Books Read February and March

Let’s see how well I can remember much of anything…..

Okay…here goes:

1.  The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon:  Future, dystopian England, specifically London.  Woman named Paige is “clairvoyant” (basically psychic or has special “powers”) which is outlawed in this futuristic London.  She is captured and sent to a prison colony where she is “supervised” and trained by a Rephaite named Warden.  Basically, I think of the Rephaite as fallen angels on steroids.  NPR/other book critics call this a mixture of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter.  Nope.  Yes, it’s dystopian.  And it has people with special mind-bending powers.  However, it’s much darker than Harry and not as allegorical as Hunger Games.  I enjoyed it, though.  It was a fascinating read to follow someone through a world in which she is struggling to survive and has to conceal something that is innate and part of her…genetic structure.

2.  The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon:  Book 2 in the series.  What’s depressing is that it’s supposed to be a seven book series and she’s only written two books so far.  If Shannon dies before the ending of the series, I’m going to be furious with her.  Not that it will do anything.  But my rage will be wrathful.  Which is terrifying.  By the way, in case you can’t tell, I’m enjoying the series…a lot.  Okay.  Paige is part of a criminal syndicate, basically a clairvoyant version of the mob.  And I can’t write about anything else without giving away what happens at the end of book one which would not be fair if you are actually wanting to read this series….which is really good.  But it’s not Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games and goes for a moonlit ride on broomsticks.  But it’s still very, very good.

3.  War and Peace by Tolstoy (first name can’t spell…and I can’t remember it either):  I am woefully under-read when it comes to the classics.  First of all, when I was in college, I didn’t read like I should have.  I read…but not the books I was assigned.  Second, I was not assigned this book in college.  But everyone makes it out to be this masterpiece of people living in…yup…you guessed it.  War and Peace.  The novel is a bit self-explanatory.  And the story is fascinating.  I had a hard time with the Russian names.  I kept on calling (in my head) the main character Count Bazooka because his name looked like that phonetically.  That and I was reading the book while working out at the gym so my Nook was bouncing so the words were throbbing…and I kept on farting.  That’s very distracting when I’m trying to read and work out and people are surrounding me.

By the way…I actually liked the book, when Tolstoy wasn’t going on and on and on about Napoleon and battle strategy and why he lost the war in Russia (ooooooppppppssss ….SPOILER ALERT!)

4.  A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini:  Love.  Love.  Love this writer.  Love his books.  Love how he writes and how he crafts a story so that the characters are breathing in between my hands and I am mourning their tribulations as their lives unfurl before me.  This novel is not The Kite Runner part 2.  This novel is life in Afghanistan as the king is deposed and then the Soviets invade and then the Soviets leave and the warlords fight for Kabul-scraps until the Taliban enters as a savior only to destroy Afghanistan.  This book makes me want to be a better woman, a better teacher, a better human.  This book is one that helps me see that my life is good and my husband is wonderful and my children are grand.  This book makes me appreciate toothpaste and dentists and the compassion that has been extended to me.  If you are going to read any of the books I write about…this is the one!

5.  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimon:  Fun.  What a wonderful, fun read about a boy who grows up in a graveyard.  Yup.  A graveyard.  His family is brutally murdered when he’s two and he escapes into a graveyard where the ghosts have pity on him and they raise him and protect him from the dark man who killed his family.  Gaimon writes with emotional eloquence and beautiful words that leak off the page and make you pause.  And he’s got some seriously cool illustrations too.

6.  Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed:  Okay, I lied.  Hosseini is a brilliant writer, but I think I love this book just a wee bit more than A Thousand Splendid Suns.  I wrote a post to Bethany who was the person who called me at my home and told me to stop everything and buy and read this book.  Whereas Hosseini’s book makes me want to be a better person, this book made me a better person.  It showed me nuances of grief and helped me to see how to be a better friend to those who are grieving.  This book made me sob on the first couple of pages and healed parts of me that I didn’t think were fractured.

7.  The Front Porch Profit by Raymond Atkins:  Love this book simply because it is not a hard read but it is captivating.  Basically, Appalachia Georgia, on a mountain.  Main character, AJ, is coming to terms with the fact that his best friend since elementary school is dying from cancer, and the dying process is ugly.  As AJ cares for Eugene (the friend), Atkins brings in such wonderful moments of humor that I was bursting out laughing while working out at the gym (no, I was not using my boisterous laughter as cover-up).  My favorite parts dealt with a “drive through” restaurant (drive through because someone crashed their car into/through the restaurant) that is owned by a very religious man: Hoghead.  Hoghead changes the menu and the name of the restaurant daily, generally mixing the two together.  Such as: “The road to Hell is paved with chicken fried steak.” Yup, save me a stool at the counter, I’m hungry.

8.  I think I read something else…I really can’t remember….going through my brain…going through my brain….empty.

What a surprise…I can’t remember.

Once more, give your thoughts on good books, good things to read.  I’m always up for something new.  If not, I’ll dig a little more through my own shelves.  If I can remember or find the title of the missing book that I may or may not have read, I’ll update the post.  If not, I’ll be hanging out in my bedroom, dreaming of cookies and good literature.

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