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.