Book Chat

Reading Log: August 2012

It’s time for another monthly update on my Reading Log!  August seemed to last exactly one month—it didn’t fly by, but it didn’t drag either.  I read a few really good books, and now that Fall is almost here, I’m starting to get excited for the upcoming holidays.  I can’t wait to visit and be visited!

So here’s my Reading Log for August 2012, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  Plus I like to rate the books I read on the grading system and keep track of the binding.  Don’t ask why… I just like my statistics at the end of the year 🙂

August 2012

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.

Title Start Finish Grade/
Format
The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72,
by Molly Peacock
7/14/12 Still Reading

TBD

PB

Mothership,
by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal
7/27/12 8/2/12

A+
K

Looking for Alaska,
by John Green
8/3/12 8/7/12

A+
K

Will Grayson, Will Grayson,
by John Green
8/8/12 8/14/12

A+
K

The Modern Quilting Bee Block Party: The Journey of 12 Women, 1 Blog & 12 Improvisational Projects,
by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lenjieks
8/12/12 8/18/12

A-
PB

Gone Girl,
by Gillian Flynn
8/15/12 8/18/12

A+
K

Where We Belong,
by Emily Giffen
8/19/12 8/28/12

C-
K

An Abundance of Katherines,
by John Green
8/28/12 Still Reading

TBD
K

Thoughts:

The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, by Molly Peacock

Still reading, and still enjoying, although it’s a bit slow going.  I’ve been reading most books on the Kindle app on my iPhone, so I can read on the bus to and from work every day.  I just don’t have space to lug a heavy book around, so I’ve been reading this on the weekends at breakfast.  Maybe next month I’ll finally finish it!

Mothership, by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal (A+)

YA Lit.  I don’t even know how to start describing this book.  It’s hilarious, action-packed, and the heroine is sassy and snarky as all get out.  What more could you possibly ask for in a fun summer read?  You’ve got hormonal pregnant teens in space, you’ve got intrigue and flashbacks, you’ve got futuristic technology… not to mention feuding aliens, invaders, dire situations that seem like they can’t possibly get any worse until they do, best friends named Ducky, you’ve even got James Dean… and best of all, a completely kick-ass protagonist.  There’s really no better term to describe her.  And!  And!  This is the first book in a trilogy!  You can bet your buttons I’ll be reading the next one the nano-second it’s available on Kindle.  Highly enjoyable, with one caveat: you can’t think too hard about it.  You could get seriously ill if you really stopped to think about all the ramifications of what these pregnant teens experience.  But I totally pushed aside all my thinky thoughts and just let the plot sweep me away—it’s one hell of an adventure!  I really can’t explain how much I enjoyed the book—it wasn’t intellectual, I didn’t learn anything, it didn’t inspire any noble thoughts, but I loved the roller coaster of a plot…  it was the quintessential girl-power summer read.

Looking for Alaska, by John Green (A+)

I suggested this for Book Club, because I wanted to read more by John Green after loving The Fault in Our Stars.  The girls in my book group were less than impressed, and said condescending things like “I can see why younger teens would like this book,” but at the time I didn’t feel up to defending myself or the book—I could feel myself regressing into the shy-girl I’ve been for most of my life.   I totally shut up like a clam and felt really uncomfortable the whole time.  The group dynamic at the gathering was a little different than usual, with some of my favorite people out, and this was the first negative experience I’ve had with my CA book group.   I guess that had to happen eventually, since I’ve been having such a great time so far with this group of girls, but it was discouraging.  On the bus home, I started thinking that maybe I should tone down my Reading Log thoughts, but as I was putting this post together I purposefully didn’t alter a single word.  I still really love this book!  I think it’s great YA Lit, and I won’t back down—even if I didn’t have the guts to speak up at book group.

So here goes! Boarding school in Alabama from the perspective of every-man character Miles: high school angst, pranks, unrequited love, and tragedy.  I was afraid this book wouldn’t live up to the hype, because I’ve heard so many people professing their love for it—and it was worth the buildup.  I loved this story more than The Fault in Our Stars, I think, because the characters seemed more true to life.  I knew teenagers just like Miles, Takumi, the Colonel, and even the impulsive Alaska.  Reading it as a slightly older young adult, I think it actually seemed more convincing because as a high schooler I never (in a million years) would have engaged in any of the main characters’ shenanigans.  I was way too naïve and scared of consequences.  I think I would have been shocked and maybe exhilarated if I had read this as a teenager, but I wouldn’t have been able to relate to it the way I can now.  Genuine, charming, realistic, heartbreaking.  This book is the epitome of YA Lit, the best of the genre.  And I’m putting ALL of John Green’s novels on my To-Read list.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green (A+)

I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this, other than that it was co-written by John Green.  I didn’t expect such an achingly honest look into the lives of teenaged boys and their relationships, including the complicated depictions of depression and homosexuality.  I’ve honestly never read a book from the perspective of a gay character, and I was incredibly impressed.  But even without all those heavy and important subjects, there was still a lightness and realistic wryness that makes this a great piece of YA lit.  Enjoyed mightily.

The Modern Quilting Bee Block Party: The Journey of 12 Women, 1 Blog & 12 Improvisational Projects, by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lenjieks (A-)

I loved the structure of this book: an online quilting bee, each member hosting a different pattern for each month of the year.  So, twelve different quilt projects, each a different skill, and twelve different perspectives.  I was expecting a bit more of a storyline, but this is essentially your standard how-to quilting book, with a modern aesthetic.  I liked how each quilt was shown with one set of colors, and the example block was done in different colors so you could visualize some of the other possibilities–very helpful.  The only thing that bothers me with modern quilts is that sometimes the “wonky” look makes it seem like the quilter is trying too hard to purposefully get a primitive feel–while using brand new fabrics and modern equipment.  I like the look, but it seems silly to try so hard to make it look accidental.  I might try a few of these designs–none are especially complicated, and they look like a lot of fun.

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn (A+)

I’m not normally one for thrillers, but I heard so much buzz about the exceptional writing that I gave this book a try.  I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone, because I was completely sucked in!  The plot was nuanced and sickening, in a thrilling sort of way.  The twists were mind-bending, and I had to update Sam along the way–in exclamations–because it was so surprising and gripping.  The characters were awesomely crafted–told in alternating perspectives of husband and wife when the wife goes missing and the media frenzy that ensues.  I won’t give away the whole story, but things are not how they seem at all, and the “biased narrator” perspective was used exceptionally well.  The ending is entirely fitting, although not what I imagined would happen at all.  Super satisfying read!

Where We Belong, by Emily Giffen (C-)

Every time Emily Giffen writes a new book, I really, really want to like it.  I say the same thing every time: I loved her first two—Something Borrowed and Something Blue—but every book since has been a disappointment.  Same with this one.  All of her books are character-driven, so not much happens plot-wise.  In fact, when I went through the list with Sam and told him about each book, he said “That’s it?  That’s what the whole book is about?”  Yep.  There’s one situation, which lasts a few months, and the characters hash it out for 300 pages—mostly internally.  And the books usually end on an unfinished note, which I guess is supposed to be realistic, but is mostly just annoying.  The premise of this one: Marian had a baby when she was 18, and didn’t tell anyone about it.  Kirby is the adopted baby, and when she turns 18 she seeks out her birth mother.  Everything that unfolds is very, very predictable.  You could guess the entire plot without ever looking at a single page.  I can’t say I liked this book, although it had promise.  I usually like or at least relate to most characters, even if they’re supposed to be unlikable, but Marian and Kirby are almost unbearable.  Both of them are ungrateful, selfish, and boring.  They didn’t really have personalities, just interesting hobbies—Marian is a TV producer and Kirby plays the drums—that felt like they were just tacked on to make them “unique.”  I still like Giffen’s writing style, but once again, I really, really wanted to like this book and I just couldn’t.

An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green

Just started, still reading!  I think I’m in love with John Green 🙂

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of August.  Anyone else reading a good book?

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2 thoughts on “Reading Log: August 2012

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