Tag Archives: bookworm

2017 Reading Goal: April

2017 Reading Goals Recap:

  • 170 books
  • 25 re-read books
  • Get my to-read list down from 960 to 900 (and keep it there!) 
  • Read some Greek classics and church fathers

 

How am I doing?

  • 63 books read (9 books ahead of schedule. Number includes re-reads)
  • 6 books re-read
  • To-read list: 924 (didn’t change from last month…which is something of an accomplishment) 
  • No Greek classics or church fathers, though I did buy a book by Augustine, so I’m practically there. 

Onward!


Marie Lu

Marie Lu is a popular Young Adult writer whose works always seem to be hovering about my to-read list never getting read. I finally decided to change that and over the past week or so read the first books in her two trilogies: The Young Elites and Legend. Unfortunately, neither overly impressed me. 

The Young Elites has an X-Men, fantasy feel. Certain survivors of a deadly fever start developing superhuman abilities. Society fears and alienates them. A few band together and become rebels, openly opposing and attacking the corrupt, inefficient government. I did not particularly care about any of the characters and this removed a lot of the emotional punch from the story. The writing style annoyed me. In the end, this book was more creative than Legend, but never enough to win me over.

With Legend, I liked the characters separately but was driven to distraction by their awkward insta-love. This is an unoriginal, dystopian novel that relies heavily on the usual trope but doesn’t particularly add anything. The writing style annoyed me so much I nearly gave up after the first two chapters. There is certainly some possibility here but it lacks the world-building necessary to be something really interesting. 

I might try her third series when it comes out but I probably won’t go out of my way to read it. 


Charles Dickens

It took over 30 hours, but I finished Bleak House on audio book. I had high hopes for this one but I didn’t like it as much as I expected. There were some really memorable characters, but also some mediocre ones. Esther, the main narrator, is perfect in every way. Her companions are equally wholesome, and if they aren’t, they get epic death scenes. The plot is typically convoluted with the usual absurdities. 

When it comes to Dickens, I tend to give his books either 5 stars or 3. I either really like his books, or feel unenthusiastic about them. Bleak House falls in the 3 star category. My favorites from the 5 star category are:
Our Mutual Friend
David Copperfield

A Tale of Two Cities
A Christmas Carol

Whereas the 3 stars include:
Oliver Twist
Great Expectations
Little Dorrit 

Still on my to-read list are:
Hard Times

Nicholas Nickleby
The Pickwick Papers
Pictures from Italy 

Any favorites I should add?

 


Whatcha Reading…? 4/22/2017 Book Update

“What are you currently reading?” asks the Get To Know You form. I look at the inch provided to respond in and don’t know whether to laugh or cry. What am I currently reading…??

I am in the middle of quite a few books right now. The problem is time. I’ve been in the midst of several books for weeks and there are twice as many unread in my library basket but I don’t seem to be finishing them at my usual pace. I think I need to take a reading day. However, for now, here is what I am currently reading:

Legend by Marie Lu, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior, Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry, and The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. I’m still working on An Autobiography by Agatha Christie and Jack by George Sayer.  I am re-reading Manalive by G.K. Chesterton and listening to Bleak House by Charles Dickens on audio book. 

I don’t have much time today so I won’t go into the relative merits of each of these reads but there are some really interesting ones. And some less interesting ones. Hopefully you’ll see a few reviews with these names over the next week!


Hunted by Meagan Spooner

I love fairy tale retelling and unique twists on traditional stories so when my Goodreads friends started freaking out about Hunted by Meagan Spooner, I knew this was a book I needed to find. In this retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Beauty is a hunter with one goal: killing the Beast who killed her Father. 

No magic roses or ballroom scenes here! Unfortunately, neither is there quite as much adventure or action as I had hoped. The beginning is incredibly slow. While the ending picks things up and ties everything together, I almost didn’t make it that far. The third person, past tense writing style places a barrier between the reader and the characters that is hard to overcome. Despite being a hunter and fueled by hate for the majority of the book, Beauty lacks personality. Most of the characters do. They fulfill their roles but little else.

However, I like how the author handles the Beast. She both shows and describes his dual nature. The story does a lovely job with magic, fairy tales, and mythical creatures. If the whole book were more like the last quarter, I really would have enjoyed this one. 

As it is, I didn’t dislike Hunted. I’d give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Considering how well worn this story line is,  the author does something creative and really gives it a fairy tale feel. It is a nice addition as a Beauty and the Beast retelling, though perhaps less interesting as a stand alone novel. 


Books Vs. Time

I have barely read anything since the month of April began and I am seriously stressed out by that. I had a nice lead on my 2017 Reading Challenge and it is slowly dwindling away. To combat this, I have gone to the library several times and checked out a plethora of books. 

The thing is, that is not where the problem lies. It isn’t that I do not want to read, it is that I do not have time to read. While I know that, I don’t like acknowledging it. It is so much easier to think, ‘Oh, I just need to find the right book to get me reading,’ than it is to think, ‘I need to manage my time better if I want to read later.’

However, I have been very responsible and have not been reading. My overflowing library basket can attest to that! 

EDIT: Also, full disclosure, I’ve been watching more K Dramas than normal so that might also play a part in this.


Book Recommendations

I love it when my friends ask for book recommendations. It is a wonderful challenge. Today my friend asked for YA Fantasy recommendations. I decided to share the list I put together. This isn’t exhaustive by any means. I avoided most fairy tale style fantasy novels and focused on different versions of fantasy/magical worlds. What would you add to this list?

  • The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. 
  • Plain Kate by Erin Bow
  • The Queen’s Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner 
  • Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund 
  • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
  • Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede 
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones 
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater