Saturday, February 09, 2013

Reading Roundup: January 2013

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman

I love a good historical novel that I can really escape into; this one one really fit the bill as far as the plot went, especially for the first part of the book. I really liked the characters and the action in the beginning, until it became clear that there really wasn't a good way to resolve the story. I still have mixed feelings about how the book ended. Generally, I liked it quite a lot but it was not an easy read.

Blame by Michelle Huneven

This book surprised me. I was expecting a different tone and style of writing based on the fact that I found it through Amazon when it was suggested as a similar book to another one I read last year. Despite the fact that the plot seems like the sort of melodramatic problem novel that I sometimes enjoy as a guilty pleasure, the quality of writing was much higher than that and the story more complex. Once I got used to the fact that I was not reading the book I had expected, I really enjoyed it.

The Confidant by Helene Gremillon

I didn't like this book very much but I forced myself to finish it because it was short. First of all, it was confusing in parts, and I don't know whether that was the result of the translation or if that was how it was in the original French. I also didn't like the main characters very much and their actions didn't seem to make a lot of sense. It felt like the book needed a lot more backstory that just wasn't there.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian

This was the third historical novel about tragic secrets I've read this month. I've read a few of Bohjalian's books before and often felt disappointed by them in the end. However, I think this is one of his best ones because the writing is much less sensationalistic (or at least the sensationalism is appropriate for the subject) and I was expecting the giant plot twist at the end. The characters were much more interesting and sympathetic than Bohjalian usually has, though I liked the historical story much more than the contemporary one.

Burning Blue by Paul Griffin

Just a quick teen read that I picked up for fun. This had an intriguing plot and I didn't even figure out the mystery until the end (though I had my suspicions). 

This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund

This is probably not a book you would find in your regular public library. It was sitting on the new book cart at work so I decided to take it home and read it. I knew the subject would be challenging to me, and it was, but I wanted to read something from a person with experiences so different from mine. It was an interesting book and I feel like I learned a lot from sitting down and listening to the author talk about her life and why she works in the field that she does. It gave me a lot to think about and reminded me that the world is a complex place.

Movies

The Secret in Their Eyes

My brother and sister were talking about this movie over Christmas and I realized that I had never actually seen it. I liked it a lot, although I hate swearing in Spanish-language movies because I feel like I get a double whammy having to listen to it and read it in the subtitles. If you like a good noir-ish mystery, this is a good movie for you.

Zero Dark Thirty

I could probably write an entire blog post about this movie. I thought long and hard about going to see it and I think it was worth it. The stuff I thought would bother me actually didn't that much, and there was stuff that bothered me a lot more than I thought I thought it would. This is not a perfect movie and it is a bit disjointed in parts. I think it is trying to cover too much time and too many complex events to really be great. It is still worth watching, especially if you like movies that make you think.

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