August 2012 // Books

Just chugging along slowly with my book reading, as usual. 28 books down on a goal of (hopefully)(but, let’s be honest, probably not) 50 books this year.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I discovered and enjoyed Gillian Flynn last summer, and I definitely think she knows how to write a good sultry thriller. If you enjoy dark books, she will be right up your alley.

At this point, you’ve probably heard of this book. The fact that it was the “It Book” of the summer had me anxiously awaiting its delivery from the library, but because I had to wait so long and had heard from so many that there were shocking “twists and tricks” I think it affected my experience with it. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, let me be clear — I LOVED THE ACT OF READING THIS BOOK! It is the kind you read under the covers with a flashlight until way too late at night because you just HAVE TO FINISH. (So page turning, ohmahgawd.) But. I was suspicious of everything right from the start, so I think I there were parts that I over thought and maybe that killed a bit of the enjoyment. Also, the ending rubbed me the wrong way too, and I’m still thinking about it. But I would totally still recommend it (and have!) because the reading experience was so fun. I like a book that gets me all obsessed.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Read this for Book Club this month and had a mostly pleasant time with it. There were elements I really enjoyed about it: the fact that it is an epistolary novel (I’m a sucker for that) and the fact that it is a bit of a romance in it wrapped up in war + history (I always enjoy learning something while hearing a good story.) But I wasn’t IN LOVE with this book.

It was a bit slow to start, the narrator was somewhat irritating at times, and I just generally didn’t feel like busting out the jazz hands while reading it. Perhaps it was because I read in a short period of time and didn’t savor it. That said, it was fine. An enjoyable enough read. Great way to pass the time on a plane trip maybe? But as soon as I closed the book I had already forgotten about the characters. It did leave me wanting to pick up some more historical fiction though — so that could happen.

Hell or High Water by Joy Castro

Hmmmmm…this book. I’m still not really sure what I thought of it. I picked it up mainly because it was billed as a journalistic thriller about kidnapping in New Orleans. I have had New Orleans on the brain a lot lately and LOVE reading books set there. (If you’ve read a good one tell me about it!) It seemed like it would be a great read, but in the beginning I found the protagonist to be completely unrelatable. Her outlook on life and her odd behaviors just felt sort of one dimensional for a while.

My other problem was that the pace of the book was really choppy. I was hoping for a page turning mystery where the setting almost acted as a character. But it was not like that at all. The plot would move forward a bit and then there would be pages and pages of digression describing places in New Orleans or Post-Katrina observations. I’m not against hearing about all of that, but when it doesn’t move the plot forward at all or give much insight into an already unrelatable character it makes a book feel awkwardly disjointed. Also, the ending was ridiculous. RIDICULOUS.

Well then, I guess I do know what I thought of this book now, don’t I? :)

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Completely coincidentally I read this book following Hell or High Water and it was also about New Orleans and Katrina. Though this one was VERY different. The thing about this book is that it has all the things in a book that makes you want to like it: brilliant structure, complex characters, gorgeous writing, and intelligent symbolism. But something about all of that just didn’t add up to an enjoyable read for me. Maybe it was the fact that I was coming off an oddly paced book about New Orleans but I just kept thinking “When is stuff going to start happening?” And I just never really felt like it did.

There were parts that I did enjoy, like the picture the author painted of some of the familial relationships, but I felt like a lot of it was heavy handed and I was not in the mood to be in awe of a book at the time. I was in the mood to read a good story. And this story, was just ok for me.

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo

I read through this in about 2 days and I immediately wanted to get into my kitchen. Unfortunately there are a number of recipes in this book that aren’t Whole 30 approved and we were in the midst of that challenge at the time. In the last couple of weeks though, I have probably tried over half of the recipes and most have turned out fantastic. the funny part is, I didn’t really buy it for the recipes.

What originally drew me to this book was the idea that she has customized 30-day Paleo Meal Plans depending on what your health goals are. There are menus for fat loss, for autoimmune disease control, athletic performance, blood sugar regulation, digestive issues — I mean, quite a few options! But when I got the book I realized that it was much more than that. First of all, it is a HUGE book. They should tell you that on Amazon — it weighs like 10 lbs, I swear! :) The beginning goes into the principles of Paleo in a really approachable way, but with lots of good scientific information. Then there are meals plans. Then there are recipes. It’s a great format. And even as someone who has been Paleo for years, I learned a few things.

*****

Did you come across an good reads this month?

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