Thursday, May 31, 2012

May - This Month in Reading

At the end of April, my goal was to read 10 books and to work on my challenges. I did manage to read 10 books in May, but these books only contributed to one challenge. So a mixed result for sure.

I already know June is going to be a busy month for work, which always drastically cuts into my reading time :( , so June's goal is going to be to read 4 books: 1 for each challenge, period. Of course, if I read more that will be great, but this way I will most likely meet my goal.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

This book was a blast from the past! I loved this series when I was younger, as well as the BBC series that was made a few years later. I managed to get a book that has all five of the books in the series at Borders so I can reread the entire series at my leisure. It's still an amusing satire and I look forward to rereading the other books as soon as I can make some room on the TBR pile. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Murder at 40 Below - Tom Brennan

My sister-in-law sent me this book, which is a compilation of 10 crime stories from Alaska. As a huge fan of the TV series Forensic Files, I also enjoy a good true crime book now and again and this didn't disappoint. I enjoy reading and learning about how law enforcement catches violent criminals, and also trying to figure out why criminals commit crimes, particularly violent crimes against other people. And I had no idea that the famous "Birdman of Alcatraz" had committed the crime that got him sent to prison in Alaska, so it was very interesting to read about him. Recommended.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Candide - Voltaire

How is it possible that I have never read this book before now? Strangely, I saw a stage production of a musical version of this book when I was a young adult but remember very little of it, so it didn't amount to any kind of spoiler(s) while reading. I really liked the satiric tone and the jabs Voltaire took at prominent entities of his day, and the descriptions of horrific events are done in such a way as not to be too awful... although they're not exactly wonderful. The overall tone saves the day. I'd love to discuss this in a college-level class or a good book club, I suspect it could spark some spirited debate. I will have to read more by Voltaire as soon as I get some room in the TBR pile. Highly recommended.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Save the Deli - David Sax

This was one of the more than 70 books I got for a song on one of the last days Border's was open for business - I paid a whopping 40 cents for this book. While reading it, I was in a constant state of hunger based on the descriptions of the delicious deli food. I love deli food, and I haven't really had any authentic deli food in years. It's so sad to think that so many family-owned and -operated delis are going out of business thanks to the ongoing "mallification" of America (and other parts of the world). Why people pack those horrid corporate chain restaurants is beyond me. It's so disappointing that the world is basically becoming an open-air Mall of America (which is awful, in case you're wondering). I'm glad that there are some people who are dedicated to preserving a wonderful cuisine and providing a quality product. This book, although originally published in 2009, has a listing of delis around the US and some international delis too. Makes me want to get in the car and hit the nearest one right now (although I will probably do some research to make sure the place hasn't closed in the past 3 years). Save the deli indeed!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Vaclav & Lena - Haley Tanner

A coincidental third book in what turned into a mini-theme of Russian characters. I enjoyed this book and especially liked Vaclav, while feeling very deeply for Lena as well. I liked the way many of the characters had irritating aspects to their personalities, just as people we love do in real life - it made the characters seem very real. Recommended.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Snowdrops - A.D. Miller

Not sure what to make of this book. I don't feel as sympathetic for the narrator as I'd like to, so I'm not sure the author convinced me to think the best of him - or maybe that was never the point. I appreciated the Moscow setting and the description of winter, which I miss. Overall a melancholy story that I liked but felt unsure of at the same time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Borrower - Rebecca Makkai

What an amazing book. I managed to snag a copy at Borders' Last Days sale, and I am so glad I did. I loved this book. It even made me cry not once but twice, which is amazing because I'm not a crier AT ALL. I can't form any coherent thoughts about it right now but it's highly recommended.

Security - Stephen Amidon

Picked up this book on the Library Sale shelves, as I liked the cover. Yes, I judge books by the cover sometimes, although I don't let covers limit my reading. I enjoyed the characters in this book and I liked the way that the story unfolds through characters that don't have first-hand knowledge of the main events that take place. I'd definitely read this author's other books (at such time as I can get my TBR pile under control!). Recommended.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Awakening - Kate Chopin

Another book I read many years ago, in this case either high school or college, and found at Borders' Last Days sale and eagerly took the opportunity to reread at my leisure. The story was every bit as good and satisfying as I remembered, and in fact I suspect I got a lot more our of it now, as an adult with more life experience, than I probably did the first time I read it. I liked that nothing was cut and dried and events unfolded in what I felt was a very realistic manner. The copy of the book I purchased included some short stories which were very well done and enjoyable as well, and in fact many seemed to cover the same themes. I would love to discuss these stories at a college level or in a good book group - or with a fellow reader in the comments here even! :-) Highly recommended.

The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

I read this book as a kid, and came across a copy at the Library Sale and felt the urge to reread it. It's a nice story and has just enough intrigue and suspense to keep the reader going throughout. The characters are also refreshingly complicated, and not simple one-note creations - I like how the author is able to let us in on their motivations and the reasons behind their attitudes and actions. Highly recommended.