April was a month of intense reading for school. Al most all of this month’s books are texts required for my semester. The good news with school reading is that I am exposed to books I might not otherwise have read. The bad news is that sometimes they are quite dry and are difficult to get through. Since I got through so many books this month I will once again be splitting my update into two posts. Stay tuned Wednesday for the rest!
For those of you who missed my initial post on this topic, I have decided to embark on a most enjoyable challenge to read 52 books in 2013. I have chosen to participate in the Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge in which I select my own goal, and a book a week is what I came up with as truly doable this year. Each month I will give you an update on where I am in the challenge and what books I was lucky enough to indulge in. I’ll also include a link to Amazon.com for each book in case you would like to pick a read up for yourself.
In the month of April I have read eight books and according to the graph on Goodreads, I am at 50% of my goal, which is ten books (18%) ahead of schedule! At this time last year I was nowhere near this far ahead. It feels so good to be half way to my goal o early in the year!
Without further ado, here are my reviews of this month’s first four Book Challenge reads.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde- Completed April 1st
I am totally in love with Oscar Wilde’s clever comedy of errors! It has everything necessary for pure enjoyment, including secret engagements, overbearing mothers, and beautiful people wrapped up in their own affairs. By far one of Wilde’s most well-known works, this play us full of clever wordplay and biting social satire. The dialogue is quick and witty, culminating in a wonderful twist. I ended up having to write an essay on this play for a college course that almost ruined all the fun in reading such a clever story, but even after the trauma of that I’m a fan. If you haven’t read it yet, pick up a copy of The Importance of Being Earnest immediately!
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan- Completed April 1st
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Michael Pollan’s simple book delivers sage advice for eating real food and avoiding what he calls “edible food like substances.” Heeding his advice to shop the perimeter of the grocery store for fresh foods and
avoid foods advertised heavily on television will undoubtedly lead to a healthier lifestyle. One of my favorite tips from the book is “It’s not food if it arrived through the window of your car.” I’m guilty as anyone else in reaching for the quick and easy drive-through meal, but Pollan reminds us that those foods are calorie-laden and nutrient-deficient. This small book is packed with sensible reminders of what we should be eating and how we should be eating, but Pollan is by all means not all work and no play. In the end he reminds us that obsessing over food is bad for our happiness and gives us permission to break the rules once in a while. I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with their weight or interested in a back-to basics reminder of how to eat nutritiously.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath- Completed April 2nd
How have I made it this far in life without reading this novel? The Bell Jar is haunting and beautifully written in lyrical, heart-wrenching prose. Sylvia Plath is a mastermind with a keen insight on what it feels like to slowly lose your mind and descend into the depths of madness. I only wish that Plath’s own life did not so closely mirror that of Esther in the novel. Goodness only knows what treasures she would have written had she not taken her own life at such a young age.
The Bell Jar is the story of Esther, a promising young woman with a mind for writing and a mercurial temper. She begins the novel in New York soaking up the life of the young as an Intern for a popular women’s magazine and winds up back at home, hopeless and desperate to fit in. Plath does an excellent job of describing Esther’s slow descent from normalcy into despair. With each page I wanted Esther to succeed and come out if her dark depression. Plath writes a deeply likeable character. Although the novel is at times quite dark, it ends on a note of hope. I highly recommend this book.
Playing Nice by Rebekah Crane- Completed March 29th
Marty is The Nicest Person in Minster High School and she is completely lost. Caught up in always trying to be the perfect version of herself that her parents and schoolmates expect her to be, she has grown up wearing her niceness like a badge. Marty’s entire world gets turned upside down when the mysterious Lil Hatfield comes to town. From their first rocky conversation Lil changes the way Marty looks at life and the people around her. It’s a rough road, but Marty eventually begins to come into herself.
Rebekah Crane writes believable, flawed characters and brings a smart voice to this contemporary young adult novel. I’m so upset that there wasn’t more smart YA fiction available when I was at the age to be reading it! Even as an adult I was drawn into this story and found myself at times with tears in my eyes and others laughing out loud with joy for these character’s triumphs. If you have a young adult reader in your life, get this book in their hands. If you’re an adult reader, enjoy re-living the relatable moments of growing up. This book is charming.
Stay tuned Wednesday for the reviews for my final four books of April!