February Book Banter: Part 2

My book reading was a little over the top last month so I had to split my monthly Book Banter into two parts.  If you missed it, read part 1 here!

Now for part 2!

1. Still Life by Louise Penny

338691This is another crime novel series (you know how I like those). In this one we get to follow Inspector Armand Gamache. I have heard that the series takes place in the same quaint area of Quebec and that other characters will make reoccurring appearances.  This excites me. I loved the setting of the book and I want to spend more time there. I am also excited to know more about the characters. They were so well written and there were a few I wouldn’t mind getting to know better. Inspector Gamache is among those characters I find interesting. I loved his approach to solving the mystery and how thoughtful he was.  At one point the inspector is talking with a new detective about how every choice we make and action we take tell us something about ourselves. He goes on to explain that to gain wisdom there are four important things we need to know how to say and to mean: I don’t know, I need help, I’m sorry and I was wrong. That is such good advice! There are a few nuggets like this in the book that I just loved. I find myself thinking about bits and pieces even weeks after reading it. And did I mention this is a murder mystery?!? Super weird. A heartwarming, thought provoking, human nature examining, murder mystery. This is totally my cup of tea. Also the title is so good on so many levels. I am looking forward to the next book in the series! Goodreads rating: 4 stars (but I’d give it 4.5 if I could)

2. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

Ok people, I finally did it. I finally read Hemingway. This man has been someone I have 3876been interested in for a very long time. I’ve read a biography, I’ve read fiction loosely based on his life and his wives, I’ve seen movies about him, but I have never read his work. I avoided it because I wasn’t sure I’d like it and I wasn’t ready to admit it if that was true. I don’t like the Great Gatsby (I know, I know that is like literature blasphemy) and Hemingway writes about the same time period and “the lost generation” so I was scared. I promised myself this would be the year. So I bit the bullet early and checked this out from the library. Let’s start with the fact that this is another brilliant title. I love it. Now let me just tell you what I thought of the book. I liked it. I did not love it. I am not rushing out to read more Hemingway but it was good. I enjoyed the dialogue. It really did seem like inebriated people talking during bits of it. One of my favorite lines was, “How’d you go bankrupt?” the character responds, “Two ways. Gradually then suddenly.” So funny. I did appreciate the narrator and his struggles. He is utterly pitiful. The lady he loves is a bit promiscuous but he is still a good friends= to her and observes, “In the first place, you had to be in love with a woman to have a basis of friendship.” Very interesting statement and I loved thinking about it. There was also a scene when the narrator is pondering his experience at the bull fights in Spain. His feelings are the exact feelings I have felt at the end of vacations, family visits and on the last day of school. That scene really resonated with me. I still didn’t like the parts of it that reminded me of Gatsby (the boozing, the utter disregard for finances, the ridiculous lifestyle, etc.) but I tolerated it This book made me laugh, it made me roll my eyes, it made me ponder. Goodreads rating: 3 stars (I’d give it 3.5 if I could)

3. Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup

21816682So I bought this book because I worry about becoming a reckless spender. I am not one, but I am terrified I might become one. Yikes. I can’t believe I just admitted that. This book addresses those fears and so much more. The main message is don’t fill your life up with things because they won’t make you happy. One sentence I highlighted was, “Ultimately, how we spend our money is a direct reflection of what is in our heart.” I love this. This book talks extensively to help us learn how to change the desires of our hearts  I love when a book offers up a goal and then offers you a real path to achieve it. This book presents scripture from the Bible as evidence of certain points it makes and I have found myself recalling the verses in my daily life. I have found myself rereading the highlighted bits over and over again. The lessons learned in the book mirrored a few I learned from Mindset by Carol Dweck. I love when books come into your life at the right time, and this one definitely did. There were so many places in the book where I stopped reading and talked to my husband about all the ways I wanted to implement the ideas in our lives. This book is a life changer for me. I have started following the blog of the same name and know I will get more insight from it in the coming weeks as well. If you want to even ponder your relationship with possessions and money you should read this. Goodreads rating: 5 stars

4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This book has been on every reading list I have seen in the last year and is another book with an amazing title. I didn’t know much 18143977about it until I finally put it on hold at the library. This book had the makings of a Whitney Grand Slam. It is set during WWII and has two main characters, a blind French girl and a young Nazi soldier. It also touches on the beauty of the ocean and radios. These are two of my favorite things ( I really am a little obsessed with radios). The setting was right, the topics were right and I enjoyed it. Basically Doerr finds a way to weave together the stories of the blind girl and the Nazi soldier. At one point I was not sure this was going to work. But then I realized that every life and every story take surprising turns. Every person we happen to meet is made possible by two people being in the same place at the same time.  How they got their only the tangled web of their lives can tell. Life in the real world is unexpected and unlikely every single day! So why couldn’t it be that way in a book? After I accepted this I liked the book better. There was so much beauty in this book that seemed to become brighter when it was put up against the darkness of World War II. There is a line about the ocean in the book that says, “It seems big enough to contain everything anyone has ever felt.” Not only is this true of the ocean, it is true of the book. I felt a lot while reading this. The one story line I wasn’t a huge fan of relating to a big ol’ diamond. I just didn’t think it was completely necessary and liked those parts the least. This was a well written book with interesting characters and an intriguing story. I was glad I finally read it and imagine it is a wonderful audiobook. Goodreads rating: 4 stars

5. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

17802724I have really enjoyed Liane Moriarty books and read all of her books that I can get my hands on. I have seen this book in the library on my last few trips and finally picked it up. I was avoiding it because the premise did not call to me. Basically, the book asks you imagine what you would do if you found out your husband had a terrible, life changing secret. While it was was scary/interesting to imagine this scenario playing out in my own life, it just didn’t touch me. I  couldn’t identify with any of the characters. There was a lot of good stuff in here about loss and guilt and how that can shape your life which I appreciated. What I really didn’t like was the bits that stated, “if they had made this choice their life would be like this.” I know that our choices make an impact on our lives. But I have a hard time believing that life is really like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book with all the possible endings neatly written out with the paths to get to them easily re-traceable. Life is more complicated than that and our lives have more meaning than that. It just really bugged me. There was also one turn of events near the end that almost made me quit the book because it was so unsettling. So this was a thought provoking book, but it hasn’t got me pondering it still. It is my least favorite Moriarty.  Goodreads rating: 3 stars

So that is is it for February Book Banter! Tell me if you have read these books and what your takes on them were!

Until Next Time,

I love you more than radios and good titles,

Whitney

 

 

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