Thursday, June 4, 2009

For the Record: May 2009:

Just like I expected, a slow month of reading is followed by a faster month.  May had a nice mix of genres.

SnowSnow, by Orhan Pamuk. This was my book club book this month. It was translated from Turkish, and the author holds a Nobel Peace Prize in Literature. The writing was really wonderful. I felt like I was experiencing a rare treat in his writing style. It was dense and poetic. I wish I'd been more interested in the topic, however! If you are interested in the cultural and religious struggles in Turkey, or even just the culture, I would recommend this book. It explores the resurgence of political Islam in eastern Europe through the eyes of a poet returning to his country after being in political exile for many years. It is not a light, quick read, but it is worthwhile if you are up for an introspective, somewhat elusive, thoughtful read.

Pride and Prejudice (Everyman's Library)Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. I wasn't planning on re-reading this book this year, but I picked it up on a sentimental whim and couldn't be persuaded to set it down again. It was much more enjoyable this time around, since this time around I am much more familiar with the storyline and the language. The ending is lovely, and probably the only thing lacking in BBC/A&E adaptation of the novel.

Skinny-Bones, by Barbara Park. Well. I read this book aloud to my kiddos as a break from all the history related books we'd been reading all year. I wanted to find something light hearted, and just downright funny. I pulled out my Read-Aloud Handbook (Jim Trelease) and browsed the suggestions. His description of Skinny-Bones sounded like just what I was looking for. Unfortunately, both my children and I were sorely dissappointed. We rarely even chuckled, for all the humor is not in the best of taste. The boy is boastful, deceitful, and disrespectful. The parents are shallow and catty. The boy's interaction with God consisted of bribes. The kids were baffled and somewhat disgusted. On a more positive note, Timothy wrote a great book report about it, and we had some great discussions. It makes me sad to see those bad qualities idealized, especially realizing that many people won't find anything wrong with it whatsoever...just look at the reviews on Amazon.

Sarah's Key, by Tatiana De Rosnay. This book was also a book club read, although on a different level than the one before. I'm not complaining--sometimes it's nice to break up the harder stuff with some easier stuff! This book was easy and quick to read, but very heavy in subject matter. It deals with the WWII holocaust, but as experienced in Paris, France. It was a side that I'd never heard before, and I'm glad to have learned of it. There were parts to the book that took place in the 1940s, and parts that took place in present day. I enjoyed the historical portions, and got very tired of the drama in the present day situations.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. What an amazing book. I must have read this in highschool, but I really didn't remember it. I really loved it. It's going on my favorites list to be sure. The writing was smooth and easy to read, but very insightful and layered. The characters are all so real and vivid. Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.

Beauty, by Robin McKinley. This is a great little retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It really brings it to life, and fleshes out the story. My 8year-old daughter really wants me to read it to her, but the language is still a little difficult for her to follow.

By the Shores of Silver Lake, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Our next installment in the Little House series, these have been fabulous to re-read.

A Flickering Light (Portraits of the Heart, Book 1)A Flickering Light, by Jane Kirkpatrick. This is the 3rd book I've received in Library Thing's Early Reviewer program. There is slated to be a sequel to this book, but I think that the novel stands alone. It is a Christian novel, but is without the preachiness and pretense that I often find in other Christian fiction books. Jane Kirkpatrick wrote this book based on her grandmother's life at the turn of the century. The main character (based on her grandmother) was a photographer's assistant, certainly not typical of the time. I enjoyed the book very much.

The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks, by Nancy McArthur. Now this book was funny. If you are looking for a funny book to read to your kids, pick this one--not the one previously mentioned. We had many rotflol moments. Good thing there are more in the series!

Miracles on Maple HillMiracles on Maple Hill, by Virginia Sorenson. Yes, this is the second time I've read this book this year! I read it in February to make sure that I wanted to read it aloud for my kiddos. I did, and they all liked it. It made us all sentimental for a place called home.

Land of My Heart, by Tracie Peterson. This is 1 of 4 in a Christian fiction series that I borrowed from my mom. This is my first time reading Tracie Peterson, and I enjoyed it. There was a lot of tragedy, but ended with hope.

The Coming Storm, by Tracie Peterson. This is 2 of 4 in the above series. After this book I felt like some of the characters were a little too perfect. Good thing there's 2 more!

To Dream Anew, by Tracie Peterson. This is 3 of 4 in the above series (the 4th I didn't finish in May, so it will be reviewed in June). This book was better than the first 2, I felt. At least there was more action! Everything started to develop more. I like how Tracie Peterson goes about writing a series. Each book is it's own story, that all add up to something full and big, as opposed to just one story stretched out with a big "To Be Continued" sign.

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