Reading Roundup: July 2012
Next to Love by Ellen Feldman
I love historical fiction about World War 2 and its aftermath so this book was a perfect fit for me. I liked that it stretched from the war years into the next decade, because this a period in American history that is not often written about. My only complaint with the book was the fact that it jumps forward quite a bit in time and covers many of the same events from multiple perspectives; this made me feel like there was so much more to the story that I could have read about and I had a hard time just settling and really enjoying the book as much as I would have liked to.
The Submission by Amy Waldman
It's been a while since I read a book that pulled me in emotionally in the way that this one did. It is not a mystery in any way, but the twists and turns in the plot kept surprising me clear up until the end. I was also unhappy with the ending; that doesn't mean this isn't a great book. It made me angry, and sad, and frustrated, and that to me is the mark of an excellent book.
The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden
Although I've read a fair amount of LDS fiction, I have not read much Christian fiction. I decided to start with this one because the plot sounded interesting to me (it was vaguely similar to North and South but much less meaty). I thought the editing was well-done and the book was mostly well-written, but towards the end it veered off into weird complications and heavy-handed moralizing that just didn't work for me.
I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Based on the plot description I thought this book was going to be much more serious than it turned out to be. The plot itself was rather heavy, but the writing still was somewhat quirky and lighthearted and that took a bit of getting used to. If you liked Holes and you're looking for something a bit more grown-up, this would be a good book for you.
Charles and Emma: The Darwin's Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
This was my book club pick for the month and I wish I could have had a chance to be there for the discussion of it. I really loved reading it and I feel like I learned so much more about Charles Darwin and his life than I thought I would. I think more people should read this book if nothing more than for learning what a fabulous human being Darwin was, and what a good marriage looks like.
Never Tell by Alafair Burke
When I read the description of this book I didn't realize that it was part of a series. It worked out all right as a stand-alone, but I didn't like the lead character very much and I wonder if I would have liked her more after reading other novels about her. Mostly the book ended up feeling like a long episode of Law and Order.
Lying Awake by Mark Salzman
We read this for our book discussion at the Segullah retreat, but unfortunately I ended up missing the discussion. It was a deceptively simple book that reads easily but actually has a lot of important points to think about. I like books like this that do such a good job presenting a world that most of us are never going to experience for ourselves.
I wanted to like this movie so much; I love Spielberg and I love big sweeping historical movies. But, this movie was like watching a series of beautiful paintings. It was lovely to look at, but emotionally empty because the plot was disjointed. Although the horse was the common thread between all the events of the plot, we cannot get inside his head and so the movie ended up feeling like it lacked a center.
I'm a bit late the party on this (and yes, I know it's not a movie, but humor me a little) and I wish I had watched it much earlier. I love a good period drama, but I can also see why this appeals to so many different people. Unlike other multi-character dramas that I've watched (ahem, Mad Men), the characters were actually sympathetic and very human. I really enjoyed watching this a lot and I'm having a hard time waiting until Season Two comes in to the library for me.