Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fifty Book Challenge #10-13

Light and fluffy. Definitely not heavy. For obvious reasons that is what I wanted in my books while in Florida. I'm so glad I dove in and searched for such books because after a very long reading slump where I actually began wondering if I'd ever read regularly again, the state of inertia is finally over. I challenged myself to read fifty books this year- and considering I'm at book #14 at the moment I don't know if this mid-summer reading-burst will help me reach my goal but there's something to be said for trying. I used to post my book reviews on my review site. There are hundreds of books there broken down by category. This year I decided to update my 50 book challenge book reviews on my writing site and while I had been doing it, the truth is it's a lot of work to upkeep and update multiple blogs. As much as I love the concept of separate blogs for separate facets of me, its not possible to do each one justice given the fact that time- it be limited.

In any case, without further ado, the books:

The Heights. I could tell you this story is about a couple with two small boys living in a sought-after part of NYC and how their quiet normal lives are turned upside down by the arrival of a new neighbor. I could, but the plot is really besides the point. The point of this book is the effortless prose and the well-rendered characters, the type that will stick with you long after you are finished reading. It's a light read to be certain, but its done well. I didn't like how the author ended the story but I still love the book and will definitely be keeping my eye out for other books he's written.



Spoiled. I love the Fug Girls. When I heard they wrote a YA book I definitely planned to get it from the library but when I read a starred review on NPR hailing it as light and well-written I bought it right away. If books could be cotton candy, Spoiled would fit the bill. Two long lost sisters reunite, one a down-to-earth midwestern girl who only recently learned she's the daughter of a celebrity, the other a spoiled LA chick who is jealous at this newfound sister entering her life and taking from her precious time with her father. It's completely predictabe down to the last page, but I knew that going into it. I just wanted a new fresh funny take on a very tired story plot. While it was good enough, the name-dropping of actors and dress designers and purses was way too much and distracting me from getting on with the story. I expected pop culture references and designer labels, its the Fug Girls! but it was excessive and got in the way of the story. The pop culture references ensure this will be a book that will not make sense to a future generation, but for this one, its good enough, and it was the first book I managed to finish in months- so that's saying something. 

Still Missing. I saw this book on the 'new to paperback' section of B&N. I simply meant to browse it to see if I should add it to my library queue. My normal rule for buying books is a) only if I liked it after reading at the library, or b) if its just not available at the library, or c) if I want to support the author because I know or like them. I guess I can now add d) I can't put this book down and now the B&N employees are staring at me leading me to wonder if reading books cover-to-cover while in a bookstore constitutes shoplifting. So I bought it. The story is narrated by the protagonist during her therapy sessions where she recounts a kidnapping and the effects that did not end with her freedom. This book is super-suspenseful but also a no need to dive into reserve brain cells type of book. Things start with a wham and don't slow down until the last page. I don't love the writing style- the author's voice seeped through too much- but this book was about the story not the writing. If you've ever accidentally channel surfed yourself into a Lifetime movie you couldn't stop watching [you know, the one where the woman marries this awesome guy but then he turns out to harbor a really dark secret and is actually a jerk? Yeah, that one!] then you will love this book. Not a contender for the National Book Award- but entertaining and interesting.


Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. It's strange to keep saying I normally go to the library and then review all books that I purchased, including this one. In my defense, it was a particularly mundane day and when I saw this book at Target while shopping for diapers and paper napkins I just wanted something cool to dive into when I got home. Plus a friend said she loved it. And it was 20% off. If you like Jane Austen you might like this. It's well-written, poignant and funny, and explores a topic I don't normally read about in modern literature- the concept of growing older told with a sharp eye on the reality without consuming us in its desolation. It is also a love story between a Pakistani woman and a British army Major in a world where such a thing is unheard of. I think the author overdid it a bit with descriptions in the beginning and so it took me months to get past the first fifty pages, but once I reached page 100 it was downhill reading from there. Definitely one I'll re-read again.

Good books make my day, so thankful to have finally found some, currently inhaling What is the What  loaned from a friend and double-checking my library catalog because fifty book challenges means one cannot purchase each book one reads- well one could I guess- but one would not be financially wise in doing so. One thinks.

Hope you found this helpful! What good books have you read lately?

11 comments:

md said...

hm, i haven't heard of any of the books you mentioned, so thanks, perhaps i'll enjoy them too! i don't do much 'light' reading, but the last 'light' books i LOVED were 'the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society' by mary ann shaffer, and 'a cup of light' by nicole mones.

am currently reading the secret speech by tom rob smith, which is more plot than prose, but hey, that works sometimes for me too!

C said...

Awesome! I am currently reading 'who do you think you are? Michael Shumacher?' i read only 1 hour/1 week so it will take time....

Aisha said...

Md I heard a lot of GLPPPS I'm going to have to check it out! never heard of the other but cup and light both sound delightful :) I feel like for every 1 hard difficult book I read I need 2 light ones [well written for sure but light] to balance me out. What is the What, about the Lost Boys of Sudan might require follow up with something very light.

C, haven't heard of it, but hey about your time frame to read- at least you're disciplined! Long time no hear, I hope you're doing good.

kmina said...

I have raed a ton lately, watching George sleep forces me to sit down and be quiet and so I read. What I would recommend are the following:

Guy Deutscher - Through the language glass. It is a linguistic work, but written with the larger public in mind. If you read it, you will understand why I love linguistics. Since you are interested in W being bilingual and en is your main language, this book will help you understand a bit the mechanisms behind languages. Needless to say, I loved it.

Rosamund Lupton - Sister. It's a thriller, and I am into thrillers. But this one is not your usual thriller, and for a change, when writing about pregnancy, the author does not spring out rainbows and unicorn winds. It is quite touching and the sibling connection is wonderful - made me feel sorry for being an only child. AGAIN. I could not put it down. But it does not leave you with a bitter after taste. Can't say more.

Patrick Sueskind - Das Parfum. Obviously, Perfume. I saw the movie, but the book is brilliant. I hear the en translation is very good. Even if you know the plot, the writing will be with you for a long time. One of the few books whose main character is abominable yet fascinating and it is so good I've read it three times already. Must read.

David Lodge - the campus trilogy, (Small World, Changing Places, Nice Work) and Deaf Sentence. I love Lodge, so I am biased. But try it for yourself.

Right. Done for now.

raisingbrainchild said...

Can you send me some of your resolve to help me STOP BUYING BOOKS! I went to the drug store (I mean, Half Price Books) yesterday over my lunch hour hoping to find a certain book on potty training. Instead, I came away with a Laurie Halse Anderson (I just finished "Speak") and "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy. I can't decide which one to dive into first. I keep telling myself that I'll sell some books back someday, but I can't bring myself to do it.

iamstacey said...

OMG I LOVE Half Price Books! Only, I never want to take any books back so I never get any free! I've been reading the True Blood Sookie Stackhouse books. They're definitely no-brainers, but they're juicy fun! :)

Aisha said...

I took a few linguistics classes in my masters Mina and I LOVED LOVED LOVED it- thanks for these recommendations, hope they're available at my library am bookmarking now!

Raising, I need to look up Half Price Books- from what you and Stacey are saying it sounds like a great place! I heard mixed things baout Roy's book, curious how you will like it!

bongi said...

you're so lucky you have a decent library near you! my local library is full of trashy books, and it's small, and it never gets new titles in :(

Aisha said...

Bongi, my personal library never has anything, but I can always request things from other libraries to be shipped there- do you have that option??

raisingbrainchild said...

Stacey - what's this you say? You can get free books there? Oh dear...

Aisha - you should probably stay away for your own good...but it is a pretty wonderful place at the same time!

As for Roy's book, I watched my cousin carry it around with her for the better part of a year. She always seemed so engrossed in it, that I now feel compelled to figure out what that was all about!

Simeen Alikhan Kazmi said...

Aisha- I recently listened to "The Help" on audiobook and I LOVED it. Now I'm eagerly awaiting the movie! It's light but with some substance in there. Highly recommend.

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