05 July 2012

3 Books

The last few books I’ve read have all been recommendations.  A few months ago my mom gave me a stack of books; one of the perks of being the closest child when she is in a purging mood.  My mom doesn’t really get books out of the library and, even though she has an iPad and is thinking of getting a Kindle, I don’t foresee her buying ebooks any time soon.  Instead she buys books.  Old fashioned, wonderful books.  (Real book versus Kindle is still a daily dilemma for me.)  My mom also only reads books once.  She is not like me, re-reading parts of Mara, Daughter of the Nile or Seven Daughters, Seven Sons every time I dust.  Given her habits: acquiring books and always trying to get rid of ‘stuff’ from her house, she gives stacks of books to me (which I never refuse).  

Among the latest stack was The Help.  I had heard all the reviews and saw the movie previews and was interested in reading.  And there it was, plopped in my lap.  A road trip to Pennsylvania was all I needed to read most of it.  It was a good, quick read.  I kept waiting for something really bad to happen but thankfully it never did; I like happy endings.  And it was for the most part.  Almost too happy, which is one of the criticisms I’ve heard.  I found the novel had a decent ending, but the movie ending was sappy with a neat little ‘cheese’ bow on top.  
The core of the novel is powerful even if the events might be far-fetched (according to one person I talked to).  The story forced me to remember that this isn’t just history, but really happened, and not that long ago.  (I find it easy to forget that history happened.  Maybe it’s because I read so much fiction.)
Best line: “Bosoms [...] are for bedrooms and breast-feeding.  Not for occasions with dignity.” p.379
Bottom line: I really liked The Help and would recommended it.
The next book I read is actually a trilogy.  Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon too.  I read The Hunger Games.  Actually it was the first fiction ebook that I bought on my kindle.  I was flying to Colorado and had finally finished my last seminar of school (i.e. no homework), also the ebook was $15 for the trilogy - hard to beat.  I started reading with too much skepticism.  I had heard too many opinions.  But I got into it.  Overall I was entertained and enjoyed being sucked into a book series, that hasn’t happened in a while.  Collins’ writing did bother me a little bit, there were sentences that jarred me out of my book coma, but what annoyed me the most (spoiler alert) was how many characters she kills off in the last few chapters.  Couldn’t there have been some left?  I’m a sucker for happy endings.  I did like that Katniss kills President Coin instead of Snow, it’s a gutsy move and I liked it.  Also, by the end of the books I wasn’t a fan of Gale anymore.  He was too brutal, war-ready and blood-thirsty.  Peeta became the better choice.
I’m still not sure I love them, and the jury’s still out on whether I will see the movie, but I am glad I read them for myself.  Now I can be one of those opinions too.
Worst line: “If I don’t show up, worry they will.” Chapter 11, para 3 Catching Fire (Since when does Yoda live in District 12?)
Bottom line: Eeh, it will keep you entertained if not en-grossed (pun intended).
Maeve Binchy’s Evening Class was also in the stack of books my mom gave me.  I had never heard of it, but picked it up while I was dusting and started reading it.  It took me a while, I think I started it soon after reading The Help and finished it this month, but it was a good book.  There is a large cast of characters that are all intertwined in one way or another.  It takes a bit to unwind them all, especially when reading it over a few months.  Although it isn’t a whodunit, it reads similar to an Agatha Christi mystery.  There is no great moral message, just a group of unhappy Dubliners who come together to learn Italian in the evenings.  Again, I kept expecting something terrible to happen, but it all ended very calmly.  I like happy endings!
I don’t have a favorite line.
Bottom line: A little slow for a beach read, but the character development/intertwindness (new word) was good.
What books have you read lately?

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