formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bookworm...

So, because I have no social life at all, I spent a good part of the weekend reading. As such, I've finished 4 of the 20 books on my summer reading list. And because I have no life, ergo nothing to write about today (I love the word 'ergo', don't you?), you get to hear about the books I've read. Whoo hoo! Aren't you excited? I know you are... calm down now.

OK, first up is In the Woods by Tana French... I can't say too much about it because it's a murder mystery and I don't want to give anything away. I will tell you that I love murder mysteries and I really wanted to love this book. And it was good... mostly. It was beautifully written, especially for a first novel, and it kept me in the dark long enough that I didn't feel as though I'd been cheated (as I often do when I guess the killer in the first couple of chapters). However, I didn't love it. First, it was set in Ireland (but written by an American) and the dialog was too Americanized. That irritated me a bit, but it wasn't a huge issue. Second, I like it when things all work out the way I want them to, but it's not necessary for me to like the book. But, I sort of need for the characters to stay in character... I like for the protagonist to stay the protagonist, you know? I don't like him/her to do an about-face and turn into a twat. And that happened. And, this might be giving a bit away, but there were 2 mysteries in this book... let's just say that one wasn't solved to my satisfaction. That'd be all fine and dandy if there was going to be a sequel, but I don't see any indication of that. I'll be on the look-out, though... just in case. So, my overall rating: Good book... worth a read... but not great.

Next we have The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson... this book starts out looking like a murder mystery with a ghostly component but it turns into a great read about the relationships that keep us going... and that hold us back... and how things are not always as they seem when you're on the outside looking in. The character development was excellent and the story flowed well. My overall rating: Very good book... absolutely worth a read.

Third up is The Freedom Writers Diary by the Freedom Writers and Erin Gruwell... if you pick this book up, pick up a box of tissues, too. I cried all the way through it. It was amazing... really and truly amazing... and all true. Erin Gruwell started her teaching career in the early 90's, in a high school in Long Beach, CA, having been handed a class of 'unteachable' students... gang-bangers and under-achievers. She took her new-teacher enthusiasm and her belief that all kids are teachable and deserve an education and she inspired a group of 150 kids, who went from losers to leaders in 4 years. The book is a compilation of their journal entries and it tells the stories of kids who had to overcome unbelievable obstacles including homelessness, shootings, abuse, parents in jail, molestation and rape, in order to believe that not only were they worth something, but that they could achieve anything they set their minds to. I wish this amazing book had been around when I was in high school or college... I think I probably would have been inspired to take another career path. My overall rating: An EXCELLENT book. Read it. Now!

Last, we have The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows... funny title aside, this is one of the best books I've read in a long, long time. It's written completely in letter-form (as in correspondence, not the alphabet... when I told Ryan that this morning, she said, "Mom, all books are written in letters. How else would you read them? Duh"). Anyway, the story takes place just after the end of WWII and starts in London. A 30-something author, Juliet Ashton, finds inspiration to write a book about the German occupation of the Channel Islands after receiving a letter from a Guernsey resident. The story is beautifully told through letter after letter... it's funny and touching and altogether wonderful. I picked it up because 1) it was about WWII, my subject of choice this summer, and 2) because my friend Todd lived in Guernsey for 13 years. I read the book in one sitting... it was just that good! My overall rating: An EXCELLENT book. Read it. Right after The Freedom Writers Diary!

That's all... not sure which of the remaining 16 books I'll pick up next... but you'll hear about it eventually. Have a great Monday!!! XO

PS... I didn't read 4 books in a weekend! Lordy. I'm fast but not that fast! I started my list on June 1 and read 2 books last week and 2 over the weekend.

20 comments:

Sometimes Sophia said...

I dunno... a weekend of reading sounds pretty delightful to me. I'll have to get the Freedom Writers Diary for Senor. He LOVES books about education. (He only reads non-fiction, btw.) Thanks for the reviews. I'll deinitely look into the last two.

mo.stoneskin said...

Four books in a single weekend is crazy. Crazy. If I did that my eyes would get so dry that all the moisture in southern England would be sucked into our flat causing widespread drought across the south.

Chris @ Maugeritaville said...

Yeah, I've got a bunch stacked up as well. I'm currently working on "Cadillac Beach" by Tim Dorsey, one of my favorite authors. Next up will be "Executive Privilege" by Phillip Margolin.

sherri said...

I'm getting the Freedom Writers book for my son Jon, who is in college now preparing for his teaching career. Thanks.

Heather said...

Wow - four books in a weekend! Look at you go! I have a lot of reading that I've been meaning to catch up on. I better get busy.

Sam_I_am said...

I have the Freedom Writers book on my entertainment center. Along with several other post-wedding books :-)

lisa said...

A while ago, I decided to only read fiction and Freedom Writers sounds like a good read for this teacher.

Thanks for the recommendation.

only a movie said...

Impressive. I love the recommendations. I need to get back into reading books... reading all the blogs gets in the way...

Thanks for sharing!

GreenBean said...

I love to read! I love hearing that people are still moved by what they read! I fear sitting down with a good book is becoming a lost art. You've reminded me that I have a pile of books waiting for me....

Good recommendations!!

The Odd Duck said...

The Freedom Writer's Diary is one of the few books in existance where I loved the movie so much that I had to go out and buy the book. It is now marked in, dogeared, and post-it'd to death, but it is still well loved.

CJ said...

I loved the Tana French novel, "In the Woods." To me, the mystery that wasn't solved was more intriguing than the one that was. I hope she comes back to that one because I doubt that Rob Ryan can resolve some of his issues until he knows what happened. I sort of liked that the main characters had flaws & I didn't always like what they chose to do. French's second novel "The Likeness" features Cassie Maddox, the female character from "In the Woods." I liked it, too, but it was a completely different kind of story.

Jenners said...

Well I need another book to read like I need a hole in the head but how can I pass these recommendations up!! Woo hoo!

hautepocket said...

I'm in bad need of summer reading material. I am finishing Essays of E.B . White right now but thanks to you, have some great ideas to follow it up with! Thanks for the recommendations.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Diane, I just finished The Guernsey Literary Society and... book, and want to read it again, it was so well written, and the characters were so warm and wonderful. I never knew about the history there in Guernsey, and now I'm intrigued and curious...

It is a gift of a book, definitely, and I was intending to blog about it some time soon!

Fhi xxx

blognut said...

I read 4 books while lounging on the beach this week. I really did get up and do other things - but I spent a fair amount of time in a lounge chair, too. And well, you know I don't sleep, so I had time.

Anyway - I'm getting rambly at this late hour - but I have to tell you to check out John Hart's murder mysteries. He's a newer author, (only 2 books that I know of), but you might like him.

Also - the new Lucas Davenport book. OMG. I know I will die loving that figment of John Sandford's imagination.

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