Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What I Read Wednesday

I've been terrible about keeping up with this lately. I keep forgetting when it's Wednesday, and also, I've had a terrible run with books lately. I've started quite a few and returned them without finishing, so hit me with good book suggestions. I'm desperate!

In the Unlikely Event
I love Judy Blume and this book was really no exception. This book is set in a New Jersey town in the 1950s. During my Miri's 15th year, a succession of airplanes fall from the sky, causing panic and fear amongst her hometown. I struggled with this book at first because it is told from the perspective of so many characters, and I had a difficult time connecting them. Then I just started looking at their connection to the plane crashes and that made it much easier. Although I would call Miri the main character or the main focus, this book was full of interesting characters and plot lines. It was definitely an engaging story and since it was based on the plane crashes of Judy Blume's own youth, I had to wonder how much of it was personal versus fictional.

Go Set a Watchman: A Novel
Ahh, the book that caused much anger. If you haven't yet read it, my suggestion is this: Read it. Remind yourself that it was never edited and that it is not a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. Enjoy it for what it is. What it is: a coming of age for Jean Louise. The realization that her father is not the perfect, larger-than-life man she thought he was. The realization that even though people can recognize change as a good thing, they can still be resistant to it. An engaging story set during the Civil Rights era south. I loved this book. It worked. It did not change my view of Atticus Finch, rather it made him more human. I breezed through this in one day because I had to finish it, but I will definitely be revisiting it.

The Book of Speculation: A Novel
Simon Watson has a storied family history. He lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling into the sea. His sister, Enola, rarely keeps in contact, making her living reading tarot cards with a traveling carnival. Simon's parents are long dead, his mother one of many women in a line of "mermaids," women who make their living holding their breath for an unbelievably long time in carnival shows. One day, a book arrives on Simon's doorstep, from an antique bookseller who purchased it in a speculation lot. The bookseller believes that the book relates to Simon's family, and as Simon begins to read, he realizes that it not only relates to his family, but tells a dire warning of the women in his family who can hold their breath, yet all seem to drown on July 24. As July 24 draws near, Simon races against time and superstition to save his sister. This book flipped back and forth between the book Simon received and the actual events going on in Simon's life. This was one of the rare books where I was just as enthralled in both ends of the story--the past and the present. The author did an amazing job seamlessly weaving it together and allowing me to suspend my disbelief and just follow the story. I loved this book.

UnDivided (Unwind Dystology)
The final book in the UnWind dystology. Like the rest of the books, it is told from multiple perspectives and interspersed with real life newspaper and magazine articles. In this book, the world set forth in Unwind is beginning to unravel, as teenagers and others are standing up against unwinding. It's no longer seen as a solution by all. Connor and Risa still play major roles but both have matured throughout the novels and play a different role than they did in the beginning. Ultimately, I felt this worked well as a conclusion. I was miffed in book three that it wasn't done, but I can now better understand the lead-in to the last book and it was a well-done ending.

Finders Keepers: A Novel
This is part of the Mr. Mercedes series, which Stephen King purports to be a hard boiled detective series. Because there are possibly some elements of supernatural in here, I couldn't quite buy the hard boiled detective aspect, but it's Stephen King so it still works. Morris Bellamy is angry because his favorite literary character sold out. So angry that years after the books have been published, he tracks down the author and kills him. In the process, he discovers a treasure of unpublished books (and a safe full of cash), which he hides just before being locked away for another crimes. Years later, a young boy discovers both the books and the cash. Unsurprisingly, Morris is released from prison and comes back to claim what is rightfully his. Bill Hodges, Jerome Robinson and Holly Gibney from Mr. Mercedes are, of course, in the mix and out to stop Morris. This was an easy, enjoyable read.

The Last Pilot: A Novel
Jim Harrison is a US Air Force test pilot. He spends his days rocketing into the sky, at speeds most of it can barely imagine. When America enters the space race, Jim passes up the chance to be an astronaut to welcome his miracle daughter Florence to the world. As Florence grows, life becomes blissfully routine--until tragedy hits and the foundation Jim had built his life upon is shaken to the very core. What follows beyond is the incomparable pain that life can bring and how it can ruin even the strongest of us.


One crazed mommy said...

I read Mud Vein by Terryn Fisher- not one I normally would have picked out, just by the cover alone. It looks like an erotic book from the cover, however it's not - it's a bizarre psychological mindf*&# - I don't use that word, but I don't know how else to describe it, and I can't tell the storyline without giving it's bizarre, but one I couldn't put down. I didn't understand the cover -however, by the end of the book it makes sense. Not a neat, happy book - but one with interesting characters (with major flaws) and one that keeps you guessing. Read it!!
Currently reading The Memory Box - I can't remember if that was one of your suggestions or not - but so far, I'm enjoying it.

Lyndsay W said...

I've been in a rut too. But next week I'm on vacation so I'm hoping to have lots (please?) of time to sit with a book and a beverage.

I've read:

The Birthday Lunch by a Canadian writer - Joan Clark. Meh. Didn't love it.

Then I picked up 'Devil in the White City' because of you and our buddy Mike. But it seemed a bit heavy for what I was wanting that day.

Then my mom dropped off 'The Miracle Girl' by Andrew Roe. Eh. It's nothing fantastic, but light and easy enough that it works for me during this busy week when I only seem to have a few minutes at a time.

Unknown said...

I read Plainsong after you mentioned Kent Haruf. LOVED it. I had my reading buddy from work read it and she loved it too. Neither of us had heard of Haruf before. After that I read Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, which was very good. Now I'm reading the Rosie Project, which is fun. Up next: Amy Poehlers book.

Becky said...

Did you tell me about When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde? If not, get it now. SOOOO good. I'm sad it's over. So good.

Theresa Mahoney said...

I read John Green's Paper Towns last week. Didn't care for it at all. I think I need to give that author up. I just started The Girl of Fire and Glass Trilogy. Finished book 1 yesterday, but am now waiting for my hold to come in for books 2 and 3. So, I just put If I Stay onto my e-reader and will start that tomorrow.

Barb Ruess said...

Let's see - in the past week or two I've read:
- The Middlesteins, Jami Attenberg: a messy family story and their chose way to hide their feelings is behind food. Decent read though I didn't love any of the characters.
- Our Souls at Night, Kent Haruf: sigh... I already miss his storytelling.
- The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, Jonas Jonasson: not nearly as fun as his other book (which was highly amusing and entertaining!)
- War Horse, Michael Morpurgo: Somewhere in the young adult/older child genre. Told from the perspective of the horse during WWI - it was heartwarming.
- Modoc: The true story of the greatest elephant that ever lived, Ralph Helfer: True? I'm not so sure. Fun to suspend belief and hope it's true? Yep.
- Paper Towns, John Green: I am on the opposite side of Theresa on this one. I loved it. But I love all of Green's characters. Such good voices.