Turn the page and you will find me

Since recently joining Peace, Love, Books, in the hopes of finding new books and some intelligent people to discuss them with, together with Number 2 on the List, I’m inspired to post and possibly review my recent reads. My goal on the List is to read 100 books in 1001 days, which really isn’t much of a stretch for me, I’m sure I’m going to do it in far less than that. It’s been suggested to me that I shouldn’t list or include books that I’ve RE-read, but I’m going to anyway because to me, reading is reading.

Here, in no particular order, are 10 of the many  books I’ve read since writing my List on January 11th, 2010

Shutter Island-Dennis Lehane

Unfortunately, I read a lot of books. I read a lot of books, in a multitude of genres. This leaves me with limited resources for new material. I had thought, seeing previews for the movie, that this might just be something a little off the wall, and I purchased it in the hopes of finding a new favorite author. Alas, what I found was a predictable story, one that although it was well written, was one I’ve read before. I had it all figured out within the first few chapters. I even re-read the last few chapters  three times, in the hopes that I was mistaken in my predictions and that the story didn’t end as I had expected. But, it did, sadly.

 In The Gloaming-Alice Elliott Dark

This was a wonderful collection of  short stories, based on the dynamics of ordinary life. Set in the fictional town of Wynnemoor, the stories introduce the reader to a collection of characters, in common day situations, with exceptional complexities. I laughed, I cried, I ran the gamut. Each story was different, but all left me with thoughts running through my head.

Loose Girl-Kerry Cohen

This was your typical rendition of a “I was a bad person, but now I’ve learned the error of my ways” story. It tells the tale of a spoilt (surprise!) young lady, who had life handed to her on a silver platter, who found herself wanting (surprise!) in meaningful relationships whilst growing up. Not  able to get what she needed from family, she turned to promiscuity (surprise!)  in hopes of finding the ultimate connection with a soulmate. Although I don’t class the writing to be substandard, I certainly wouldn’t label it substantial either. It rates right along with any other book where the author has “turned their life around”.

The Importance of Living-Lin Yutang

I’ve read this numerous times over the course of my life, my current and tattered copy given to me about 15 years ago by a friend, Joe, a resident of  Hong Kong.  Knowing that I was a Witch, Joe and I had many, many  conversations likening my belief structure  with that of Chinese philosophy. Yutang’s is not a book of teachings, as much as it is a book of experiences, both his, and the people in his life. A person would be hard pressed not to find something to relate to in this book. All philosophy aside, The Importance of Living is a witty, entertaining, thought-provoking read.

Mapping the Edge-Sarah Dunant

Not one of her best. I usually love Dunant’s stories, as they’re very descriptive, leaving them both entertaining and educational, as fiction goes. This one left me with a feeling of being incomplete, as though Dunant had rushed it out the door. Every mother at one point or another (although 99% will never admit it) has had the thought of rushing out the door, leaving motherhood behind, no explanation, no forwarding address. Mapping the Edge tells the story of one such mother, and although it’s a story of acting on these thoughts,  it lacks in the definition behind those emotions.

Altar Music-Christin Lore Weber

I found this to be a very relevant book. It is a loving and compelling look at the intricacies of religion through the eyes of a Catholic nun. It’s a work of fiction, loosely based I believe, on the life of the author.  Receiving a rare glimpse into the life of a Cloistered nun, the  passions and disciplines it took to get there, and the heartbreak of doing battle to balance personal beliefs, left me wanting to live the experience firsthand. Altar Music is beautifully written with scads and scads of authenticity.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy-J.R.R. Tolkien

Does this really need a review? I think not. Love it or hate it, it’s one of those writings that should be experienced by absolutely everyone. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve read this series,  at least once a year, since I was about 10…probably more like 2-3 times per year, if you averaged it out.  If you haven’t read it, give it a try, if you have, read it again.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower-Stephen Chbosky

I must say, my review of this book is going to be completely biased. Quick anecdote: My oldest son is dating a girl (they live together, in a city five hours away from home) who is a real joy to behold. She’s beautiful, she’s intelligent, she’s an individual…and she’s also, very, very, shy. Just before the winter holidays I was discussing the girlfriend with my oldest daughter. I had said that I hoped to get to know her better while they visited, because I truly adore her, and want her to feel apart of this family. I mentioned that I hoped she would open up to me, as I really wanted to get to know her on a deeper level. Her name is Sarah. On the day Sarah arrived for the holidays, she threw her arms around me, with a great big hug, then reached into her bag and pulled out a small package. “I bought you something”, she said. I told her she didn’t have to do that, to which she replied, “yes… I did”. I opened the package to find this small book. Excited by a new read, I voiced my appreciation for any sort of book. Sarah leaned over, and quietly said, “This is my favorite story in the whole world, I just wanted you to have a copy”. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a series of letters written by a young boy standing on the outskirts of life. Poignant enough to fit in with the crowd  but withdrawn enough to not realize how poignant he is, Charlie tells a story of growing up that’s hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. Much like Sarah. Who gave me one of the greatest presents of my life.

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11 Comments

  1. March 23, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Nice and honest reviews, I’ve been looking for some new reads so this is perfect timing 🙂

  2. brian said,

    March 23, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    great. love book reviews…seems like you read almost as much a i do…may check a few of these out…

  3. Ji said,

    March 23, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    insightful post!
    love bookworms,
    I am one of those…
    😉

  4. Ji said,

    March 23, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/which-type-of-blogger-are-you-awards/

    the best blogger award for you,
    happy Wednesday!

    nice to meet!

  5. March 30, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Of the books in your list I have only read LOTR so thanks for the recommendataions I am always looking for something new to read.

  6. mattvolke said,

    June 7, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Cool blog! Check it out mine at themoviebros.wordpress.com/

  7. iquitelikethat said,

    June 16, 2010 at 6:43 am

    I recently bought ‘the perks of being a wallflower’ after being told constantly how great it was, I can’t wait to read it, and your review has made me look forward to reading it even more!

  8. July 6, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    This has nothing to do with your post but when I saw the word page i thought of the expression “a real page turner.” Yet another expression that makes no sense. I mean it kind of does but when I don’t want to read a book I would like skip 5 pages every now and then. Thus I would say a page turner is more like a boring book. A good book should just be called that.

    Wow that was 620% off topic

    I really want to see Shutter Island one of my friends went to watch it on the big screen. He said it was awesome. So now I have to wait until it is finally released on DVD. Great post! Thumbs up. Wait this isn’t youtube. 5 Stars! 🙂

    C.

    • July 6, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      Hahahaha! Christian my fine chap, you are a scatterbrain. 😛
      You make total sense with the “page turner” lingo. I do that when the story starts to get predictable.
      I watched Shutter Island the movie just the other day, and even though I had read the book, and thought the book was boring, redundant and predictable, I liked the movie. It was well done and worth watching. I think you’ll enjoy it, just don’t leave the room without pressing pause, or you’ll miss something important.


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