Books read in February 2012

Four “grown up” books and five young adult books read this month. Apparently, I should have become a youth librarian. Darn you, early twenties ill-thought choices.

Private Life
Jane Smiley
I’m not sure why I bothered finishing this book as it seemed as if nothing ever happened throughout the entire story. On reflection, things happened and I’m still thinking about them, but during the actual reading it was rather boring. Which is kind of interesting, after the fact. And for that I’ll bump it up a star.
The Power of Six
Pittacus Lore
Book two branches out to introduce us to more of the six remaining Lorian Legacies. A lot more of them. I feel this this unnecessarily overwhelmed the plot, especially because there are probably going to be many books in the series. However, there was a lot of action and I was interested, so I find this book to be just fine.
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
Tom Stoppard
Matt and I read aloud.
When I was in high school, a friend of a friend was cast in a local production of this play. I remember being enchanted by the title, even if I had no idea who Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were. I seemed to have missed out on Hamlet in English class somehow. But the play’s title has delighted me for years. It’s not the best read aloud, due to its absurdist plot, but I’m happy to connect title to plot and I wouldn’t mind seeing a production of it, should one appear.
Rainbow Valley
L.M. Montgomery
This is mostly about the absent-minded, widowed minister next door’s children, though regular Anne characters populate the story. After reading it, I lent it to a friend who was absolutely horrified about the level of neglect of the children and the fact that no one in the congregation (not even Anne or Susan) did anything about it. It’s true, they were starved, ill-clothed and completely without adult guidance. Were it today and they students at my school, I would be on the phone to Social Services within a week, but since they were children from long-ago, I took their neglect in stride.
My favorite part of the book came on page 155 when someone exclaimed “Bismillah!” which I had only ever seen in reference to the band Queen’s song Bohemian Rhapsody, but which the internet tells me I have completely missed the meaning of, it being a collective name of a recurring Islamic phrase sometimes translated as “In the name of God, most gracious, most merciful.” Internet, you are quite helpful. The best sentence in the book was “Carl must dree his weird alone.” No one writes sentences like that anymore. I guess they are too busy looking after neglected children.
This book had the usual problem of “very good character development, not so good plot development” but it was better than most. I look forward to reading Rilla of Ingleside and closing out the Anne series. Although there is also a new book, The Blythes are Quoted edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, which I recommend you do not go and read about on the author’s web site as he begins by immediately spoiling the plot of Rilla of Ingleside. I may read the Blythes are Quoted, we shall see how Rilla goes down.

I bought this book for cheap, so if any friends are interested in reading, speak up and I’ll send it to you.
The Way
Kristen Wolf
An alternate version of the Jesus story that I found interesting in some places, but I think the fact that I know the Jesus story made it uninteresting in others.
Let it Snow
Green, Johnson, Myracle
Three interconnected stories by three YA authors. All were good and Maureen Johnson was particularly funny.
The Descendants
Kaui Hart Hemmings
I read this after I watched the movie. Sometimes it works to do that because the book is the same story as the movie, but so incredibly different (The Town/Prince of Thieves) or because reading the book is like getting a DVD extra of the movie, with more plot and more character development (In Her Shoes.) In this case, the movie was such a faithful adaptation of the book and I had so recently seen it, it was hard to divorce the two. I think the movie was very well done and I have the exact same thing to say about the book. Choose one or the other and enjoy yourself.

ps. I didn’t know anything about the author and with the name Kaui Hart Hemmings, I pictured someone like Beau Bridges, an old white guy who grew up in Hawaii. Imagine my surprise to see the author picture and find out that the old white guy was actually a woman, and a fairly young one at that.
Why We Broke Up
Daniel Handler
I’m going to have to read this absolutely fabulous book again, the reason being that I was so eager to find out exactly why the breakup occurred that I read faster and faster as the book progressed, thus missing the delight of chewing over Daniel Handler’s very long and labyrinth sentences and paragraphs. I am a great fan of the dense text and Handler has such a handle on description that I want to go back and savor them. Perhaps this will be my next read aloud choice with Matt. This is another YA book that I can heartily recommend to the non-YA crowd. Also, it’s pretty, what with the illustrations and the heavy paper and whatnot.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Jennifer E. Smith
Great flight of fun which can be devoured in a night. If you are willing to forgo the evening chores.

6 thoughts on “Books read in February 2012”

  1. The best part of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? The question game! April and I saw the movie when we read Hamlet senior year. After that we would play the question game quite a lot! You get drawn in by the first: Do you want to play the question game? question! Oh the hours spent in our dorm room drifting to sleep while playing the game. So, do you want to play?

  2. I do, I do like all of your comments. And I am horrible at the question game. I can't even make it one round.

    Matt and I started to watch the movie, but it was a bit slow, despite having Gary Oldman in it. I actually fell asleep, something I rarely do during movies.

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