Friday, March 6, 2015

My Reading Log


This weather has me so unmotivated that all I want to do is curl up under the covers and read.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

I began thinking more about the Appalachian Trail after reading Cheryl Strayed's Wild.  Oddly, I didn't realize until after reading that book that real people hike those trails.  For fun.  From reading news reports, I always had this impression that, aside from day hikers and tourists, the trails were inhabited by criminals.  If you have any interest at all in the Appalachian Trail, this is a decent book to read.  It seems like everyone who decides to hike extreme distances is undertaking some type of personal journey and while this is somewhat true in A Walk in the Woods, it is not at all as deep as Wild. 

Years and years ago, my parents and I drove out to Mount Greylock, located in Western Massachusetts, one crisp fall morning.  We were day tourists touching, not hiking, a tiny slice of the Appalachian Trail and taking in the autumnal sights of New England.  Bryson (the author) points out several times in the book how deserted the trail is.  For example, 30 million people lived within two hours' drive of the Water Gap.  He crossed paths with only two other people when he was hiking the trail in that area one day.  Now, I love exercise and walking and fresh air but I'm not very fond of bears.  In fact, the thought of potentially bumping into a bear is downright frightening so for now, I'll remain a tourist.  (I do want to bring the girls out to Mount Greylock in the fall.  One fall.  Maybe not this fall.)  

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

If you've read and enjoyed The Kite Runner, read this.  Well written, interesting characters and storyline.

When We Were the Kennedy's:  A Memoir from Mexico, Maine by Monica Wood

I must have read a boring memoir at some point in my life because I tend to shy away from them, even though I know there are some good ones.  This book kept popping up here and there and I found it available through the library when I needed another book to read.  It was excellent.  Add it to your reading list.

The House At Riverton by Kate Morton

A few years ago I read The Forgotten Garden, which I thought was a good read.  I stumbled across this book by the same author last month.  Like The Forgotten Garden, I also thought this was an satisfying read.  While not necessarily a page turner, it does have an interesting plot.  Although, there are enough clues to enable the reader to figure out some or all of the "secrets" in the storyline.

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

Unfortunately, this book was a bit of a disappointment.  I have kind of a creepy fascination with the Titanic (as in, I feel I may have been on it in another life) and so any book that uses it as a backdrop, is a book of interest to me.  The character development here was just not good.  This book is fiction based on fact, so some of the characters in the book were actual real people.  Lucile Duff Gordon, a main character in the book, was a real person and about 25% into the book I googled searched to see who was fiction and who was real.  The description of her, including one written by the author, didn't quite match up to how I felt the character came across in the book.  I also thought the dialogue was bad, especially after just having read The House At Riverton.  You could easily pick up the book and if the Titanic or dates weren't mentioned, you would possibly think the story was taking place in 2012, not 1912.

Read any good books lately? Let me know if you have any recommendations!


Katie said...

I just finished the The Casual Vacancy- it was amazing.

Katie said...

I LOVED Still Alice, but it's pretty sad. It's way better than the movie and I thought the movie was good.

Sarah said...

Haven't heard of The Casual Vacancy - I'll have to see if my library has it.

I've been on the waiting list at the library for Still Alice for two months! I always like to read the book before seeing the movie.

Caroline said...

I recommend continuing on with the Bill Bryson. I happen to really like creative non fiction though. He has a fascinating book on English called Mothertongue and a great book on black holes called A Short History of Nearly Everything. He has a great way of making everything interesting and accessible.

I'm rereading Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying right now (I'm teaching it) and it is just fabulous, touching, heart-wrenching. It's so sad but so full of love. One of my favorite books ever. It's her memoir, about her life growing up in Haiti and immigrating to the US.

Cindy said...

After a string of bummers, I finally stumbled upon 4 books that I thought were fantastic...

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce - The story of a man who goes on an unintended physical journey and the things he learns about himself. Also, the spiritual journey of the wife he left behind. It was really good with the exception of a small part in the middle which was a little too "Forest Gump" for me, but is forgivable given the rest of the book.

The House Girl by Tara Conklin - a story about a slave and her master's wife. I tend to shy away from books like these because nothing can compare to The Color Purple, but this one is really good.

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs - about a mother and daughter who own a knitting shop and the relationships that surround them. It's one of those "feel good" books that I think every woman should read. Ironically, I tried to read it's sequal, Knit Two, and just couldn't get into it.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - I can't remember if you've already read this one or not. It's another book that takes place during WWII and refreshingly, does not focus on the Nazi death camps. It paralells the lives of a blind french girl and a german boy who ends up being a soldier.