Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What I've Been Reading

I have seriously been slacking in reporting the books that I've been reading.  For some reason, it just hasn't been very high on my priority list.  Well I'm here now to tell you about the last 4 books that I have had the opportunity to read.  I think there were more before these that I didn't write about, but those will have to wait.

 


The Long Way Home by Karen McQuestion

This novel was recommended to me by Amazon.com based on my previous reading history.  All I knew before I started reading was that it was supposed to be about 4 women that start off on a road trip while being complete strangers.  Upon reading, I realized that it was unlike any book I had read before.  The 4 women that were involved in the road trip are all very different characters and age groups (1 young girl in her 20's, 2 middle aged women, and an elderly woman) with vastly different backgrounds and experience.  The story follows them on their trip and exhibits their growths as individuals along the way.  The women at the end of the book may be the same physically as those in the beginning but are stronger in more ways than one.  There were a few twists along the way that kept the book exciting and deterred it from becoming a drab novel.  For a lesser known novel, I was pleasantly surprised at what it had to offer.


The Bearded Lady by Mara Altman

This story surprised me as well, but not for the reasons you might think.  I was quite disappointed in this "single".  I used my one free monthly pass via amazon to borrow this to read.  Only upon getting the digital version did I realize that the "single" was only 20 or so pages.  It was a short story more than anything and I was under the impression that it was a novel.  Alas, it was an enjoyable and quick read that was relate-able at some points as all women somewhere in their lives deal with the struggles of unwanted body hair.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

My darling friend, Nicole, mailed this book to me nearly a year ago.  She had accidentally purchased two copies while shopping online and decided to pass on the extra to me.  When I first read the synopsis, I was only half paying attention.  I didn't think I would actually like the book and put it down pretty low on my reading list. 

I picked it up recently and reread the back of the book to see if it was something I felt like I should give a shot.  The essential plot is as follows:

A woman who has spent her entire life as a novelist is falling ill.  Her time remaining on this planet is limited so she is desperate to tell her story of her past.  Over her lifetime, and throughout the hundreds of interviews she has given, she has never released the true version of her history and has guarded it closely.  Little did anyone know that her past is a complicated and damaged one in which many hidden skeletons lie.  She recruits an amateur biographer to write her story and finds that the two have more in common than initially believed.

The book was really surprising and had many twists and turns that I didn't expect.  Right when I thought I was a step ahead of the novel and could anticipate the next portion, the author threw a curve ball.  As for the writing style, it was very eloquent.  When I read the author's short biography it mentioned that she specializes in 18th century literature and it is plainly evident as you read the text.

I did find that after the initial 100-150 pages the novel slowed way down for another 100 or so pages.  But if you trudge your way through those slow parts, you're in for a surprise at the end.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

During the summer break between Sophomore and Junior year in high school we were given a recommended reading list for summer.  We were allowed to go to the campus library and check out any of the books that were on said list.  The Color Purple was on the list and I even checked it out with the intention of reading it.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to read it as I busied myself with other novels such as The Grapes of Wrath, and  The Jungle.  But now that I have gotten the opportunity to sit down and read the book, I'm ashamed and disappointed that I hadn't read it earlier.

The novel is written in letter format.  It follows a black girl (and soon a woman) through her life struggles as she is raped, forced into marriage, is separated from her sister.   Although the first half of the book was difficult and thoroughly depressing it was inspiring to see how her life and the lives around her change overtime.  As with the book The Long Way Home, this is a story about growth and individual change.  It is a classic novel that deserves to be read.

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