Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Books I Read in April

I don't know about you but when I'm on vacation with the kids, my reading drops off.  There just isn't much free time for reading and that's okay.  I finished my last book for this post yesterday.  I always thought I was a fairly fast reader but it appears that four books a month is average for me.  I can speed read but when I'm reading a book for pleasure, I want to actually read it and not skim through.  In order to read more than four books a month, I really have to carve out time to read.  The whole "5 minutes here, 5 minutes there" thing doesn't really work for me.  You need 12 of those to make up an hour and I'd prefer to avoid that uneven flow of reading.

When I came across this book, I immediately wanted to read it because I remembered the news stories and the topic seemed intriguing.  Have you heard of Christopher Knight?  This book (nonfiction) is the story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years.  His living situation became a news story because he was eventually arrested after years and years of breaking into cabins and camps to steal food and supplies.  Who was this mysterious thief and why couldn't he be caught?  How did he survive winters in Maine alone outside with no help?  

The author provides more than details and behind the scenes information.  He discusses hermits and the history of those who choose to live alone.  I was left questioning my own desire to be alone.  Are you an introvert?  This is definitely a thought-provoking book.  After his arrest, Knight was forced to rejoin and become a productive member of society.  Was this fair?

I took a chance with this one and it ended up being much too sci-fi for me.  It is listed under "science fiction" and I should have known better after reading the book blurb but I went for it.  I was about 30% through when I realized it wasn't going to be a book I would enjoy, but I finished it anyway because that's what I do and it's not a terribly long book.  If you like heavy sci-fi, check it out.  Personally, I found the plot to be unbelievable.  There are aliens and a secret government organization and physics.  Pure science fiction.

Here's another book I took a chance on.  I've written before how I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale.  Usually when you like one book by an author, his/her other books are also enjoyable to read.  I read an earlier novel of Hannah's, Firefly Lane, and did not like it at all.  It felt very Danielle Steel-ish to me.  I know I may be alone with that thought but it's my opinion to have.

Winter Garden is supposed to be more like The Nightingale and based upon the good reviews (4.5 stars) I decided to give it a read.  The novel flips back and forth between the years 2000 and 1941.  However, the first part of the book is mainly in the year 2000.  I understand that the author was building the characters but it became very repetitive for me.   Okay, I get it.  They have a strained relationship.  Yes.  Strained relationship.  More on that strained relationship.  I also didn't particularly care for the main characters or their decisions.  They were actually somewhat annoying at times.

The side of the novel that takes place in Russia in 1941 is well written and the real page turner portion of this book.  If that had been the novel without the current day portion, it would have been a much better read.

I keep reading reviews of this book comparing it The Nightingale.  This book takes place during World War II, mostly in Germany, focusing on the relationship between two woman and what one will do to survive or save another.  I can see the comparison between the two books.  It's an emotional read, especially the ending.  Be sure to read the author's notes at the conclusion of the book.  Even though this is technically historical fiction, she based some of the characters on real people.  Of the four books I read this month, this one was my favorite.

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Erika said...

Oh, I did the exact same thing you did- read The Nightingale, then Firefly Lane, and my thoughts were exactly the same. The Nightingale was incredible!! Firefly Lane was...not. Fluffy beach read at best. Kristin Hannah should definitely stick with historical fiction, I think! :) I will try The Orphan's Tale. I can't get enough WWII fiction. Winter Garden sounds similar to The Girl You Left Behind, by Jojo Moyes- which I LOVED. I highly recommend that one, though it does have the alternating between WWI/modern storylines, but I found both stories (that converge, obviously) very enjoyable and thought-provoking!

BreezieGirl said...

I'd probably like The Orphan's Tale. Although, I may need to take a WWII break for awhile because I've inadvertently read several recently (and liked them all but it was unplanned and heavy).

Christi said...

I really liked the Russian part of Winter Garden too. The whole current day sister feud was forgettable and too long.
I started The Nightingale but put it down because it just wasn't grabbing me.

Anonymous said...

If you like WWII fiction you might like Eye of the Needle by Ken Follet. His books always read like movies to me, and can be fun. I particularly liked this one.