August 24, 2017

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This month was a pretty good month of reading for me. When I am stressed out, I turn to reading as an escape, and reading definitely helped me escape this month. I read some books that I loved and could not put down, but I just could not get into the book that we read for Beyond Words: A Bloggers Book Club.

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1. Beartown by Fredrik Backman

“Never trust people who don't have something in their lives that they love beyond all reason.”

I really do think that your mindset or when you read a book can affect your experience of it. This book was beautifully written, but I couldn’t get into it. I am not sure if it was the endless descriptions of hockey or what. The book is about so much more than hockey, but hockey dominated a lot of the book and that was too much for me to get past. I would read another book by Backman, and I adored A Man Called Ove, but this book just didn’t do it for me. Maybe I was not in the right mindset when I picked up the book because I was sick when I read it, and as soon as I saw it was about hockey, I lost interest. I also had to rush to finish so I could bring it back to the library.

I will say that I loved how many different voices and characters Backman put into the book. Sometimes this can be confusing or not work well, but in this book, it worked perfectly. I loved the diversity of the characters and they were all so fully developed. There are also so many perfect lines throughout the book. I kept taking pictures of the quotes so that I could save them.

2. The Blinds by by Adam Sternbergh

 

I was so excited to get this book! I loved the premise and I could not put it down. I think I read it in two or three days. The premise is really interesting: The Blinds is a town. Only people who committed heinous crimes - or were witnesses to these kinds of crimes - live in the town. I enjoyed reading about how the town functions and getting into the mystery.

As I have mentioned many times, I wrote my college thesis on Harry Potter. I wrote a lot about the role that memories play in the series (how crazy is the pensieve?!). Ever since, I have been fascinated by memories, and this book really gets you thinking. How far would you go to forget something painful? Would you be inclined to commit those same crimes again, or would your slate be completely wiped clean? Can you ever really get a fresh start? I loved the questions that this book raised. An interesting read for sure. The plot didn’t go at all the way I thought it would, and I didn’t particularly love the ending, but I did enjoy this book a lot.

I joined the Book of the Month Club a few months ago, and I choose this book to be my August book. I signed up for a year. Each month, I get to pick 1 book from a choice of 5 books. I can also buy more books for a cheaper price. What I love about the Book of the Month Club is that the books are new releases. The Blinds came out on August 1. So, these books would either be hard to get from the library or I would pay a lot of money to buy them on Amazon. Sometimes, you can get a book before it is even officially released.

With Nick gone, I decided that this would be my treat for myself. I love books and I love getting mail, so I’m really happy with it so far. If you want to join, each member has a referral code and mine is https://www.mybotm.com/s66gojcblu15rk9. You would get your first book for $9.99 + a free tote bag if you join, and I get a free book for each friend who joins. If you want more information about it let me know!

3. The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

Fascinating and terrifying. Ann Rule was writing a book about women who had been murdered while sitting next to the man who was responsible for these murders. Of course, it tools her a while to realize that.

Ann and Ted worked together at a suicide prevention hotline and became unlikely friends. As more details emerged about the suspect, she became slightly worried that her friend Ted was the man behind the murders she was researching. She even went so far to report his name to the police, all while being his friend.

When it became clear that it was indeed Ted, it was hard for her to separate the man she knew from the man who committed these heinous crimes. Ted was in and out of her life – they would go years without talking and then would send a string of letters back and forth. She never stopped writing about him OR to him. She continued to send him money for cigarettes right up until the end.

Why?

Was it because of her book? Was she trying to butter him up? Did she delight in being one of the people closest to Ted? Was she hoping to get some inside scoop that no other writer got? Ann admits she was barely making ends meet.

Was it because she really cared about him? Was it because she didn’t believe he was guilty? I appreciated this woman’s honesty especially since I found it hard to believe that anyone could continue to have any type of relationship with this man. She admits her wavering feelings. The book is highly detailed, well researched, and honest. I do recommend it if you like this kind of thing, but beware – it’s difficult to read.

4. 2001: a Space Odyssey by

This book will make you think a lot about artificial intelligence, space travel, and what we would do if/when we find life on other planets. I'll just say this, artificial intelligence scares the hell out of me and I don't see why scientists are pushing the limits here when so many smart people are warning them against it.

I had only vaguely heard about the rogue computer HAL. Nick read this book recently and started telling me about it. I love science fiction so I knew it was time for me to finally read it myself. I loved this book and highly recommend it, but only if you like sci-fi. If not, you will hate this book. When Nick gets home, we are going to have a date night where we drink wine and watch the movie! I love being married to a nerd!

What are you reading? What should I read next? I am always looking for recommendations.

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3 responses to “What I read in August”

  1. I totally agree with you about this not being my favorite Backman. While I did appreciate that the book wasn’t all about hockey, it really did dominate it a lot. I also really enjoyed the multiple points of view that the book had as well because you were able to get into the minds of several characters all focused on the same incident. So The Blinds and The Stranger Beside Me both sound like super interesting books and are both going on my list. I’m usually not one for nonfiction, but if it’s interesting enough I think that I could get into it.

  2. Audrey says:

    I’m definitely going to have to check out The Blinds. The space odyssey one intrigues me because the movie came across my radar and I wondered what it was about.
    Yay for treating yourself with books! I do that, too 😉

  3. Emma says:

    I’m really intrigued now by The Blinds!

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