Saturday, March 5, 2011

February book totals

15! books read this month. Now, more than ever, I can use the distraction and the escape from reality.

As well as the books mentioned in this post, my reading tally for the month also included:

The Giver and Gossamer by Lois Lowry.
The Giver is often on "best YA book" type lists and was a title I keep coming across on peoples favourite books and such like on so I reserved it at the library. It was a thought provoking read set in a futuristic society where every page just leaves you with more questions about the nature of utopia, choice and freedom. I think if I had not already read a lot of sci-fi, dystopian type novels in my teenage years this would have had more impact on me ; thats not to say it wasn't good, it was, but I didn't think it was tremendously wow in the way many people have found it. I'd like my girls to read it one day - the writing was excellent, and I think the idea of different societies and how they deal with danger and choice is important for them to question and consider.

Gossamer is actually a childrens "older fiction" book and this was a delightfully touching and sweet story about Gossamer - a dreamgiver and two of the humans she visits in the night to make and safely deliver their dreams. It was a very quick read but quite lovely. I've given this to my 8yo to read - I'll let you know what she thinks of it.

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood is one that will appeal to the knitters. Its a bit of a tear jerker in places and I did find some of the pulling of heart strings a little over the top at times, but overall it was a touching and sweet story about finding hope, dealing with grief and what most of us know - that knitting is good for those in troubled times. The knitting details were well researched, and I thought the journey of the main character felt very real - through every stage of grief to her troubles getting those sock needles to behave. This is my first knitting meets fiction novel and I was pleasantly surprised. If you're looking for an easy, knitting novel then this could be a good one for you. Just make sure you have the box of tissues close by.

Sara Gruen is the author of the bestseller Water for Elephants and this is her latest novel - Ape House. I read this in 2 days while we were away. 5 stars from me and a simple comment - Excellent. The story follows Isabel Duncan, a scientist at a Great Ape laboratory where her "family" of bonobo apes live. The apes are capable of reason, of forming strong relationships and can communicate using American Sign Language. An explosion tears the lab apart - the apes are "liberated" and Isabel is injured. Unexpectedly, reality TV turns the apes into a worldwide phenomenon - one that is frighteningly realistic in its depiction of human appetite for voyeurism. The book is quite fast paced, plenty of action and suspense - I thoroughly enjoyed it. I downloaded Water for Elephants from my library as an audiobook so am looking forward to reading/listening to that soon.

And finally... The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack. This is one of those books you will either love or hate and I know there are plenty of haters out there. The style *is* different and the very-present narrator takes a little getting used to but once I got going I could not put this down. Set during WWII, the narrator - Death - makes some grim (and sometimes heartbreaking) observations of the time and whilst some people may have found him/her obtrusive, I liked feeling like I was sitting down listening to Death's recollections of the Book Thief and her life in Nazi Germany. This is a YA book apparently - I'm not sure why. I read a lot of YA and this was longer, with a much heavier poetic writing style, and some interesting "devices" - Max's illustrated books, the definitions/translations, and the interspersed "sidenotes" as Death tells the story - not what I would have typically pegged as YA. I know some people found it gimmicky and I have also heard comments that it trivialized the Holocaust - I thought it was brave and well written. Another excellent read this month.

Current tally 2011 - 24 books - 46% of my goal.

Any great reads for you this month?

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed the Knitting Circle too. I haven't read any Lois Lowry but Mags LOVES her. Number the Stars is a goodie. I love YA lit too;-) (Still into Robin Hood this month though, lol.)