Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What I've been reading

(Numbered as my book count for 2015)

#20 - The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
#21 - Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell
#22 - The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
#23 - The Orphan Sky by Ella Leya
#24 - Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
#25 - Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
#26 - Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
#27 - The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
#28 - First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung
#29 - The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
#30 - Yes Please by Amy Poehler
#31 - Serena by Ron Rash

Of the above, I would 100 percent recommend The Storyteller, The Nightingale, The Boston Girl, Yes Please and First They Killed My Father.  I'm sure most of you have heard of or read these first four.  The last one is a memoir which I'm always hesitant to read but this one focused on the history of Cambodia.  I learned an incredible amount about that country and the turmoil its people have experienced.  It's well written and interesting but with sad undertones.  Definitely not a light read.

So let's talk about Amy Poehler for a minute.  I didn't realize how much we have in common.  We are about the same age and both grew up in similar suburbs of Boston.  My childhood was also filled with scoliosis checks and the threat of a Russian invasion.  While she yells at rude men on planes, I've been known to speak my mind on public transportation.  (It's a Boston thing.)  I too have sleep issues but can sleep like a boss on trains and planes (especially when I guzzle Dramamine.)  Although, my sleep problems relate to how light I sleep.  Every. single. little. tiny. noise wakes me up.  I sometimes have to find somewhere else to sleep because the sound of someone else breathing (god forbid!) keeps me awake.

Back to the scoliosis checks for a minute.  Little good they did.  When I was giving birth to Abigail, they had trouble placing my epidural.  I was stabbed more times than I like to remember.  It was discovered that I have slight scoliosis which, apparently, only seems to be a problem when it comes to placing needles in my spine.  When I was finally able to process this, my first thought was, "But I had all those scoliosis exams in grade school!"

Okay, let's get back to books.  I thought Lone Survivor was a great read but I can see how it may not appeal to everyone as there's a lot of military/Navy Seal talk.  The remainder of the books were okay,  not terrible or poorly written, but not a book I would highly recommend.  If I had to assign a grade to the lot of them, it would be in the B range.  Some of them I really wanted to like, such as Swamplandia! (B minus) but the storyline wasn't strong or interesting enough.  Boy, Snow, Bird (B plus) was different with one of those unpredictable endings.  Serena (B/B plus) just wasn't what I expected.
I know that The Girl on the Train is immensely popular but I didn't love it, maybe because there were too many coincidences.  It didn't seem believable.  I know it's fiction but there has to be some element of belief to it.  It's not a bad read though.  Probably a B plus.


MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

Thanks for the info! I just added the one on Cambodia to my list. I try to read -- at least every other book -- something that has some history/culture/politics behind it.

Have you ever read Jhumpa Lahiri? I just finished her lastest, Lowlands. I first read The Namesake, and it was great. Her fiction provides really amazing insight into Indian culture.

Teej said...

I enjoy reading your book reviews! Interesting to see Ron Rash on your list; he is an author from my state (of whom we are very proud!), and I have heard him read several times. I read Serena years ago and remember liking it, but you're right; it is not one I think to recommend to people.

now I want to read First They Killed My Father. Thanks for the recommendation!

Sarah said...

I haven't read Jhumpa Lahiri - sounds interesting though. I'll definitely check her out. Thank you for the recommendation.