My #52in52 started out really strong; I finished 7 books in my first month. Some were better than others. Take a look.
Here’s my recap of January’s books:
I wanted to absolutely love this book. There are some amazing snippets and it certainly helped me think about whether or not I am pursuing my own life’s journey. Maybe the problem is that I actually started reading the book in July…and picked it up as my first book for this challenge because I wanted to start off successful. Well, I finished the book and am happy I began reading again, but I’m not as over the moon about it as I expected to be. Maybe I’ll pick it up again in the future and it will speak to me in a different way.
I really enjoyed this book. A young adult novel, it was a quick and easy read. I appreciated the authenticity of the characters as they struggled through their issues. There’s a really great review that I agree with over on the Student Affairs Collaborative blog: http://studentaffairscollective.org/sareads-book-review-the-fault-in-our-stars-by-john-green/.
Olive Kitteridge and her family have a lot of depth; Strout truly developed some interesting characters. The book offers a story told through a new person’s lens for each chapter. At first, it was confusing, trying to remember how characters knew each other or whether or not I had “met” someone already. Overall, it was a decent read, but I kept turning to the next chapter waiting for more – and it never arrived. Strout left so much to the imagination that I wonder why some of it didn’t end up in the book. I wish we could have driven deeper into the characters and learned more about their intersections.
I started reading this book before Olive Kitteridge; I got about half way through and put it down. I just couldn’t get into it after two novels. Bertsche switches between storytelling and her in depth research on friendship and I had a hard time at first with the more scholarly parts of the book. When I returned to it after Olive Kitteridge, I found it much easier to immerse myself in it. I found that as Bertsche continued toward the end of her journey, her stories and the scholarly information were much more relatable. She created some poignant arguments about friendships among women. While it was a tough read at first, I highly recommend this book to women – and have suggested that several of my dear friends read it.
Gone Girl is Gillian Flynn’s most recent novel, but as I waited for it to become available, I decided to check out two of her previous works. Once I picked up Dark Places, I absolutely could not put it down. In a somewhat similar fashion as Strout’s book, Flynn writes each chapter from the perspective of a different character; she alternates between two points of view, slowly unraveling the mystery at hand. While definitely a dark book, it was very well written and kept me wanting to turn the page throughout. This is probably my favorite of the three Flynn books I read.
After flying through Dark Places, picking up Sharp Objects was a no brainer. Another mystery, with the tale slowly unraveling through the main character’s investigation. Very powerful moments of raw beauty and honesty that really resonated with me. Again, a quick read for me as I could not wait to find out “whodunit.” Another highly recommended book.
After devouring two of Flynn’s other books, I was excited to dive into Gone Girl. Several other folks in my reading group were struggling to get through it, but I felt confident her writing would once again pull me in – and it did. Like Dark Places, Gone Girl is told from two different perspectives, alternating chapters. Halfway through the book, there’s a twist that made me dislike all the characters – and though I finished it, I did not enjoy it near as much as the other two books. It is not nearly as gruesome as the previous two, but disturbing in its own ways.
Next up on my list:
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Quiet by Susan Cain
all images from Amazon.com
be well, ekt