Friday, February 7, 2014

A Thousand Acres

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley...It was an entertaining read though it was slow moving in spots.  It is a retelling of King Lear which is why, I guess, I didn't appreciate it as much as others.  I have never read King Lear nor do I know the story.  It's a Pulitzer Prize winner and gets great reviews. I've got nothing was just OK to me.  

This book fulfills the USA Fiction Challenge (Iowa) and The Full House Reading Challenge (Published before 2013).


Synopsis found here.

Parts of this story were beautifully written and some parts felt more like the author was practicing "mind dump." There were sections that were heartbreaking and very realistic. I do think this book does a good job of highlighting how chronic illness can wear and tear on a family.  I didn't care for the sections of the novel where clock repair manual excerpts were used...I felt that those areas were just filler and I found myself skimming over those. The ending was confusing. Overall the story was just OK for me...I need to think on this one some more. It was a quick read so I might re-read it again later in the year.

Reading Tinkers by Paul Harding fulfills "less than 200 pages" for Full House Reading Challenge, "Award Winning" for The Eclectic Reader Challenge.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

It took me awhile to get into Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, but when I finally did, I really enjoyed it.  At first, I felt the author was too whiney and I quickly got tired of  the self-pity. I was however fascinated by the whole idea of her hiking the PCT by herself so I continued reading.  Fortunately, the author uncovers feelings about her life and the death of her mother and grows as she progresses on the trail.  I loved that she never gave up even when things got tough.  I caught myself thinking "now what are you going to do?" several times. I would certainly recommend this read.  It's a good book even though the beginning was a little hard to get through ( I do think the self-pity, etc at the beginning was necessary though so we could see how far she had come emotionally).  Plus, I think it sparked an interest...I might need to do some hiking this spring.

This book fulfills The Monthly Keyword Challenge for January ("wild") and the "Non Fiction" square in the Full House Reading Challenge.

Blue Asylum

Just finished reading Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall.  This book fulfills the "Blue" category for the Color Coded Reading Challenge , "Florida" for the State by State Challenge and "Historical Fiction" for the Full House Reading Challenge.

Honestly, this book caught my attention because it is about characters in an asylum.  It has been sitting in my TBR pile for awhile now though because it is set during the Civil War and historical fiction is one of my least favorite genres.  So, I reluctantly read this and enjoyed it!  There were several events that caught me off guard and I appreciate that.  I like Hepinstall's writing style and will probably read her other works.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bent, Not Broken

Nice story about compassion, understanding and empathy.  I was really able to "feel" the angst that the main character with OCD was feeling.  I thought there were times that the girlfriend fed into his compulsions, almost to the point of encouraging them, but then there were times she showed great compassion.  Overall, I feel that this book showed how difficult it is to live life and have relationships with others when you suffer from OCD.  I also feel that the story shows that there is hope...that there are people who are willing to try to understand the hardships of the disease and are willing to love regardless.

This read fulfills 1 of 12 books for the Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge 2014.

OCD: National Institute of Mental Health

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Monthly Keyword Challenge

The last reading challenge I will join this year.  I am addicted....

Monthly Keywords:
  • JAN- Angel, Secret, Clock, Black, Day, Wild         
  • FEB- Her, Life, Night, Red, Dark, Island
  • MAR- Forever, Inside, Storm, Sky, Flower, Stay 
  • APR- Star, Light, Never, Princess, Break, Clear
  • MAY- Dawn, Death, End, Lost, Beautiful, And
  • JUN- Color, Beyond, Found, Place, Grave, Road
  • JUL- Crash, Ship, Prince, Whisper, Sun, Of
  • AUG- Forgotten, Down, True, Run, Danger, Me
  • SEP- Number, Take, Shadow, Ice, Who, After
  • OCT- Ocean, Blood, Still, Out, The, Fate
  • NOV- Into, Sound, Blue, House, My, Last
  • DEC- Kiss, Fire, Ruin, White, Promise, Infinity

Friday, January 3, 2014

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

 This is a story about a double murder committed, in the name of God,  by two Fundamentalist Mormon brothers.  Along with telling the story of the murders, the author also details the history of the Mormon church.  I was intrigued and confused by what I read and found myself really thinking about religions and religious extremists.  The section of the story where the author retells events of the murders is gruesome and stuck with me for several days.

 I found myself intrigued, bothered, concerned....just a lot of different emotions!  This was definitely a "thinker" book for me.  I now have many, many questions.  So Mormon friends, you have been warned!!  I'm coming with my questions!!

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer fulfills #2 (true crime non-fiction) book in The Eclectic Reader Challenge 2014 and "Suspense or Crime" for the Full House Challenge.