January books

7 books down, 993 to go! The 1000 Book Challenge is off to a great start. Good news- I’ve read 7 books already this month and I could absolutely make it 8 or 9…or 10 at the rate I’m going. The not as great news- so far only one of those books has been from our personal library. But when I get a good book recommendation, I just MUST check it out!

Without further ado, here’s a short(ish) review of what I have completed this month:

Before I Go- Colleen Oakley
I wouldn’t have read this book if we hadn’t voted for it to be our February read for book club. The premise seemed strange to me, a woman who is searching for a new wife for her husband before she dies of cancer. But I am SO glad I did have a chance to read it. I was captivated by the end of the first page. Honestly, I had a hard time putting this book down. Oakley has a way of finding the humorous in the hard, and that is what makes it so relatable. I laughed especially hard at the ‘caulk’ moment at the doctors. It reminded me of when my grandpa had been told he needed to have a quadruple bypass a few years back. After the doctor made it clear how serious it was, my grandpa’s first words to him were, ‘Can it wait until after the holidays?’. He was more worried about not being able to decorate for Thanksgiving and Christmas than he was about possibly dying! And that is what is so striking about Oakley’s novel. Daisy is more concerned about how her husband will go on without her than her own needs. Just make sure you have the tissues at hand before that last chapter.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye- Cynthia Hand
I rarely come across a book I don’t like. Catcher in the Rye is one of them, classic as it may be. This is another one. I know that sounds brutal, but it’s the truth. The topic at hand- suicide- is a very sad one, but the book itself wasn’t sad. Perhaps Hand was too close to the subject, her own brother committing suicide at the age of 17, and was thus not able to write deeply about it. I’m not sure. It’s also a juvenile book, so it might be great for teenagers who are going through something like this. But it was a little too juvenile for my tastes (although that did make it a very fast read, it only took me a few hours to read it).  I felt like the majority of the book was the main character, Lex, reflecting on her relationship with her boyfriend and awkward high school moments, not so much about her brother, Tyler, or how his suicide impacted her. After looking back, I can see how the book did at least see Lex and her mother through the grieving process. But I could have gone without the ‘is he or isn’t he a ghost?’ confusion.

Career of Evil- Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
Another stellar stand-alone installement of the Cormoran Strike detective series. If you didn’t already know, Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling…and if you did not already know that and read this book, you wouldn’t guess in a million years. Galbraith/Rowling just has an incredible writing style that keeps you turning the pages, chapter after chapter. What is especially haunting in this particular story are the chapters written in the killer’s perspective. Wow. Talk about terrifying. If you enjoy wit and mystery (and don’t mind quite a bit of language…) then this is a MUST READ. Then go back and read the other two books in the series- The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. I really hope Galbraith/Rowling keeps churning this series out.

The Bassoon King- Rainn Wilson
My husband and I are HUGE fans of The Office. I had been on the wait list at the library for his memoir since November. Yes. NOVEMBER. It finally came through after two months of waiting. Needless to say, I finished this the same day I started. It’s a great insight into the mind and history of Rainn Wilson. I don’t what it is, but I really enjoy reading about the background of my favourite people. I love learning about their childhood, what got them started in their particular passion. Something I love about this book is that there is actually very little about The Office in it. Okay, on one hand I wish there was more, but I understand there was so much more that led to Rainn Wilson being on The Office. I like learning about that.

From Animal House to Our House- Ron Tanner
My husband picked this up from the library for himself…and then I snatched it and read it first. (I rarely do this….okay, I do this a lot) This is the true story of how Ron Tanner got the house to get the girl…Well, got the house to renovate the house. When they found this grand Victorian house, it was trashed. My soul wept at the things that happened to this house with it was bought by the fraternity in pristine condition and in 10 years they managed to basically obliterate it. But Tanner not only renovated it, he restored it. I think he and his wife Jill just recently SOLD it, but you can check out more of the story here.

Homebody- Orson Scott Card
Hurrah for book one from our personal library! Finally getting into things! I started this book thinking it was going to be a lot scarier than it ended up being. Thank goodness. I am the worst with scary books (and movies). I am dreading reading the four Stephen King novels we have. So within the first 100 pages of this book, I thought it was going to be scary and had to have my husband spoil it for me. Once I knew it wasn’t going to be terrifying (because I was reading past dark), I was able to carry on! Card is an excellent author. It was suspenseful enough to keep me turning the pages and didn’t turn into a haunted house cliché. I never thought it would though, Card is an amazing story teller.

Another Day- David Levithan
Another book I read in less than 24 hours. It is a juvenile book, but levels above Hand’s version of juvenile. This is a juvenile sci-fi/fantasy that is a sequel to Every Day. In Every Day, a teenager who we know as A doesn’t have his own body but every day wakes up in someone else’s body. One day he meets a girl, Rhiannon, while he is in the body of her boyfriend. Another Day is Rhiannon’s side of the story, starting from the day A is in the body of her boyfriend. It’s an impossible kind of love story, as Rhiannon and A keep trying to meet. If you have read Every Day, I highly recommend this book too. The end was satisfying, enough to make you wonder if Levithan will continue the story in another book. But if Another Day is the end to our story, the end was pretty satisfying. I’m always kind of sad when I finish a book like this because I don’t really want it to end, but that’s my own fault for going through it so fast (the day I started I had had coffee at 8pm, started the book at 10pm and just read until I got tired, and there went half the book).

I guess for all of these I would say they are quick reads, but at what point does my saying that really have any meaning? I do happen to go through books rather quickly. I know I have some heavier, slower reads coming up (like having to read Dante’s Divine Comedy…but that will be a while down the road).

Have you read any of the above books? What did you think? And what has been on your reading plate recently?

Read on!


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