lists at the end of 2013, but when Maureen Corrigan of NPR said it was her "book of the year," that was enough to make me download it onto the nook.  Because holding a volume of this book surely would have made my arms tired.  And since it's on the shelf of new fiction at our library, I would only have had 7 days to read it.  And it's just too lush to finish in 7 days.  There's too much about the museum world, the fine antique furniture world, the Vegas underworld and the crazy world of art theft to take it all in in just 7 days.  And by too much, I mean too much in a very, very good way.

I had to stop and breathe.

And, I'm still not done.  I have 50 pages to go.  I've had 50 pages to go for 3 weeks now.  I just don't want this one to be over.

So, I guess you could say I'm currently reading this one.

I am also currently reading Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlin for my Tuesday book group, Runaway by Alice Munro for Tim's book group and listening to Amy Tan's Valley of Amazement in the sewing room.  


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