Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

It's been a long time! Freedom took me FOREVER to read! I swear, I've been working on it. And I have to say, I loved it. Freedom has been called a "Great American Novel" and it is a well deserved title.

Freedom is about a family over a span of many, many years. There's conflict, loved, adultery, a prodigal son. Basically all the good stuff that us Americans love to read about. So much drama. While I found the mother, Patty, extremely hard to relate to, I very much enjoyed all the other characters. Even Patty was enjoyable to read about; one of those people I loved to hate. But, I think as I age, I might look at Patty differently.

I really recommend Freedom for pretty much anybody. While I was reading it, a variety of people walked up to me and told me how much they enjoyed it. Many strangers even walked up randomly to talk to me about it in a coffee shop. I love when books do that, bring people together.

Definitely read this one, just make sure you love lots of time carved out!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne

I found The Ghost at the Table as one of the book club books my local library carries in their "Book Club Bags". The title intrigued me and some of my best finds have been random books off random lists I've tumbled upon.

The basic plot of this book was interesting. It was about two sisters and the extremely entangled relationship they have with their father and takes place over Thanksgiving. One of the elements I enjoy most in both books and movies is when they take place over a short amount of time (Gone with the Wind being one huge exception).

While The Ghost at the Table is not going to make any of my top ten lists, I very much enjoyed reading it. It was a nicely crafted story and very well written. The sister's dynamic was very unique and complicated. There were no "twists and turns" but the plot was great.

The Ghost at the Table may be a little deep for some as a "beach read", but I happen to think it would be a great easy read for a vacation, plane ride or just an everyday read.

On a more housekeeping note, I am looking for book recommendations! I would love to hear from some of my lovely followers what they would like me to read next. As you may be able to tell from my previous reads, I have very eclectic tastes. Have you read anything good lately?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Drift by Rachel Maddow

I was really looking forward to reading Drift for a while now. I absolutely love Rachel Maddow and listen to her show every day. I love politics and I'm just a huge fan of hers!

Drift is an oral history of our military, starting during the Reagan years and mostly focusing on the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While Rachel makes some good, broad points I agree with, I just found myself slugging slowly through this book. I just think I'm simply not interested in reading about the military. The writing and tone were both great, so if you will be interested in this topic, you should pick it up!

I am waiting patiently for when Rachel Maddow writes a book about something I am interested in.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sarah's Top Five Books

I have been slacking reading this past week. It is been a crazy, busy week for me with the holiday and work's been a little crazy! With this blog, I told myself I would never force myself to read when I didn't have time because then it would feel like a job instead of a fun, fun thing!

With that being said, I have no new reviews so I thought I would share with you guys what my top 5 books are and why you should read them! These are in no particular order, and sometimes they change with the times and what mood I'm in!

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry

Now, I said these books are in no particular order. This is the exception. This is my absolute favorite book and has been since I read it in 6th grade.

If you have never read this book, please do. It's simply fantastic. It is a "Young Adult" book, but deals with extremely adult topics. In fact, I had to get my parents to sign a waiver for me to be able to read it in school.

The Giver is about a teenage boy growing up in a utopian society that is segregated from the rest of the world. This town is basically in a bubble and has taken away every bit of individuality from their citizens. They also don't have colors, music, weather or pain. While this may sound awful to you, the people there are pretty happy because they don't know anything different and their lives are pain-free! Woohoo for them.

There is one man in the town though (the giver) who has all the memories of these things, good and bad, and our main character is selected to learn about all of these things for various reasons explained in the book.

I won't give any more away although I could talk about how wonderful this book is for hours and hours and hours.

If you haven't read it, please do! Please, please, please. It's so wonderful.

An interesting tidbit about me and this book is because my parents allowed me to read this in school, I have never read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. That is what the only kids with parents not as awsome as mine read instead and I've still never read it. I don't know, is this book still good for adults?

2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

There is not much to say about Gone with the Wind except it is just such a wonderful story. It's just a sweeping epic novel that is extremely well written and just well-told.

While this is an old novel, it doesn't feel like it. It's simply written and language still stands up today unlike some classics (cough, Jane Austen).

So, read it!

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This is the newest entry on my top five list. It's so new in fact, that I've written a post about it on this blog. You can find that post here, so I won't say any more!

4. The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry

Alright, I'm going to have a work hard to make a case for this book. As you may be able to tell from the title, this book is about the flu pandemic that took place in 1918 across our country. If that sounds boring to you, I promise you, it's not. This book is so fantastic.

John M. Barry does such a wonderful job making what could be an extremely boring topic so exciting it's almost unbelievable. This book has so many twists and turns and is so wonderfully written.

If you are going to read just one non-fiction book this year or even in your life, make it this one. You will learn a ton but not even realize it because it will feel like a story!

Also, read it because you can learn a lot about Thyphoid Mary and I'm convinced her story is one of the best in history. And read it because I said so!

5. The Harry Potter Series

When I got married this past August I told my husband and myself I wasn't going to read any of my Harry Potter books until I had kids and I was reading it to them. This is been the hardest thing I've ever tried to do and it's been 11 months. I think that's enough said.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Shack by William P Young

I finished The Shack two days ago and I've been delaying writing this post because I don't really know what to say. I suppose I should start off by saying I was lured into reading this book by false pretensies. Someone told me that there are lots of "religious overtones", which is probably the understatment of the milenimum. Religion is one topic that I don't like to read about. Personally, I think religion is a private thing and reading about other people's relationship with God isn't necessarily helpful or interesting. But, like I said, that's just a personal opinion. So, that's why I didn't want to read this book. But, I did.
And, while it might not be the best thing to do while just starting a blog, I think that's all I'm going to say.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lost & Found by Jacqueline Sheehan

Lost & Found is a book I found on People Magazine's summer reading list. When I saw that it was available on my online library for my Nook, I picked it up on a whim. I'm really glad I did. It was enjoyable and an easy read.
This novel followed the basic formula of a ton of other books I've read. A middle-aged woman becomes a widow and quits her job to try to find herself. Blah, blah blah, boring, been done. But, Lost & Found is a really fresh take on that story in an unpredictable way. There is an honest-to-God mystery story inside this "woman discovering herself" story. While it's not a "crime" or "mystery" novel, the secondary plot (secondary in my opinion) is a crime mystery in the likes of some James Patterson. But with a woman's twist.

The without a doubt best part of the book though is how you hear from so many different people's perspective without it feeling disconnected. The the ultimate best part is one of those perspective's is a dog's! Now, I'm a dog person so I'm biased but I really enjoyed this and thought it was extremely unique. 

I really recommend this book to all women, especially "dog people". But don't let that stop you cat-lover's from putting this on aside, it is fabulous for all people. That being said, it's not deep or really even thought-provoking, but it's interesting and extremely well written.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Come Home by Lisa Scottoline

Come Home was extremely disappointing for me. I've heard great things about the author, Lisa Scottoline and her comparisons to Jodi Piccoult. Come Home had all the elements of a good Jodi book (yes, we're on  a first name basis). It has a woman heroine going through a person crisis, twists and turns and family issues. Unfortunately, that's where the comparison ends.

I absolutely did not relate to or feel for any characters in this book. The whole plot seems completely implausible. And not in the "omg that is unbelievable and would never happen but maybe it could!", but in the, "just no, this is dumb". And honestly, I thought the writing, mostly all the dialogue, was terribly written and just hard to read.

As you can probably guess by now, I don't recommend this book. I can also not see myself ever reading a Lisa Scottoline novel again. I'm sure some of you LOVE her and will think I'm just crazy. That's fine.