Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ten on Tuesday | Recently Read

Though I celebrated my twenty-first birthday in September, it took me until February to share twenty one goals I planned to accomplish before I turned twenty-two. More than eight months into my twenty-first year and I've accomplished... maybe three of those goals. Some have had to be altered because of our move, some are still on my list, while others are no longer of interest, and some, like reading twenty-one books, are in progress.

During my four years of undergraduate study, I may have only read a handful of books on my own accord. I suppose I was busy with clubs, activities, and school work. But, when I finished my degree in January, I found myself with plenty of time to read. Still, books are expensive and even with a Kindle, I hesitated to purchase novels that I could finish in just a day or two. Now, with a public library card and free e-book downloads? I can't read enough.

I had originally planned to start a "Recently Read" series to review the books on my list but that seemed.. redundant. After all, I'm no book critic. Instead, I thought I would share a brief glimpse with you and tell you which ones I would recommend. Deal?

1 // The Leopard Tree is the tale of three African orphans who make their way to America to speak to United Nations leaders. While it is mostly fun, light-hearted, and easy-to-read, at times it is too unbelievable to be considered a great novel. I likely wouldn't read it again but it could make for a good, short, vacation read.

2 // Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was in the top three of the books I've read so far this year. I haven't seen the movie but when the novel came up for my turn at the library, I took a chance. The story was thought-provoking and emotional, I found myself highlighting quote after quote, passage after passage. Though young at the time of 9/11, I was deeply affected by the book and Oskar's passion. I would love to get my hands on a physical copy of this book, it was just that good.

3 // I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir (P.S.) was nothing like the other books on this list - it was hilarious, raunchy, and over the top. I Am Not Myself These Days tells the story of a drag-queen in 1990's New York City. Though complete with male escorts, boobs that serve as homes to goldfish, and the trifecta of drugs, alcohol and prostitution, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you're on the conservative side, this is definitely not for you but if you're up for feeling the heartbreak and fun of being a drag queen? I totally recommend it.

4 // The Hours... Ugh. This book. I'm not quite sure how it won a Pulitzer Prize but apparently someone, somewhere, thought it was a worthwhile read. After finishing Gone Girl (as you'll see further down the list), I was itching for another book. Trevor put this one, a remnant of his creative writing degree, in my hands and while I finished it all, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. My advice? Skip it.

5 // Chasing Rainbows is another book that fits into the "good beach read" category as the story is simple, easy-to-read, and short. While you spend much of the book feeling up and down for the main character, Bernadette, who has lost her father, her marriage, and her self-respect, it fails to really make a deep impression. (If I'm being honest, I just had to google the main character's name, I couldn't even remember - oops.)

6 // The Great Gatsby makes my list for obvious reasons. I planned to read the novel a second time before seeing the movie but its now the middle of June.. and I still haven't made it to a theatre. I don't need to tell you what its all about so I'll simply say this - if you haven't read it since high school, it's definitely worth picking up again.

7 // The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared seemed like an interesting read but less than a quarter way into it, I realized it wasn't for me. The story weaves the tale of a 100-year-old-man's life with real historical fact. If you are passionate and knowledgable on the subjects discussed? You would likely find it clever and engaging. Unfortunately, I didn't.

8 // Gone Girl. I know, I'm about a year behind on this one but can I just say it. was. so. good. This novel had me reading incessently. I took the hardcover novel to the dinner table, to the gym, to work, and to bed with me for four straight days until I managed to finish it. I'm usually not a fan of suspense, in movies and definitely not in novels, but this one took me by surprise. At times I yelled at loud, I was so shocked. Other times, I'd slam the book, infuriated with the characters. I know many readers were disappointed in the ending but I thought it was perfect. Possibly the most perfect literary ending since Anna Karenina got hit by a train. What I'm trying to say is, you should read it.

9 // Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail ties Gone Girl for my favorite book on this list. When I originally saw others raving about the novel, I thought that it was out of my interest range. Now that I've finished it? I couldn't have been more wrong. Like I said, I've been trying to convince Trevor that we should become long-distance backpackers. He's still not convinced. Wild is about more than backpacking though, the story begins with the loss of Cheryl's mother and weaves its way through the Pacific Crest Trail, full of funny anecdotes, relatable moments. While I typically read books as quickly as possible, I limited myself to only reading on my morning and evening bus rides so that I could make it last just a little bit longer. Even if you know nothing about hiking, mountains, or the PCT, Wild is relatable and a must-have for your summer reading list.

10 // Interview with the Vampire likely seems out of place on this list but it's my current read and besides, you must have realized by now that I have very variable tastes in most things, novels being no exception. Before spotting this for check-out from the library, I hadn't realized that the movie was based on a series of books. I know, I'm so clueless sometimes. Though I'm not yet finished with the book, I have to say that it is almost a hypnotic read. The thoughts, confessions, and memories of a vampire? I can't get enough. (Thankfully there are nine others books to read.)

So tell me, what books have you been reading? Have you read any of the novels that made my list? If so, what did you think?

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