Reading Roundup: April 2012

Rearview Mirror by Stephanie Black

I think I might have liked this book more if I had not been reading it in the middle of the Whitney crunch. I was trying to read it too quickly and I should have slowed down a bit. It was well-written and deserving of the Whitney award that it won, but it didn't make me want to read anything else by Black.

Gifted by Karey White
I kept putting this book down for a while and then coming back to it. The way it was written made it hard to read; it felt like reading someone's personal journal, but in a boring way and not one that brought out any sense of personality. It was a first-person narrative, but rather than reading like a novel unfolding as the protagonist tells us the story, it read like a rather boring chronology or life history. I also think that I am not the target audience for this book, because I felt like I was missing something. I wasn't entirely sure what the point of the book was or what message the author was trying to get across with everything that happened.

Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry

Out of all the Whitney nominees in the mystery/suspense category I thought this was the most well-written. I also appreciated the fact that I could really get into this book and enjoy it without reading the rest of the series; it almost made me want to read the other books, but I'm not quite ready to commit to that yet. That being said, it was nearly impossible to compare it to the either books in the category.

The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill

There were so many things wrong with this book that I could write an entire, lengthy post about it. There were some parts that I enjoyed, but there are also major flaws in the plotting, stereotypical characters, and campy overwrought prose throughout the book.

Defending Jacob by William Landay

I actually listened to this as an audiobook; I checked it out during the week the two older kids were gone on spring break so I had a lot of time to listen to it. I might have enjoyed it more as a regular book, however, because the narrator was really irritating. But the story was gripping and I found myself staying up late with my earbuds in just so I could finish the story.

Would it Kill You to Stop Doing That? by Henry Alford

I listened to an NPR interview with the author that was quite enjoyable, but the book was not as interesting. Some chapters of it were brilliantly written and I found myself laughing out loud, but others just didn't capture my interest or were just to self-indulgent to be enjoyable.

I am Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali

This was our bookclub pick for this month and I wasn't really sure if I would like it. It was actually a quick, powerful read that made for a very good discussion. The writing style is a little uneven in spots, but this is not a book that is written or read for the quality of the writing. The story and its message are just amazing and this is a book that should be read by a wider audience.

Perla by Carolina de Robertis

The narrative style of this book was much more postmodern and magically realist than I had expected from the description so it took a little while to adjust my expectations and really get into this book. Once I did, I really enjoyed it and found it to be a fascinating look at recent Argentine history.
The Good Father by Noah Hawley

I think it's interesting that I ended up reading this during the same month as Defending Jacob, because they are books about very similar subjects, but written in very different ways. I liked the father in this book more and I think I responded more positively to the more literary writing style.
Movies

Zindagi na Milegi Dobara

I didn't know anything about this movie before watching it; it was a new purchase at the library and I volunteered to watch it just to get an idea of the content. I loved it; there was male bonding, Bollywood dance numbers, a hot guy who didn't like to wear a shirt, and gorgeous footage of Spain. Fun. On a serious note, I appreciated the fact that this was a movie about guys who are friends that was sincere about that friendship and didn't feel the need to make fun of it by adding a bunch of fart jokes. That was refreshing.

The Help
I was a bit reluctant to watch this movie because I had mixed feelings about the book. However, I thought the movie was really well-done and made me rethink some of my ambivalence. Now I want to go back and reread the books simply to see if I would enjoy it more this time around.

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