May 25, 2017

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You would think that with Nick gone, I would be reading 10 books per month. But I’ve been keeping myself so busy that at night when I normally read, I just crash in bed. I think that is a good thing! I’m busier than I ever was with Nick home. But I did read 4 books this month, which is more than I read last month.

I really want to know if you guys re-read books. This month, I re-read two books. For years, I refused to re-read books. I felt like there were so many books I wanted to read, but I didn’t read for fun when I was in college and grad school. So I felt behind on my pleasure reading. But then I read 50+ books for a few years in a row. There are still a ton of books that I want to read, but I feel better about re-reading books now. Sometimes I read so fast that there is a book I want to go back to just to savor the words. Sometimes I just want something that I know I will like when I am in a reading rut. Or I re-read books for specific reasons. I re-read The Handmaid’s Tale because the book was coming out.

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First Time Reads

1. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

I was so excited when Ashley recommended this book and when we voted for it for our book club, Beyond Words. Do you want to join an online book club where you can talk about books in your pajamas from home? Come join us on Goodreads! It’s full of bloggers and non-bloggers. We vote on a book each month, talk about it on Goodreads, and linkup with our book reviews.

When I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I haven’t really been reading Young Adult books lately, and I didn’t realize it was a Young Adult book when I got it. But once I got into it, I really enjoyed the story in this book.

Khalid, is the Caliph of Khorasan. Every night he marries a new woman. In the morning he kills her. After Shahrzad’s best friend is one of Khalid’s brides, she decides to volunteer to be his next bride. Her plan is to kill him. She ends up telling him a story that buys her a couple of days. And then a couple more days….Throw in a love triangle and you can kind of guess

Throw in a love triangle and you can kind of guess where this goes from here. But actually, I was really interested in the story and it had some turns that I was not expecting!

I can’t say it’s particularly well-written, but it’s a quick, easy read, with a better plot than most Young Adult romances. It’s also a very fast read. Also, when the book ended, I was dying to know more! So I think that says something. I will definitely read Part 2.

2. Into the Wild by John Krakauer

 

Unprepared and alone, Christopher McCandless walked into the Alaskan wilderness and never returned. What would make him do this? Did he regret his decision as he starved to death? These are the questions that drew me to this book. They are some of the questions that John Krakauer asked as he pieced together those last few months of McCandless' life. He spoke with his family and friends and people he met along his journey hitcking to Alaksa and going into the wilderness alone.

I am a huge fan of Jon Krakauer – his writing style and his investigative journalism. If you are a fan of his other books or have any interest in McCandless’ story, I think that you would enjoy this book. I did not enjoy is as much as I did Into Thin Air, in which he talks about the time he climbed Mount Everest and almost everyone he was with died in a blizzard. Maybe that one was better because he actually lived it.

Rereads

3. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

I'll admit, I wasn't super interested in reading this book again. I read it back in 2015 when it first came out and it was my first Margaret Atwood book. Since my book club decided to read it this month, I knew I would have to re-read it if I wanted to be able to discuss it. 

After an economic collapse, Charmaine and her husband, Stan, live out of their car, fighting off attacks and scouring for food. They see an advertisement for a social experiment that promises them food and shelter. Here’s the catch: they must live and work in prison every other month. At first, this seems like heaven compared to living in their car, but soon things just get weird. And weird is an understatement.

I had a hard time re-reading this book. So much of the plot seemed too unbelievable.

I can suspend my disbelief to get into a lot of dystopian novels. A world where the government makes kids murder each other in The Hunger Games? Sure, I’ll buy it. All of the books are burned in Fahrenheit 451? Ok, I can see that happening. Women have no freedoms and are not allowed to read? The Handmaid’s Tale is more fact than fiction in some places. Big Brother always watching you and the government literally changing the news how it sees fit in 1984? Orwell was ahead of his time.

But the whole premise of this book is really hard for me to swallow. Even after reading this book twice, I’m still not sure why everyone has to go to prison for a month for this plan to work, but ok. At book club, we were talking about all of the things we didn’t like about the book, so we tried to make some sense of it. Like, what’s the moral of the story? Margaret Atwood is brilliant and I know she didn’t come up with this crazy plot for no reason.

One girl in my book club said that the book is more of a comment on agency. And if you look at it through this lens, it’s a fascinating read. I recommend it if you are a fan of Margaret Atwood.

4.Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I am glad to say that after I read this book for the second time, it’s still one of my favorite books. Thanks to Goodreads, I know that I read this book first in 2015. There were so many things that I forgot or didn’t pick up the first time. Since I already knew the general plot and how it ends, I didn’t feel rushed to find out what was going to happen next. This book confirmed to me how great it is to re-read books.

After a killer virus takes out the majority of the world’s population, there is no electricity, no infrastructure, no government, no cell phones, no cars, no connections around the world. Although I love a good dystopian, end-of-the-world novel, what I love most about this novel is the poetic language and the interwoven stories that take us between the past and the present. And because I read this book much slower the second time around, I got to appreciate that language even more.

This beautifully written novel follows group of traveling performers as they bring Shakespearean theater throughout a new world. With the motto is “survival is insufficient,” the group brings theater to people who survived a devastating tragedy and are trying to make sense of their new world. I think that Mandel did an excellent job exposing how fragile our world really is and envisioning how people may react to a devastation like this. Highly recommend.

Have you read any of these?
Do you re-read books?
What are you reading now?

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12 responses to “What I read in May”

  1. Amanda says:

    I reread books all the time! I’ve read the Anne of Green Gables series probably 4 times at least, probably more. I see your point about there being a lot of good books out there, but there’s also something super fun about going back to a favorite you’ve read over and over. Another multiple reread are Francine Rivers’s Mark of the Lion series. I could go on. Basically I am a fan of rereading books and I kind of can’t believe it when people say they don’t! 🙂

  2. Carly says:

    I loved The Wrath & The Dawn because it was so different from other YA I’d read, and I thought the setting was so unique and different. I really enjoyed the sequel too, but had wished I read it closer to when I finished the first book because it was hard to remember a few things.

    I always think about rereading books, but it almost never happens– because like you mentioned, you feel like there are so many new books to read. Last year I reread This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, and I’ll probably reread it again this year at some point because it’s one of my favorites. Dark Matter is one I’d like to reread, because I’m sure I missed things the first time I read it.

  3. Audrey says:

    I read The Wrath and The Dawn for your book club 🙂 I used to love young adult/teen books, but I think my preferences have changed… I hate lover triangles and I just couldn’t click with the book. That said, it did keep my interest the whole time. For some reason I just didn’t *feel* it. And I even voted for it! Ha!

  4. Nicole says:

    I haven’t re-read books before this year. I wanted to make a point to go back and read The Hunger Games/Catching Fire because those two books really ignited my passion for reading. I enjoyed them both and they were just as good as I remember. I am hoping to read two more as re-reads this year. It’s kind of nice to read something you are familiar with and pick up on some details you missed. I’m hoping to read Station Eleven this year too. I have some many books on my list and I don’t spend enough time reading 🙁

  5. I do enjoy re-reading favorite books of mine! 🙂
    I’ve been wanting to read Into the Wild FOREVER!

  6. I don’t usually re-read books, because I feel like there’s so many to be read! I have re-read just a few– the ones that really stuck in my mind and heart (if they’re fiction) or if they are full of wisdom (for non-fiction)!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I’m definitely a fan of re-reading books! Especially if I’ve been in a reading funk, rereading my favorites is always a good way to get me back into the groove.

  8. Natalie says:

    I re-read books CONSTANTLY! I’ve read House of Leaves and the Harry Potter series more times than I can count–and I’m so ready to dive back in again. 🙂 I’ve read the Handmaid’s Tale several times, and it never ceased to completely freak me out: Atwood is SO good at making the book seem completely real. I watched a documentary on McCandless, but haven’t ever read Into the Wild. Adding this to my list of things to read!

  9. Sarah says:

    Ooh I read Station 11 a couple months ago… I think we spoke (well, wrote haha) about it. Glad that your rereading of Station 11 proved its still a good book!! I’m not much of a rereader either… probably the only books I’ve reread are the Harry Potter books and then all of Jane Austen’s books I’ve read a few times. There are so many books out there in the world to read that I only reread my very favorites!!

  10. Jen says:

    I have been really slacking in the reading department. I have a long list and just need the motivation to tackle them.

  11. Oh I definitely want to pick up Station Eleven! And I’ll probably have to pick up Into the Wild again, I haven’t read that since high school probably. I really liked The Wrath & The Dawn, except that I felt it ended too suddenly. The ending seems a little unnatural and too “television-ish”. Lol does that make sense?

  12. I’m all for re-reading books if they’re really that good. I’ve re-read Harry Potter a few times, and would actually re-read all of the books before the new one was coming out! I’m so glad that you liked The Wrath & The Dawn, and I really enjoyed it as well, except for the whole ending on a cliffhanger thing. Station Eleven was one of my favorite books a couple of years ago too! It was so well written, and I love that it shows that people still need a creative outlet, no matter what’s going on!

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