Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Reading List: April

So thrilled to have a hardback, brand new Anne Tyler book to call my own!

Slowly but surely, I'm blogging all my books. It might take me until 2014 to record all this, but oh well. One thing I do like about doing it a bit late is that I get to think back about the books and remember them! Like catching up with old friends. :)

Big thanks to those who commented (esp. Trevor and Sherry, you guys are the greatest!). I have added your books to my list!

April was my slowest reading month of the year, including those months I haven't blogged yet. I only read 6 books. Which, for normal life, that would be pretty good. But for 100-book-a-year-life? Not so hot. Thankfully I had March's 12-book cushion to carry me through.

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott. I read the Beginner's Classics version of this book several times in my younger years, but never the full one. It was just a fun classic to read. I was familiar with the story (and I'm sure you are too - if not, please read it!), so I just got to enjoy it. I am looking forward to reading the younger version to Eva!

Night - Elie Wiesel. This was a book club selection that I was thrilled to read because it's been on my to-read list for years. This is a memoir of a Holocaust survivor, and it's just heart-wrenching. Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by Holocaust stories - there are so many of them, and they are just so devastating. But this book was beautiful. He did a great job of placing the events in a religious context and asking the question, "Where was God?" It got me thinking quite a bit about why something so atrocious was allowed to happen and reflect on how it would affect my faith if I were in that situation. Wonderful book.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love - Raymond Carver. This is a short story collection. My teacher at UNLV was close friends with Ray Carver and talked about him all the time, so I thought it would be worth reading. It was and it wasn't. I'm not a huge fan of short story collections because I can't figure out a good way to get through them. Reading them one after the other doesn't offer much in the way of story continuity, but it is nice to sink in to the language of the author a bit. Carver's writing is incredibly...I don't know the word. Bare? Says everything it needs to say in the shortest number of words. It's amazing, really. But when I look back on the book, I can only remember a small handful of stories. Most of them - I'm being honest here - ended with me feeling left out. Like I'm the dumb one who doesn't have the intellectual capacity to connect with these characters. But really, I think it's just timing. I'm plowing through things here, not necessarily spending a ton of time on everything. So I'd say it was worth reading because it's Raymon Carver, but probably best read in smaller doses.

The Patron Saint of Liars - Ann Patchett. I loved this book. It's Ann Patchett's first novel, and the story is set in a Catholic home for unwed mothers in Kentucky. The main character, Rose, comes there pregnant (although she is married) and planning to give up her baby. But when the baby, Cecilia, is born, she changes her mind and stays there for many years, trying to run away from her past. This was my favorite book of the month - I highly recommend it.

The Giant's House - Elizabeth McCracken. After reading Ann Patchett's The Getaway Car and reading about her friendship with Elizabeth McCracken, I wanted to read one of her books. This one looked interesting and it was a National Book Award Finalist in 2006, so I picked it. It's set in the 1950s in a small town in Cape Cod. Peggy Cort is a librarian who meets James Sweatt, a boy with giantism. It's the story of their slightly strange but kind of sweet relationship. Amazon says, "Two misfits whose lonely paths cross at the circulation desk, Peggy and James are odd candidates for friendship, but nevertheless they find their lives intertwined in ways that neither one could have predicted. And as James grows -- six foot five at age twelve, then seven foot, then eight -- so does Peggy's heart and their most singular romance."

The Beginner's Goodbye - Anne Tyler. This is Anne Tyler's newest book. I preordered it and anxiously awaited its arrival in my mailbox. I cannot believe this woman is over 70 years old and still churning out novels. Stellar ones, at that. This is the story of Aaron, who loses his wife Dorothy when a tree crashes into their living room and lands on top of her. He works at his family's publishing business where he writes beginner's manuals - kind of like how-to books. Over the course of the novel, he learns, after his wife starts reappearing to him, how to say good-bye. It was a sweet story and typical Anne Tyler - ordinary person in an ordinary situation, but so well-written that I feel like I turn into the character myself. Obviously, I recommend this book.

Also, I want to apologize to anyone who is totally annoyed that I'm only posting about books. It's just where I'm at right now as far as blogging goes. :)

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