Reading Roundup: May 2010
This book was interesting to read; on the one hand, the writing is beautiful and the story is rich and compelling. On the other hand, the main character is really difficult to relate to and not emotionally mature. Thankfully, towards the end of the book she has an epiphany--I just wish we could see her life from her new perspective after reading an entire book of her narration from the self-centered perspective of a child.
Walking in the Sand: A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ghana by Emmanuel Kissi
I found this book at the library when I was researching stuff about Ghana for the kids and I thought it looked interesting. As the introduction points out, it's not written by a professional writer or historian so some aspects of the style are a little unusual. I found some parts a little harder to read than others. It was still an engaging read and I found myself inspired by the story of the Church in a country I didn't know much about before now.
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day GeorgeI really liked the last fairy tale retelling by this author but wasn't quite so impressed with this one. It was a fast, fun read and the romance was sweet, but it just didn't feel as compelling or rich.
Nothing Was the Same by Kay Redfield JamisonI know the phrase 'achingly beautiful' is such a cliche when describing a book, but it really fits this one. Books rarely make me cry, but this one did. Jamison's description of her relationship with her husband, and the depth of her loss at his death, is amazingly done.
How to Behave So Your Children Will Too by Sal SevereI like to read a variety of parenting books and take ideas from each one to incorporate into my life. I liked some aspects of this book, particularly his focus on consistency and calmness by parents. However, I thought it felt a little too focused on simple behavioral manipulation and I felt some of his ideas were too harsh.
Another book I picked up at the library while researching stuff for the kids. I didn't know much about the contemporary history of Guatemala, and now that I do I understand better many things about the challenges faced by the people there.
The Blessing Way by Tony HillermanI've never read any Hillerman before, but my mom got me this book for my birthday. It was a quick little read and I might read some more during my summer vacation. I'm not usually a big fan of mysteries/thrillers but I liked this.
The Road by Cormac McCarthyI'm not sure if I like this book or not; the writing is good, but for me it didn't quite live up to the hype. And even though I feel like I have a fairly high tolerance as far as content goes, there were a few scenes in this book that really tested my limits.
These is My Words by Nancy Turner
This is another book that I resisted reading for quite a while simply because I didn't like the title. I still don't like the title, but I love the book. It was one that I didn't want to put down after it finished because the characters were so real and their lives were so fascinating. I am definitely going to read the sequels and hope I'm just not too disappointed by them.
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow
Books that switch viewpoints between a variety of characters don't often work, but in this one the switching points of view do seem to flesh out the story and provide perspectives that the main character often is not aware of. Despite that positive aspect of the book I still didn't like it very much. It felt a little too much like it was trying to put in every characteristic of typical contemporary fiction (family tragedy, social issues, coming-of-age) without really resonating with the reader.
I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
Midway through this book I realized that I had started it with completely wrong ideas of its content. For some reason I had thought it was more on the funny side, but it actually veers towards fantasy and horror. I don't usually read horror. But I still finished the book quickly and liked it a lot. The author clearly has a gift for writing.
The Tiger Next Door
This was an interesting documentary about a segment of our culture that I had no idea existed. It seemed a bit slow at times, but I thought the director did a good job of staying relatively objective and being sympathetic to everyone involved in the story.
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Both Mr. Fob and I agree that this movie was just plain weird, but not really in a good way. When it ended we still weren't very sure of what had happened.
One review I read of this movie compared it to a novel, unlike most movies that are more like short stories. It's six hours long, and I feel the comparison is apt. It is difficult to explain how good this movie is because it is understated. The story is not particularly flashy and the length may seem intimidating, but I found myself pulled into it and wanting to watch more after it ended. Watching this is like immersing yourself in a long, beautiful family saga.