Thursday, August 7, 2008

Let's Read!

So, I've been in reading mode this summer, which has been so wonderful!  I've been able to read without interruption (well, during Caroline's nap and when Andrew comes home and wants to play video games).  So, I've been able to read some good books this summer and I thought I'd share what I've read... 

1.  A Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult  - I enjoyed this one, but not as much as Nineteen Minutes, which is a book of hers that I read previously.  I highly recommend that one, but be prepared to cry your eyes out!  A Change of Heart is a novel about loss and redemption, about making mistakes in life, even the biggest ones of all, and somehow coming out on the other side.  Picoult is one of those author's that writes page-turners.  You literally can't put the book down.  All of her books (or so I hear and from what I know of the two I've read) focus on legal and social issues.  I enjoy that she's great at keeping you yearning for what will happen next, and though A Change of Heart still upheld the page-turner description, I just felt it strayed a little too far from reality.  I enjoyed some of the religious aspects of the book, but I couldn't get past the idea of this man on death row being compared to Jesus.  It just struck a cord in me that was a little off.  It was good, but not the best.  I definitely think I need to read other books of hers to stay the fan I became after reading Nineteen Minutes.  

2.  Twilight by Stephanie Meyer -  I feel like I shouldn't even get started on this book, because there may be some die hard fans who are reading this post.  Put away your wooden stakes and listen up.  Seriously, I picked up this book because of the hype.  I picked it up because I had heard Meyer being compared to Rowling.  I swear, that could not be further from the truth!  Just because she writes a story that's a little different, in NO WAY compares her to the genius that is J.K. Rowling.  Seriously.  What are people thinking?  
Okay... I'll step down off my soap-box now.  What I want to say about this book is that it's just not all it's cracked up to be.  It's about a girl falling in love with a boy, and guess what? That boy is a vampire.  oooh.  It's decent.  It's not the worst thing I've ever read, and I might (if I have a lot of time on my hands sometime in the future) finish reading the series.  (If you're clueless about this series, there are three more books after Twilight. The most recent and final book was just released last week.)  But it's just, well, boring.  I was highly frustrated with Bella, who just went on and on and lingered over her feelings for Edward.  I just wanted to yell at her to get on with the story already.  I mean, I guess in that sense, she captured how teenage girls really feel.  I remember lingering over boys and going over and over how I felt about them.  So, maybe I'm just past that and that's why it annoyed me.  Who knows.  Either way, I think if you're above the age of about 18 or 19, this book is just kinda blah, which is unfortunate and SO unlike Rowling's novels which appeal to audiences of ALL ages (and genders, for that matter).  Thank you.  :-) 

3.  She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb - OH MY GOSH!  I have had this book sitting on my shelf for at least three years now.  I remember picking it up years ago thinking that it sounded amazing and hearing all of the incredible reviews it had gotten.  I had good intentions of reading it, but you know some books just don't get read.  I have a few more that are like that... The Kite Runner is a perfect example.  Anyway, I picked up this book a few weeks ago and I could not put it down.  There are three main elements that make this book astounding to me: 1. It focuses on the life of a woman, Delores, from age 4 to age 40, but the author is a man.  How on earth he wrote so truthfully from the female perspective, I will never understand.  You have to stop and question sometimes if it's actually fiction.  It feels like reading a memoir.  2.  Even through all of the main character's struggles with life, there is still this underlying hilarious element.  I found myself cracking up at things that I knew I probably shouldn't find amusing.  3.  There were so many things that the main character struggled with that I think many women can relate to, but the author never skirted around the issues.  They were real and sometimes ugly and right out devastating, but that was the kicker.  It was over-the-top at moments and you want to yell and scream at Delores and tell her what an idiot she's being, but I know we have all been there before.  I think most people have moments in their life when they look back and say "what an idiot I was", but we realize, as does Delores, that it's those moments that make us who we are today.  This book was honest, heart-breaking, hilarious and brilliant!  I highly recommend it if you are looking for that kind of raw emotion.  and finally... 

4.  Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos - This book came to me fairly quickly, without a lot of thought put into my purchase.  I was perusing the isles of Costco with the toddler in tow knowing that I needed something new to read and this one just sort of stuck out. So, I picked it up without a second thought and brought it home and boy am I glad I did.  
This is a story of love.  Unconventional, unexpected love.  It's not so much a romance novel as it is a novel about self-discovery and finding purpose in life.  The chapters in the story alternate between Cornelia and Clare.  I normally don't mind this duel perspective in novels, but this one in particular bugged me for one main reason.  Cornelia's chapters were all written in first person, which I prefer but Clare's chapters were written in third person, which I don't like at all.  It just felt disjointed at times and I think it would have been better suited with them both written in first person or all from Cornelia's point-of-view.  The other thing I wasn't too keen on was the first half of the novel.  Frankly, it was a little boring, but I pushed through and I'm
 SO glad I did.  The second half of the novel totally redeemed itself and I read it all in a matter of hours!   The love that Cornelia and Clare find in their lives and with each other is beautiful.  It makes me think of myself and how much love has walked into my life.  How I wouldn't be the same without meeting some of the people I've met along the way.  How certain people just walk in and shake up your world, turn it upside down, but leave you on the other side a better person.  It was beautiful, really.  And this one, I whole heartedly recommend, despite its flaws.  

Next on the must read list...  

And anything else you recommend.  I hope to get those two finished before school starts up again, but we'll see how it goes.  Our beach trip next week will hopefully provide many hours of uninterrupted reading.  :-) 

So, what have you read lately?  

And because I know my mom will be mad if I don't post at least one picture of Caroline... I'll leave you with Caroline's latest favorite activity... puzzles!  :-)  She's so good at this new one we got!  She's even learned how to say circle, oval and diamond.  Brilliant, I tell ya!  


Kim said...

yay, how fun! i should read some of those, but i made myself a promise today that i won't buy anymore books until i read all the ones i own. that probably won't last, but i should at least try. :) here's what i've read this summer: 1. Christy, by Catherine Marshall; 2. Daughters of Fortune series, by Judith Pella (1. Written on the Wind, 2. Somewhere a Song, 3. Toward the Sunrise, and Homeward My Heart). i just started the 4th in that series.

have fun at the beach! i'm super jealous! :)

Wendy said...

Hey! I've thought about reading that Wallie Lamb book several times, but it always looks dauntingly long for an author I don't know.
All of Jodi's books are good. My Sister's Keeper is one of my favorites. But I haven't read her most recent ones yet.
You have to read The Time Travelers Wife! It is one of my all-time favorite books!
I've read all the Twilight books. I enjoyed them in an easy reading way. I did not like the final one.
My book club is reading "Reading Lolita in Tehran" next month. I've heard good things about it. I'll let you know if it's worth your time.