If you read my last post you know the foggy weather had me down during the month of March. Never before has foggy weather hindered my reading, but this spring break I did not finish a single book. I made it most of the way through one but only finished it today. Super weird. Luckily, this week it has been the nice weather keeping me from my reading. The little dose of sunshine has really helped my mood and I am sure my regular reading habits will be back soon!
Let’s get this banter started!
1. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
I was very excited to read this book again because even though I listened to it with Anthony on a road trip 5-6 years ago I couldn’t really remember it. This was a good story and the last in the Chronicles of Narnia with all of the original characters, the Pevensie siblings. They find themselves back in Narnia to help the rightful heir to the Narnian thrown overthrow the current tyrant. There were strong themes of good and evil and some of the fun found in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when a cast of characters that include a squirrel, badger, a good dwarf and a valiant mouse join in the fight. This book really tested my voice making ability as I read it aloud to my students! There were so many characters and often a good amount of time passed before I had to use a specific voice again. I seriously considered keeping a voice log, but my students are forgiving so I just did my best. I would call this book more of a history than an adventure but it is very well done and enjoyable. Goodreads rating: 4 stars
2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I decided to read this book because it is being turned into a movie later this year. I had seen it in Barnes & Noble hundreds of times but the cover always turned me off. Creepy kids are creepy, but old fashioned looking creepy kids are worse. The cover gives me Children of the Corn flashbacks. My high school friend and I scared ourselves silly watching those movies, just ask our mothers…anyway I am so glad I finally read this. It reminds me of X-Men and Harry Potter with time travel. All of those things go into my “likes” column. This is a very plot driven book with well written and interesting characters. The main character finds himself on a mission to figure out if the strange stories his grandfather has always told him have any truth to them. When his grandfather is brutally killed he feels he has no choice but to go to the mysterious island where his grandfather grew up. That is where the story really takes off. I loved the elements of magic in this because, let’s face it, I am a magic fan, and the generational secrets were fun. This story had a bit of romance that kind of creeped me out and was the weakest part of the story. But overall this story was unlike anything else I have ever read and I am looking forward to the movie. As an added bonus the pictures in the book are from real collections (freaky and awesome!) Goodreads rating: 4 stars, but would give it 4.5 if I could.
3. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
This book was recommended for people who enjoyed Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, which I loved. Because of this, I was expecting another book on assisted suicide, not attempted suicide. This book. I almost quit it. I’m so glad I did not. Even though the beginning is intense (see mention of attempted suicide above) the story is beautiful and redemptive. This is the story of a grouchy old man that had me crying by chapter 4 (and these are short chapters). Think the prequel to the Pixar movie Up! (but waaaay too dark for children, so add a little Gran Torino in the mix.) This story shows how loss can shape us, but how love, even in unexpected places, can save us. I’m getting teary eyed just typing this. The beginning alone would have made a touching short story. There is so much good meat about relationships in this book; friendships, marriages, neighbors, pets, government, it is all in there. Ove has such a strong sense of right and wrong and this is demonstrated through the flashbacks as well as the present day happenings. This book was translated from Swedish into English and it is a beautiful translation. The scenes with the government in this book were maddening and I am dying to talk about them with another reader. Check out this quote about Ove’s wife, “People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was all color. All the color he had.” sigh. Goodreads rating: 5 stars
4. Bossypants by Tina Fey
I have liked Tina Fey ever since I memorized most of Mean Girls. I started watching Saturday Night Live just last year (I’m slow on the uptake, I know) and have been getting more into improve and comedy. I figured this book would be a humorous read and if I got any life lessons out of it, great, if not, at least I’d laugh. I thoroughly enjoyed her insights and related to quite a bit of it. “I’m the kind of person who likes to feel like part of a community. I will make strange bedfellows, rather than have no bedfellows.” Yep, been there, done that *cough* water aerobics* cough* jazzercise*cough*. There was a chapter about her father and her insights on his parenting style. She commented on how effective it was and I was right there with her. My parents had a similar style and it was also effective. My favorite quote from the book was, “Politics and prostitution are probably the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue.” How true that seems in the political climate. This book met all of my expectations and has me thinking about ways to step out of my comfort zone. My sister says Tina Fey reads the audiobook, if you want to read this book, do that. Goodreads rating: 4 stars (3.5 if I could)
5. Broken Harbor by Tana French
I was hankering for another Tana French Dublin Murder Squad mystery so I picked this up from the library. This is #4 in her series, with #6 due out this summer. I love French’s writing because she delves into the psychology of the case and the investigating detective. I like getting an inside look at how the details of the case impact the detective. I would have a very, very hard time investigating murders because I am an emotional wreck. I look up to detectives because they have a very tough job and only the law on their side. They can only go where the evidence leads them and this book is all about that. In this story there were so many twists and turns. No only with the case, but with the detectives working it. The murder and outcome of this story was not my favorite. It was a little too brutal and yucky for me. I still like French’s book The Likeness (#2 in the series) the best so far, but this one was good. I am definitely going to keep reading the series. Goodreads rating 4 stars (I’d give it 3.45 if I could)
That is all for Book Banter this month! Tell me what you have been reading. Have you read these? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time,
I love you more than strange bedfellows and Narnians,