July 14, 2015
Books that I'm including in the Literary Ladies Book Challenge are in blue.
#33 Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam C+
I recently took a class about generational poverty and that was essentially the topic of this book; how students perform is directly related to the outside stressors that they have to deal with. If you, the student, don't know where your next meal is coming from or if your parents are in jail or are perpetually unemployed or something, school is not your concern. It's more about survival.
Or, if your family tree has 62 different branches on it, you are naturally just confused about things. Parent remarriages and live-in "spouses". Half-siblings here, step-siblings there, grandparents raising kids, constant moves and changes to living situations...it affects everything students do.
However, there's a statement Putnam made about how "Many studies have shown that parental engagement-everything from asking about homework to attending PTA meetings-is associated with higher academic performance, better socioemotional skills, and other facets of student behavior...".
Eh, I don't really believe that. Reading the case studies was interesting though.
#34 The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah B
If you can power through the first 6 or 7 chapters of this book without ripping it in half, returning it to the library, or falling asleep, you'll be treated to a decent story about WWII. It's just your classic semi-love story, kind-of-adventure story, told from different points of view and from different time periods. If you like WWII fiction, give it a try. I enjoyed it well enough but it did drag a bit. Definitely written from a chick-lit point of view with a dab of historical fiction, not the other way around. This wasn't a book I couldn't stop listening to; it wasn't THAT good. But it wasn't bad. Just took me a while to finish.
#35 Where We Belong by Emily Giffin A
I hate that I liked this book. I have this thing against Something Borrowed, though I never even read it. I saw the movie once on HBO or something and the fact that it starred Kate Hudson made all of Emily Giffin's credibility go out the window.
However, while perusing the meager holdings of the library on base, I came across the audiobook of Where We Belong and listened to it while I was cleaning and cooking one day.
I couldn't stop listening which is evidence of why I listen while I drive. I'm not going to drive farther to keep listening. But I literally got nothing accomplished this particular afternoon because I was so focused on this book. This dumb book they'll probably make into a movie and it'll star Kate Hudson.
However, I really enjoyed this book.
If I can't stop reading/listening, I have to give it an A. That's a personal rule.
#36 My Friend the Enemy by Dan Smith B+
I was at the Toyota dealership in Pueblo last month and I started talking to the lady next to me and she was an elementary school librarian. We discussed books and this was the one she told me I just HAD TO READ. So, I added it to my list and found it at the library. I'd never heard of it and it's a really new book. The way she talked about it, I'd assumed she'd been reading it to kids for years.
It was good. I liked the writing and the way the story flowed. It was nice and descriptive. There was character development. I don't know if I would read it to kids below 6th grade because it's pretty deep. Great to read with your child though if you have a 4th or 5th grader and have the time to discuss it.
Oh, it's about a kid and his friend who find a stranded German soldier in the woods after a Nazi plane crashes nearby.
(Do you like how I tell you nothing about these books but more about how they relate to me or how I came to find them or why I read them?)
#37 Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng A
I read this in two days. I really liked it. It was kind of depressing and kind of eye-opening and I think it's an easy summer read for anyone, even it if makes you kinda sad. I think I like depressing books in the same way I like depressing movies. I feel like most people have read this book by now because it's been on my to-read list for a very long time, so I'll spare you a synopsis. If you're looking for an easy weekend read, this is perfect. It's a young adult book about a teenage girl who doesn't quite fit in, flashing back and forth to her parents' point of view, her brother's, her little sister's, etc. I recommend it!
#38 Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris B-
When I went to add this to my Currently Reading list on Goodreads, I realized that I'd already posted it last year and I never did quite finish it, so I'd only given it one star. However, it, along with Dead Ever After CONTINUE to sit in my nightstand because I always meant to give it another go. I was lucky enough to stumble across the audiobook at the library, so here we are...
I really enjoy listening to Charlaine Harris' books. So much better struggling through the settings, multiple characters, trying to remember what is going on 12 books into the series, etc.
I highly recommend the audio if you want to finish out this series in a less painful way.
The verdict by the time I'd finished all 8 discs was that I really didn't hate it. I didn't want to turn it off. I wasn't bored. I was curious to see where the story went next. I would've had a lot of trouble if I forced myself to struggle through the paperback, but the audio version was manageable.
#39 Wonder by R.J. Palacio A+
I'm very disgruntled about the fact that I teach 4th grade because this book might be a little too much for a read-aloud for them. I would have to edit a few parts out here and there (5th graders dating, etc). But this book was quite WONDER-ful. I read it within 24 hours (and it's really not that short). I'm a sucker for books told my multiple narrators. If you haven't read it yet, I think you'll really enjoy it. There's a couple of sequels out there that I would like to get around to also. Maybe if I have a mature class this year, I'll read it to them. I think it's just too important not to share.
#40 One Plus One by Jojo Moyes A+
I loved this book. That's all. For as annoyed as I was by many parts of Me Before You, I was just as pleased with One Plus One. I think most of you have read this by now, but rest assured: I don't read a whole lot of chick lit (except for this month..apparently I've been reading a lot of it). This one, I liked. It'd make a great movie.
#41 Yes, Please by Amy Poehler D-
I wasn't impressed. It was super scattered. It didn't read like a memoir. Tina Fey's book read like a memoir; it told stories in a sequential way. While I don't mind jumping between past and present, chapter to chapter, Yes, Please actually jumped topics from paragraph to paragraph and sentence to sentence. I WANT to like Amy Poehler. I'm not saying I don't like her. I just kind of felt like I was being yelled at or lectured or bragged to for most of this book. The sentences weren't well-crafted and you might say that's because she's not a writer of books, she's a writer of scripts. Fantastic. Don't write a book. Not everyone has to write a book. I don't think I LOLed at all...I did learn more about her past which I appreciated, but it was disconcerting the way she mentioned her ex, her divorce, and her new boyfriend within the same chapter. If you were Elizabeth Taylor writing your life story at age 80, that'd be cool, but you are writing about your boyfriend of two years, right next to your husband of nine years and in the same paragraph as your children and this, like, just happened. It was just awkward. (For the record, I'm on Team Arnett and I still want to know the WHY.)
This whole book just seemed pre-mature and not well-thought out. I knew there was a reason why I kept putting off this book. I wouldn't recommend it.
#42 Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris B+
I've spent a lot of time saying I didn't like the way this series ended simply because I couldn't force myself to read the books because they weren't engrossing enough. That's evidence of not-good books. However, having nothing to do these last few weeks, I made myself read this book. Two years after beginning the Sookie Stackhouse series, I've finished them all.
And I'm going to be honest here: I like the way the books wrapped up. The whole series took a downward spiral, but I suppose it could've been worse. Sure, I was Team Eric for awhile when it came to the show. Actually, I was desperately rooting for Team Eric, never Team Bill. But HBO managed to butcher a perfectly good storyline in such a horrific way...the books ended on a much better note. I was never Team Eric when it came to the books. I didn't like the way he was portrayed in the books. Like, he was written SO differently from the script that I could barely picture Alexander Skarsgard as I was reading. It's never a good thing if you can't match up characters. I could picture Sam though. So...I'm happy enough.
And this book actually wasn't that bad. I was kind of bored by Deadlocked, which was a nice little roadblock to finishing the series, but I'm now assuming the utter outrage at the last two books in this series came from the fact that (SPOILER ALERT) Sookie did not end up with Eric. Oh well. I will tell you that the demon/witch characters still annoyed me. There wasn't nearly as much fae discussion in this book though.
Nothing can be as bad as that last episode of True Blood. So maybe this was a slight victory.
Also, I attempted Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris. It's her new series and the first chapter put me to sleep and I didn't care enough to continue. If you liked the Harper Connelly books, you might like the Midnight, Texas series, but I liked the Harper Connelly books. So take my opinion for whatever its worth.
Well, there we are. For as terrible as May was for books, June was wonderful. Lots of book recommendations!
Linking up with Jana and Steph!