Saturday, June 20, 2009

Book Reviews!

I just finished my 12th book for this year (and wow, it seems like I'm slowing down on my reading lately). Reading classics for book club has not been easy and so slogging through those boring books has seriously cut into my reading for pleasure time! But here's a list of what I've read so far, and my reviews:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I've read this one before, but it was a re-read for book club and really a great book! Everyone should read this at least once in their lifetime.
2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - I would have enjoyed this as a first read when I was younger. I found it a bit tedious to read and the dialect was kind of hard to follow. The story is good, though it's not one of my favorites.
3. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis - this was a book we read for 5th grade book club with Arlie. It was actually a really enjoyable story, well-written and interesting. It's a "kids book" but I enjoyed it plenty as an adult reader.
4. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris - what can I say? It's David Sedaris. He's hysterical. While some of his stories border on psycho, most are really funny and make for a quick read.
5. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson - This book was just ok in my opinion. It was a very compelling story of a man who pretty much moved mountains and built schools for girls in Pakistan but there was a lot of "fill" that made the story boring at times.
6. The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne - there's a reason why this is a thorn in the side of so many high school students who are required to read it. It's BORING, predictable and the old English language writing style is just tedious to read. It felt like a chore the entire time.
7. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner - This was a funny, easy "chick-lit" read. I like Weiner's style of writing and she really gets at the heart of her characters.
8. Kerplunk by Patrick McManus - this was a recommendation from Jeff. He has been a McManus devotee for years and I've never thought of reading these humorous hunting and fishing stories because, well, they're just not something that I'm interested in. But his writing is hysterical and the characters are unforgettable. I'll definitely read more of McManus after this.
9. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan - Corrigan has a nice style of writing - kind of like having a conversation with a good friend. I enjoyed the book - a story of how she deals with a cancer diagnosis while at the same time dealing with her father's own cancer diagnosis. Funny and witty.
10. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer - probably the worst book ever written. Meyer's writing style is so bland and amateur that I simply cannot believe her success. Her first book, Twilight, was passable because it was her debut novel, but the second time around she could have thrown in a few original metaphors. The story was just not believable - and not because it was about vampires and werewolves. I shudder to think about reading the final two in the series, but my girls insist I must. Bleh.
11. Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult - I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoy any book of Picoult's but I realized they are all pretty much the same storyline with different characters. Not very original. But again, she's enjoyed amazing success. However, quantity of books does not make one a good writer. Her quality could use some improvement. Still, I am captivated by the characters and storylines and she does good research.
12. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen - this, too, is a young adult novel, but I enjoyed it! I picked it up on a whim because it was a Newberry winner (and I found it at the thrift store!) and found it to be quite a read. It's a survival story and I actually found myself sucking in my breath in a gasp from time to time as another exciting/scary/unfortunate thing happened to Brian, the main character.

I'm currently reading "Twenty Wishes" by Debbie Macomber so I'll post about that when I'm finished.


Mimi/Papa said...

I can't believe you didn't care that much for Three Cups of Tea!! Your dad and I both loved it, but maybe it was because we were in Abu Dhabi when reading it (before we got there and after we arrived). I thought The Kite Runner and that other one "Thousand whatevers" were two boring books...just the same ole same ole...oh well, to each his own! ahha It's nice to know, though, that you are adventurous in your reading styles. If something doesn't "get me" within the first few pages or the last chapter, then that book is given away! It's funny as I'm writing this that my word verification is "gramo"....hahahaha

Sydney said...

I'm with Mimi on the "get me" concept. I'm trying to read Nicholas Spark's The Wedding (the same author as The Notebook) and I just can't get into. Sadly, it's been so un-grabbing for me that I picked up (and am enjoying more) a 1994 version of Reader's Digest's Household Hints and Handy Tips. Sad, eh?