Sunday, November 4, 2012

book butterfly reviews -- october

I've gotten really picky regarding what I read.  I have so many books I want to read (over 250 on my To Read list at present) and so many other things I ought to be doing rather than reading, so when I do pull a book, I'm much more likely to give up if it's not grabbing me and quickly.

In the past couple of months I've started 2 or 3 that I just never had the time to finish before they were due back at the library--I'm not discussing those today.  I hope to get back to those in time. 

But the following are what I either made it through in October or purposefully decided not to finish.

Blackberry Winter

"Blackberry Winter" by Sarah Jio

5 of 5 stars false

Book club book!  It's hard to summarize this plotline without giving away key points. Let me just describe it like this: 2 women in 2 different times (modern day and 1930s) and the parallels of their lives and losses. Claire is a present-day reporter following a story about a freak snowstorm in Seattle in May, paralleling one 80 years prior. She learns of Daniel, the son of a lower-income woman, Vera, who went missing during the storm all those years ago. She then ensues to solve the mystery of what happened to him, all the while suffering some losses of her own.

I LOVED this book. It was fantastic. I listened to this on audio CD, which I normally do not have very good experience with--my mind tends to wander. But the reader (is that what they call them?) really was good; she did voices for everyone, which at first annoyed me, but I eventually really liked. I was pretty much entranced the whole story through, and was not even bothered by the change of narration from Claire's to Vera's points of view.

Highly recommended!


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

"Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" by Seth Grahame-Smith

2 of 5 stars false

I feel like this book started out with so much promise and excitement...but I started to lose interest about mid-way and had to push myself to keep going. This is the type of book that I think is probably 2nd rate to the movie--though I'll likely never know, the movie being R-rated.

It ended up reading sort of like a Lincoln history book and journal all wrapped into one, just with the underlying antagonist vampires thrown in. I do think I would have liked it better if all of it had been written in 1st person. It would have felt more real and I think been more interesting.

Disappointing. You can skip this one.


The Glass Castle: A Memoir

"The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls
didn't like it (my current rating)

This is a follow-up to Half-Broke Horses, which I didn't necessarily love, but I hate stopping a series in the middle, so I decided to go ahead and pick this up. This follows Jeanette Walls' story (granddaughter of Lily Casey Smith) and the absolute ridiculous upbringing/LACK of upbringing she received by her equally ridiculous parents.

I gave up on it because the language is absolutely horrendous. And I don't know if it's because the profanity is said around and to children that got to me, or the fact that I listened to this on audio CD as opposed to reading it, but after finishing up the 1st CD out of 10, I heard one too many "Jesus H. Christ!"'s and decided it wasn't worth it to continue.

I understand the parents cursed, and that's part of the history of what made these parents so completely awful. However, I feel that it wouldn't have changed the story too much to just refer to cussing, or say "he then cursed up a storm" instead of hearing the dad's cuss words every other paragraph. Couldn't do it. Enough was enough.


The Zookeeper's Wife

"The Zookeeper's Wife"  by Diane Ackerman

2 of 5 stars false

This is not normally the kind of book I would pick up on purpose, but every now and then I try to educate myself and expand my mind. This is about a Polish couple in the 30s who run a zoo--amid a world war. I think, at some point, the couple begin harboring Jewish fugitives, and the zoo and animals come into it somehow, but I never got that far. I got to about chapter 7 and gave up.

The writing is beautifully descriptive...but that's all there is for pages and pages and pages and pages and pages and pages...descriptions of the zoo, descriptions of the animals, descriptions of Warsaw and the effects of WWI's bombs, descriptions of the science of keeping animal bloodlines as pure as possible to maintain the species--and of course how that then translated to descriptions of keeping human's bloodlines as pure as possible, weeding out all imperfections and recessive genes. (a la Nazi Aryan Nation, etc etc). Just about every single noun and verb had an adjective or adverb...I mean to the point of ad nauseum.

This is not a novel or a story, but pretty much just a description of the situation based off one woman's journals and memoirs. I understand that this horrific stuff really happened. But the actual book itself is boring as crap. I was dying just having gotten this far. It's good for us to learn about, to remember, to honor, but this format was just not good. It was like reading a descriptive history book.


What are you reading?


leaner said...

I'm finally forcing myself to read The Hunger Games. I have enjoyed the first few chapters but I'm not really looking forward to it the rest of it. My 11.5 year old wants to read it and I feel the need to read it first.

And I refuse to see the movie until I have finished the book (Rhaynnon also wants to watch the movie.)

laurie said...

i'm reading a book called the fault with our stars. it is about two teenagers with cancer. it is so good i woke up at four this morning to read a bit before i had to get ready for work. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wheel of time book 13, in preparations for the final book coming out in January, and The Hobbit in preparations for the movie coming out soon. I also just finished the Rise of Nine, book 3 in the Lorien Legacies.