Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's been a very long time since I've posted here. I'd like to try to revive this blog, and focus on book reviews and my own writing.
This year I've read 36 books so far, which is equal to what I read all of last year! I started out with a modest goal of 25 books, but achieved that very easily and upped my goal to 50. I should meet that easily as well. I like having a goal to keep me reading, but I do find that I sometimes get impatient when a book takes too long to read.
Two books on my list have received five stars this year: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, and I, Zombie, by Hugh Howey.
I love Hemingway. I make a point to read something by him every year around Memorial Day. There is just something about Hemingway that makes me want to read his work in the springtime. A Moveable Feast is about the time Hemingway spent living as an expatriate in Paris with his wife Hadley and their young son. His circle of friends there is impressive, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Gertrude Stein. None of us will ever really know what it was like to be there, but A Moveable Feast does an amazing job of making you feel like you are. I felt a strong emotional connection, so strong that I found myself weeping over F. Scott Fitzerald and his wife, Zelda. As a writer, I also relished much of what Hemingway says about the process in this book. I felt like I was getting advice from a master. That's priceless. A Moveable Feast has earned its way on my list of favorite books of all time.
My other favorite book of the year so far is Hugh Howey's I, Zombie. I know all the buzz this year is about Wool, and I loved that, too, but in my opinion I, Zombie is even better. Howey puts a new spin on the old zombie tale, by taking us inside their heads. Howey's zombies retain all their thoughts and memories, which makes them especially terrifying. Some of the characters in this book still haunt me. Read it and you'll see what I mean.
My most recent read was Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I'm fairly new to YA, having only started reading it a couple of years ago when The Hunger Games was all the rage. I've read some very disappointing ones that had a lot of hype surrounding them (looking at you, Fifth Wave), but Before I Fall was excellent. It's by far the best YA book I've ever read. It follows Samantha Kingston, who relives the same day over and over again following an accident. I had a few minor quibbles with the plot: I had a hard time believing that a snobby teenager could come that far in a few days, but overall it is very well done. I couldn't put it down.
I'm currently reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I think it was a mistake to read this and Before I Fall at the same time. Compared to Before I Fall, Anna and the French Kiss seems overly fluffy and insignificant. I have about 100 pages to go and I'm getting tired of the, "OMG, I loooooove him" storyline. That's really about all the substance there is to this book, unfortunately.
I'm also reading Sutton by J.R. Moehringer for my book club. It's about a bank robber who is released from prison after many years. I'm not very far into it yet, but I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes.

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