Books read in March 2012

Only three YA books of seven this month?  Not bad, not bad.  Book of note:  even if you aren’t interested in Biosphere 2, Dreaming the Biosphere is a great piece of nonfiction.  I hope to read more by Reider.

Read
Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins
Matt and I read aloud.
More great manipulation coming from every direction.  It was nice read it over a period of weeks, rather than days.
Graceling
Kristen Cashore
It took about 150 pages for me to really like it, but then WHAMMO! I was all in and various daily chores were put off.  There were a lot of similarities between the main character Katsa and a certain Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games, and a bit of research shows that both books were published within a month of each other in 2008.  The idea of Gracelings were quite interesting and Katsa’s struggle for freedom was meaningful.

I rarely read Goodreads reviews of a book until after I’ve written my own, but this was an exception.  I was quite surprised at the number of people who disliked the book for its purported “message.”  According to several reviewers, this book existed to warn women away from marriage, as the main character is quite adamant she will not marry, due to the fact that she does not want a man to control her.  Many women expressed they they don’t feel oppressed by their marriage and they didn’t like the author pushing the opposite of marriage upon them.  This was interesting to me, as I find people who apply their own feelings to characters in fantasy settings are kind of missing the point of fantasy novels, and, at the same time, from the view of marriage and owning women, they disregard most of human history.  They may be lucky enough to not feel oppressed in their marriages, but I’m not sure women even 40 years ago could say the same.

Galileo’s Daughter
Dava Sobel
Read for Kenton Book Club.
This book had an interesting premise (letters written to Galileo from his illegitimate daughter who became a nun) and I thought the scientist-to-nun ratio was exactly opposite of what it should be.  I was much more interested in the life of a cloistered nun, but the author has a scientific bent and not a social historian’s bent and thus, we disagreed as to what is most interesting. The politics of science and the Cathloc church were interesting and many people in book group liked this book, but I was not one of them.
Dreaming the Biosphere: The Theater of All Possiblities
Rebeccca Reider
Biosphere II loomed large in my young adulthood wonderings.  For some reason, I was fascinated by the idea of living in a completely closed space for two years with seven other people.  When the mission ended, I read that all of the participants had pledged to not share what went on while inside the Biosphere and I was disappointed I would never find out.

But “nevers” have a way of wandering off as time passes and I’ve since discovered that there are books about the Biosphere II mission written by the insiders.  This, however, is written by an outsider and tells the tale of the creation of the Biosphere, which is as fascinating a story as the Biosphere II story itself.  Recommended.

1Q84
Haruki Murakami
I’ve not read Murakami before and this was a fabulous introduction.  I loved the writing and this was one of those books that I just kept reading until I was done, which was unfortunate as it is a very long book.  It came in handy for days spent in airports, though.  I loved every minute of the story.  Until I was done.  Upon finishing the 925th and final page, I felt a bit cheated.  “I just read almost one thousand pages for that story?” I wondered to myself.  Still, the great prose made this a good experience, even if the I felt sold short by the ending. Also, there’s a lot of sex.  A lot.  I find this interesting as most novels just briefly describe the encounter or sort of brush by it in the style of movies from the 1950s.  Do all his novels have so much sex in them?  Either way, I’ll read more by Murakami.  Who has recommendations for what to read next?
Make the Bread, Buy the Butter
Jennifer Reese
I have never referred to a cookbook as “hilarious” before, but this was that.  I think I found the book funny because Reese seems to have a very familiar style of cooking, that is, getting a bit overwhelmed in her projects.  So if you lean in that direction, you might enjoy this book just for reading.  There was also a great essay about her mother’s dislike of cooking that pulled a few heartstrings. Also, aside from good reading, I loved the recipes.  The book came from the library and I started to mark recipes to copy before returning.  After about the first five I realized I should just buy the book.  So I did.  I’ve already made: bread, bagels(!) cream cheese, almond butter, yogurt and ginger ale.
Fire
Kristin Cashore
Officially called a “companion book” to Graceling this went in an entirely different direction much to my relief as the person who I thought was the main character tortured animals and that is one of the few things I cannot read about in books.  Happily, after an introductory paragraph he was not seen again until the end of the book.  Here we have another strong woman character, lots of battles, intrigue and perhaps a bit of romance?  Sounds good to me.  I will be interested to see if the next book ties the two companion books together.

Note:  I just checked out some reviews and again with the hating on Cashore’s “anti-marriage, pro-casual-sex views.”  Who ARE these people?  Not everyone’s so into marriage and most people I know are pro-casual-sex.  Neither position means the other one is bad. Also, is it just being called casual sex because the characters are not married?  They are in exclusive relationships.  Is this book such a threat because it’s written for teenage girls?  I’m beginning to wonder if this author popped up on some list: “Read this anti-marriage, pro-casual-sex author and say bad things about her.”

One thought on “Books read in March 2012”

  1. Looks like a good list. Mine would say: read 0 grown-up books this month! I think my March reads were quite populated with picture books! 🙂

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