I haven’t done a Weekly Reads Wednesday post for a while and that’s because since I’ve been focusing on my own writing, my reading pace has drastically decreased. I’ve done a few book reviews for the sites I read for, including:
(Click on the links if you’d like to check out the reviews)
But, reading has always and will always be simply a source of pleasure for me. Here’s what I’ve been reading just for kicks since my last WRW post:
- Two Across by Jeff Bartsch 4.5/5 stars 290 pages: Two teenagers – Vera and Stanley – meet at a Spelling Bee competition and are so well matched that they end up sharing the win and develop a personal relationship from having to see each other every year at anniversary events. Although they are both lonely and socially awkward children, suffering from being raised in non-traditional households and with education as their sole focus, they decide to get married before they go to college so they can use the money they get from wedding gifts to make the life they really want.What happens at the wedding and whether theirs is a marriage that can/should last is told in the most original way – through the coded crossword puzzles both Vera and Stanley are passionate about. It really is the only way two genius wordsmiths could communicate.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini 371 pages 5/5 stars: I loved everything about this book – the memoir-style, the voice of regret that makes it so easy to love and abhor the narrator, the love that is expressed for all the characters, characters so well described I felt like I knew them, so much so that I cried when one of them died. Khaled calls The Kite Runner a novel but it is easy to imagine him as the young man in the story, growing up in Kabul, betraying his best friend, Hasan, spending the rest of his life trying to pay for his crime, trying to absolve himself in our eyes by writing his version of what happened so we can understand him. This is truly one of the most memorable works of fiction I’ve read this year.
- The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith 235 pages 5/5 stars: This heartwarming and laugh-out-loud story takes place in Motswana, with Mma Ramotswe as the No. 1 Lady Detective. It’s the first in the series and gives the foundation of how Mma. came to become a detective with her own business, the story of her family, what it’s like to be a single woman in her country, and of course, how she solves some of the mysteries that come her way. Mma. Ramotswe is a funny woman, proudly calling herself fat and enjoying herself whatever she is going through. She is an easy character to love, even when she makes mistakes and I plan to read the rest of the series.
- Paper Towns by John Green 305 pages 4.5/5 stars completed 9/11/15: Two children – Quentin and Margo – live next door to each other and when they are children, they find the dead body of a stranger who committed suicide in a park. Although they are neighbors, they drift apart as they get older, although the sordid memory holds them together. Over the years, Margo runs away to have an adventure but she always comes back. A few weeks shy of their high school graduation, they spend a night together, Q driving Margo to the house of everyone who’s done her wrong so they can pull pranks on their friends. It almost like Margo is getting ready to leave again. And then the next day, she disappears, leaving him a clue that suggests that she has gone to the paper towns and she’s not coming back. Unless he can find her before she’s gone forever. The only problem is Q doesn’t know what the paper towns are.
- The Divorce Party by Laura Dave 244 pages: Maggie is engaged to Nate, a man she doesn’t know. Of course, she doesn’t know that. But on the morning she’s heading to The Hamptons with him to attend a party his parents are throwing to celebrate the end of their marriage (the divorce party), she realizes that he’s a millionaire even though she’s just spent a sleepless night worrying about paying the bills. On the way to Long Island, she meets his high school sweetheart who seems to still be part of his life. And then she finds out he was married to someone who is the exact opposite of who she is. And that’s just Maggie’s story. Gwyn is Nate’s mom, about to celebrate (?) her divorce, the demise of everything she’s worked for in her life, forced to live with the secrets her husband has been keeping from her. But she has some secrets of her own and everything is going to be revealed at the party. Overall, it proved to be an interesting read, even if the twists were a little predictable.
- The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han 276 pages YA novel. 3/5 stars: Isabel (Belly), her mom and her brother have a tradition. Every summer, they join her moms best friend, Susannah and her two sons Conrad and Jeremiah at a summer house on the beach. Belly loves ones of the brothers although no one is supposed to know which one yet. The problem is they still see her as a kid. She is!The novel wasn’t a page turner and it didn’t have any great surprises but the writing was okay. The disposable characters were treated exactly that way, even when that treatment seemed unnecessarily harsh at times.One thing I didn’t like is the way the flashbacks were treated. It was hard to keep track of how old Belly was at the time things were happening but that might have been because she was doing some very grown-up things.I’m not sure I would recommend this to a teen, just because I wouldn’t encourage a 15 year old to emulate these characters.
- A Long Time Gone by Karen White : Historical fiction that follows 4 generations of Walker women, chapters alternating through 3 of the women’s voices and experiences. It was a clever way to tell a story that I found very intriguing, illustrating how problems can plague several generations of a family, especially when the issues are never dealt with, or sometimes even acknowledged. One of the highlights of reading the book was connecting with the author on Twitter – she followed me back! We’re almost-namesakes, after all!
What’s the best / funniest / saddest / worst / most memorable book you’ve read lately?
Shared with Christine, Broke and Bookish, Steph