Reading Roundup: April 2011

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

I read this a while ago, but it was our book club pick for the month so I read it again. I liked it just as much the second time; it is one of those books that immerses you into a world full of characters that are all interesting, complex, and so real that you feel sad when you finish the book and have to leave them behind.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

This book was better than I expected. Some nonfiction, while good, moves slowly. I found that I couldn't put this book down because I wanted to know what comes next. I think it could have benefited from better editing due to some repetition and a few instances that didn't feel as clear as they could have been, but other than that it really is a great read.

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell

I haven't read anything by Sarah Vowell before and so it took me a while to get used to her style. I kept wanting this book to be something it wasn't, but in the end I started to like it and thought it was pretty good. I think I'm ready to try something else by Vowell now that I have a better feel for her style.

Mr. Monster by Dan Wells

This is the sequel to I Am Not a Serial Killer, which I read last year and was surprised to enjoy as much as I did. I'm not really into the horror genre, but this isn't exactly horror. I'm not totally sure what to call it, but it's good. I liked this second book just as much as the first and I look forward to the third one now.

Peculiar People Ed. Wayne Schow, Robert Schow, and Marybeth Raines

I read this book a number of years ago but decided to reread it because I remembered little about it. My first observation is that it is horribly dated; the language used in it and the issues discussed don't feel very relevant anymore. Also, the pieces included are uneven and some of them are very poorly written. I get the feeling that the editors were just using what they had at the time, but I think it is time for an update.

Rift by Todd Robert Petersen

I was prepared to not like this book; it came out a few years ago but I had put off reading it simply because it didn't appeal to me. I admit to feeling a little tired of Mormon books that were about men and take place in rural Utah. This book changed my mind, or at least helped me see that a good writer can take anything and make it good. The writing is beautiful and the main character is likable despite his best efforts to make us not like him.

The Nineteenth Wife
by David Ebershoff

This is the book I thought I would like but ended up disliking quite a bit. First of all, the author does too many things and has too many things going on in the story. Sometimes that can work, but it didn't work for me here. I also felt turned off by the details that the author got wrong; for some reason they really bothered me and I had a hard time taking the book seriously.


I'd seen this movie a very long time ago and had a positive impression of it. It is still a very fun movie to watch even if it is feeling a bit dated.

The Fighter

This movie surprised me--I'm not really into boxing movies, but I like Christian Bale and I'd heard good things about it. The main thing that works is the characters; all of the actors do a phenomenal job. My only problem with is was the fact that so much of the dialogue involves swear words--I was worried to open my mouth after watching it for fear of what would come out.

I Love You Phillip Morris

I had this movie confused with something else in my mind and so it took me a while to get into it. The tone is also somewhat uneven and the story is a bit hard to follow. It still was a very sweet and funny movie despite having some flaws.


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