Wednesday, February 3, 2010

For the Record: January 2010

I can't believe it's already a new year of reading! My goal this year is to make a major dent in the books on my bookshelf that still need to be read. I got to cross 2 of those off my list this month. Not enough! I tend to choose books by my mood, so it's definitely a challenge for me to read books that have been staring at me for years.

1. (3.5) The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties, Jonathan Leaf. We just moved into a mid-century modern house in remarkably original condition, so I was inspired to know more about the '60s. This went quick, was definitely biased, (it had the obligation to contradict all the assumptions about the 1960s,) but very interesting all the same.

The Help2. (4) The Help, Kathryn Stockett. I have to admit that I was surprised by how much I liked this book...I thought that with all the hype about it, I'd be let down. But I wasn't! I enjoyed the characters, and being plopped down in a different time and place.

3. (3) The Piano Teacher, Janice Y. K. Lee. This book was just average for me. Average writing style--pretty easy to read. The subject/storyline had real potential to be captivating and different, but fell a little flat for me. It took place in Hong Kong in WWII. There was a character with my name, which is unusual, so that was kind of fun.

4. (2.5) The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom. This was one of those books that has been on my shelf forever. I don't know where I got it, but I didn't really like it...I'm glad I got it done with though. It felt contrived, and I really don't like emotional manipulation or too much romance/feely stuff, so that may be part of the reason.

The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook5. (3) Developing a Supernatural Lifestyle, Kris Vallotton. I'd started to read this a while back and then set it down, so it didn't take me real long to finish it. I don't often read Christian "self-help" type books, because there seems to be so little actual substance. This book really wasn't any different for me. There were some good things he said, but they weren't substantiated/developed quite enough for me. And he really needed a better editor (if he had one at all) really REALLY badly. There were quite often sentences that were repeated--word for word--one directly after another. You might be able to do that while preaching (for emphasis or some such) but it does not work in a book.

6. (4) The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook, Joyce Lankester Brisely. What a sweet storybook! Nice stories from a simpler time, and well written too. We all loved it, thank you Sonlight!

Rabbit Hill (Puffin Modern Classics)7. (3.5) Rabbit Hill, Robert Lawson. I'm on a little Newbery Medal kick, and so picked up this book. It had delightful drawings and anthropomorphism, a really sweet story. If you like to imagine that all those wild animals out there have personalities and relationships, then you'll probably enjoy this book. It's quick to read, exciting and heartwarming, simple yet thoughtful.

8. (3.5) Criss Cross, Lynne Rae Perkins. Another Newbery book: fun, funny, interesting mix of writing styles in the different chapters...a bit surprised it's a Newbery book though. It didn't have much of a storyline, more of a peek into the humor and wonderings of young teens.
When the Elephants Dance
9. (4) Abel's Island, William Steig. Yet another Newbery book. This one really captured me. The drawings added to a wonderfully told heartwarming story.

10. (3.5) When the Elephants Dance, Tess Uriza Holthe. I liked parts of this book, disliked other parts. It took place in the Philippines during WWII and contained many "the-moral-of-my-life-story" tales. Those tales I liked, but the story that was supposed to tie the whole thing together was tedious and unengaging.

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