Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I READ SOME BOOKS! // July Reads // Saint Anything Discussion

Planes are the best for reading. For me anyway. Anybody else?

I feel like I can't do anything else while I am on the plane... so why not continue reading? Blissfully undisturbed.


Here is what I read in July:

1) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A children's classic, but one I had never read. I thought it was funny how the author describes Mary, the main character. She is depicted as ugly and unhappy. It makes sense as you go, and I loved reading about the transformation of her character. Even though I had seen the movie a lot as a kid, I really enjoyed reading this. Hoping to read, A Little Princess someday soon.

2) Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I downloaded this from an online library, and it was great. I just tore through it. It's about two young magicians who are involved in a competition. I can't say much more, as I think the mystery is a big part of reading it and enjoying it. :) Also, don't think circus-y circus. It's more of a magical take. Though I would have liked a little more background on all of the magical details, I would definitely recommend it if you like YA/fantasy! - KC started reading this when I was done, and could barely put it down. He would stay up super late trying to get further into it each night. I have since recommended it to at least 5 other people!

3) Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

This is the Literary Ladies book club book. I downloaded it from the online library right after I finished Night Circus. I read most of it on our 9 hour flight from AK to TX. It is about a girl who's older brother is sent to jail. In the aftermath of what has happened she has to find out who she is on her own. This one was a little bit dramatic for me, but not too bad. I thought it was good, and a relatively quick read. I do think the phrase "took a beat" ("a beat later" "after a beat") etc. were extremely over used considering it was written from a teenager's POV. Thoughts on this phrase? What did you think Literary Ladies book club folks?

4) Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

A bestseller that has been taunting me from bookstores for a while. I bought this in February and finally had a chance to read it. It is the type of book that is written where each chapter is from a certain story line, think Love Actually. There are about 5 or 6 main pieces that fit together at the end of the book. As you read it, unless you have a lot of time each sitting, it can feel a little disjointed. The first few chapters move back and forth between the same few plots and then you are reading a chapter from a WWII memoir, then a pitch for a movie about The Donner Party. Those chapters are pretty long, so it can seem a little strange! The book follows a young Italian hotel owner, a sick Hollywood actress, an assistant in Hollywood, a recently divorced writer, and a struggling musician. The plot shifts from location to location, from the 1960's to the present, and a few places in between. Overall I liked how things came together at the end, I felt like I had a good understanding of the different characters' lives, and I was pretty attached to the story line. It was however, a little too bleak for me. Let's just say the emphasis was on "Ruins". There isn't a rose colored lens, and I suppose in ways that is really good. It makes you think. But sometimes, especially during a busy, emotional summer, it was digging into some things I would have liked to ignore. In the end the focus was more about how those struggles shape you and effect you, rather than moving on from them. Has anyone else read this? What did you think?

5) Hector and The Search for Happiness by Fran├žois Lelord

This book is from Plucky's book club Plucky Reads. It is very short, and written in a very simple way. I kind of loved it. Especially after Beautiful Ruins - for both the simplicity and the outlook. It follows a psychiatrist named Hector, who is treating many patients who are unhappy, but do not know why. So he travels around the world in search of happiness. He meets many interesting people along the way and compiles a list of what happiness is and is not. It was easy to read, and fun. I appreciated how even in difficult situations the book was not depressing. It was more focused on the big picture, on gratefulness in struggle, and moving toward happiness. Again, something that I found lacking in Beautiful Ruins. This has also been made into a movie, and I can't wait to watch it. :)

Currently Reading: Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

So far I am really enjoying Capote's writing style. It written from the very observant writer's eye. Giving fun details about even the smallest characters in passing. It is certainly less "Hollywood" than the book, but I'm loving it just the same. It isn't broken up into chapters, which I think is causing me to slow my reading a little bit. Still, it is short, and quick to comprehend. So I imagine I will be finishing it up here soon.

Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge Update: 4/10 (Hector and Tiffany's are too short!) - and I have clearly switched some of my books around....

Wanna Join? It's not too late. Do that here.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

What have you been reading lately?!?

XO,

Alexandra

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