Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Books

I heard good things about Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by Emma Straub and it started off really interesting but ended up being unsatisfying.  There was a lot of hype around that book so maybe my expectations were too high.  I also didn't care for Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club.  I liked some of Julianna Baggott's other books so when I saw Pure at the library I picked it up.  It felt like YA but wasn't.  The sci-fi/fantasy genre isn't my favorite but I kept reading, waiting for it to get good.  Spoiler: It didn't. I read Deborah Reed's Carry Yourself Back to Me, one of Amazon Editor's Best Book of 2011 picks, and found it hard to care deeply about the characters, all of whom got wrapped up in a pretty bow by the end of the book.

In Melanie Thorne's Hand Me Down, fourteen-year-old Elizabeth's stepdad gets out of prison for sexual assault and he can't live in the same house as underage girls. Elizabeth's mom chooses him over her daughters. Elizabeth's story of poverty, heartbreak, alcoholism, abuse, and what it means to be a family kept me turning the pages.  However, I found Elizabeth's speaking voice was too adult.  Worth reading from the library.  I also liked Charlotte Rogan's The Lifeboat, about a 22-year old newlywed woman on her way home to Boston with her wealthy new husband, when their ship wrecks in the middle of the ocean and she finds herself in a lifeboat with 39 other people.

I got a kick out of Dan Barden's The Next Right Thing, a book that shows a disgraced former police officer trying to solve the mystery of what happened surrounding his longtime sober AA sponsor's overdose and death.  Peaches for Father Francis, by Chocolat author Joanne Harris, was good but not great.  Beautiful writing kept me reading more.  I'd probably sigh over her grocery list.

Beth Harbison's When in Doubt Add Butter was too fluffy for me. Just fluffy enough was Lani Diane Rich's The Fortune Quilt.  Come on, a quilt-making psychic, a hippie town in Arizona, and the return of a long-lost mom that I read for free thanks to Amazon Prime?  Of course I liked it. Jillian Medoff's I Couldn't Love You More is about a working mom in a blended family who has no idea what's in store for her.  All of the characters are relatable and it build to climax that almost had me skipping to the end.  If you've got a flight in your future, pick up this book.

I was sick and Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy was available for the Kindle from my library so I finally read it.  I had mixed feelings about it.  It's a fast read and I wanted to know what was going to happen next so I kept reading.  I'm not fond of books (or TV shows or movies) that use violence against women, and in this case the torture, rape, and murder of girls and women, for entertainment.  On the one hand, I'm glad that it is becoming part of the conversation that this violence exists, but at the same time I can't tolerate it as entertainment.  I do know I'm a few years behind this controversy. That's also why I hadn't read it before, despite raves from friends.

I finished Heaven on Earth, by Sharifa Oppenheimer, a book that was recommended by my hippie parenting class teacher.  It's aimed at slightly older preschool kids but I really liked the suggestions about rhythm and family festivals.


Anonymous said...

Now, You have time to read and write! I recommend Broken for You, a debut novel that was evocative and emotional and inspiring. You will love it. Elissa K.

Amina Hafiz Sarraf said...

Thank you for the suggestion. Elissa, you were right, I did love it! I got it from the library a while back and could hardly put it down.