Recent Reads

Books ReadI’ve always been a huge reader.  When I was younger, I would read all the time.  I actually read through every single historical fiction (my favorite genre) book in the entire elementary school library, and all of the appropriate historical fiction books from the middle/high school library by the time I reached 5th grade (my librarian was amazing and got some more books for me to read!).  Now that I’m older, I don’t read quite as often, but I still love it when I get the chance to do some reading.  I thought I’d share some books I’ve read recently.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed: You’ve probably seen the movie or at least eh previews.  I haven’t seen the movie yet, but would like to because I loved this book.  It’s a memoir about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT).

Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto: I’m not quite sure how to describe this book.  It had been on my want-to-read list for awhile and although I like it, it’s definitely not what I was expecting.  It’s about 8 different female photographers.  I was expecting it to interweave the various stories, but in reality, it’s more of a collection of shorter stories.  It is well-written and appears to be a very honest (sometimes brutally honest) look into what life was like for women in the past, and particularly women who were photographers.  I haven’t actually finished it, but I like it because it is almost-separate stories so I can read just a couple at a time.  It’s been hard for me to get through, but not because it isn’t good.  It’s just very deep and a bit troubling.

Between Friends by Debbie Macomber: I just read this one this past weekend and I loved it!  It’s a pretty quick read.  It tells the story of two lifelong friends and follows their lives and friendships from first grade to old age.  It’s sad and joyous and heartwarming.  The entire story is written through birth announcements, letters, documents, journal entries, and emails.  I really liked that in addition to telling the story of a lifelong friendship (of two women from very different backgrounds), it also tells the story of the history of the past 70 or so years.

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes: I liked this book, but it took me awhile to get through it.  It is very descriptive.  It’s about a woman (and her husband) who buys a villa in Tuscany and tells the story of how they fix it up and fall in love with Italy.

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan: Okay, so this book is actually written for kids, but it’s a classic and I love it.  I’m pretty sure I’ve read it at least 4 or 5 times.  It tells the story of a Norwegian town that is invaded by the Germans during World War II and devises a way to get their gold past the Germans and to the United States for safe-keeping.  The children of the town load the gold up on their sleds and sled right past the guards.

Recent Reads

One of my goals for this year is to read more often (my specific goal is to read at least one book each month).  I have always loved reading, but haven’t made the time to do so as much in the past few years.  Because reading makes me happy and because it is a good thing to do when I am trying to avoid the internet more, I wanted it to be one of goals.  So far, I have read: Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (the second and third books in the Hunger Games trilogy), Looking for Alaska by John Green, and The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom.  I figured I would give a mini-review of each of these books in case any are ones you’d be interested.

Catching Fire and Mockingjay

mockingjay and catching fire

I loved the first book of the series, The Hunger Games and I also love Catching Fire.  Both are wonderful books.  I’m sure everyone has heard of both of them, since they have become extremely popular since the movies have come out.  It is for a good reason- the books latch you on from the beginning and are well-crafted.  Even if you are not usually a fan of dystopian fiction, I recommend these.  The third book, Mockingjay, however, was not my favorite.  I did not like the way the trilogy ended, even though it did make sense to me.  After loving the first two so much, I was rather disappointed, but the trilogy as a whole is still pretty great.

Looking for Alaska

cover-of-looking-for-alaska

I LOVED this book!  One of my friends gave it to me for Christmas, but I just recently got around to reading it.  It is about a teenage boy who goes off to boarding school in search of “The Great Perhaps”.  Upon arriving there, he becomes friends with “The Colonel” and Alaska, a girl who lives nearby.  With these two friends, and a couple of others, he is thrown into the “Great Perhaps” he is seeking for, falling in love with Alaska along the way.  I don’t want to give it away, but at this point something happens and everything changes.  It was one of the more interesting books I’ve read.  It deals with a lot of teenage issues, but it is also written in a unique way.  I loved the characters and would definitely recommend this one!

The Time Keeper

the time keeper

Mitch Albom is one of my very favorite authors (I HIGHLY recommend his books Tuesdays with Morrie and Have a Little Faith, they are two of my favorite books of all time).  I typically like his nonfiction books better than his fictional books, but really liked this one.  It is the story of Father Time, along with the stories of two unrelated individuals: a teenage girl searching for love and wanting time to speed up and an old business man who is dying of terminal cancer who wants more time.  Not only was it a good story, but it also has a great message.  It reminds us that time is special and that we should not wish for it to speed up or slow down, but rather just enjoy life.  Two of my favorite quotes from the book are “When you are measuring life, you are not living it,” and “There is a reason God limits our days. Why? To make each one precious”.  I would definitely recommend this book as well!

Next on my list:  The Kite RunnerAnd the Mountains Echoed, and The Last Lecture What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?

Note: Images are not my own.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

One of my goals for this year is to read more often.  I was trying to read daily and was successful at doing so for the last 5 or so weeks of school, but since I’ve been home, I haven’t read nearly as much.  That said, when I do read, I read more at once than when I was at college.  The other day I read a book from start to finish all day (as in I only stopped once to eat), which I haven’t done in years.  I have read 6 books so far this year (not including those which I’ve read for classes).  I think that’s more than I read in all of 2012, so I’m doing good so far!

While at college, I started to reread the Anne of Green Gables series.  There are eight books in all, and I have read four of them so far (three while at college, one since I’ve been home).  I read all eight a few years ago, but they are good enough (in my opinion) to read again.  They aren’t all that long, so I was able to finish one in about a week when I was reading for 20 minutes to an hour each day.  If you like historical fiction, I highly recommend them.  One of the things I like most about them is that even though they were written almost a century ago, there are so many parallels between Anne’s life and my life currently.  In addition, Anne (the main character) is way ahead of her times in so many of her beliefs, especially regarding religion.  They are also whimsical, which I love.  In the third book, Anne heads off to college.  I really enjoyed reading this one, since so much of what she was struggling with I was also struggling with when I read it.

I also recently read the book Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom.  This is a wonderful book! It’s been awhile since I read a book that made me think as much as this one did.  It is simply an inspiring and thought-provoking book.  It deals with issues of faith from several different perspectives and religions.  In it, the narrator (Mitch) deals with his own faith struggles while learning about the faiths and histories of two religious men: his childhood Jewish rabbi and a Christian minister with a struggled past.  One of my college friends recommended the book to me, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  I loved how it discussed faith from a nonreligious (and also religious) perspective.  Although it dealt with two major religions, it wasn’t really about those religions.  It was really more about faith and how people develop their faith.  My favorite part was where Mitch and his rabbi are discussing the tendency of religious people to look down on faiths different than their own.  Mitch asks his rabbi, “But what if someone from another faith won’t recognize yours? Or wants you dead for it?” His rabbi answers him, “That is not faith. That is hate…and if you ask me, God sits up there and cries when it happens”.  This is an issue I have always been passionate about.  I am a Christian, but I do not believe that Christianity tells me that it is my job to look down on people who have different beliefs than I have.  One of the reasons I loved this book so much is because is is relevant to anyone of any faith.

Finally, last Friday, I read (in one sitting) Golden Boy byAbigail Tarttelin.  It was an interesting book, and dealt with a lot of tough issues.  I would go into more detail on those issues, but it would be a spoiler alert.  It’s about an intersex individual, Max, who identifies as a male.  It is written from the point of several different narrators (Max, his mom, his 10-year old brother, his dad, one of his doctors (Archie), and one of his friends/girlfriend).  Although this could have gotten confusing, it wasn’t at all.  The various viewpoints were intertwined wonderfully.  As I said, it deals with a lot of tough (yet very relevant issues), so I am sure there are people who might not like it so much, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it.  It was definitely thought-provoking.

What have you been reading lately? Do you have any recommendations of books I should read?

Some Interesting Reads

I got a little bored today and started to look through some things I have bookmarked.  I decided I’d share them with you.  They are totally unrelated to each other, but I found all of them very interesting.

  • A very sweet and enlightening story
  • An article I found so interesting I read it all the way through again (I think I’ve read it about 4 times and it just keeps amazing me)
  • I liked the ideas in this and that it’s a list of things to do, but it isn’t really a bucket list so they’ve called it an “Infinity List
  • I want to make this dress (and have the perfect fabric for it)
  • An interesting read if you’re a Harry Potter fan (this is actually fan fiction, so make sure you have time- it’s currently at 85 chapters)
  • Such a cool idea for a birthday present
  • Hoping to do this next weekend when I’m home for mid-term break

Enjoy the rest of the day!