This month was one of my best months for reading out of the whole year! I managed to finish 5 books, and I’m well into two others.
First, I had Betrayed, which I mentioned in my September update that I finished just after the cut off, on October 1st. I really rushed through finishing it because I thought it was due back to the library on the 1st, but it was actually due on the 13th, so I rushed for no reason. It was a paperback, and so those sometimes are harder for me to read than ebooks, since I need to be able to hold it in two hands and there needs to be light in order to see the words. But I did finish it, and I feel bad that I didn’t like it, since it was the book that my mom loves for the challenge. But more on that in a minute.
Then I read The Heart Goes Last. My expectations were higher for this book since I’ve read several things by her before and really enjoyed them. I didn’t realize that this was the compilation of a serialized book that had been coming out in installments over the last several years until I started reading it. I recognized a few of the chapter names while reading. I worried that this might not count as a book published in 2015, but then it turns out that the final part of the book was new to this publication, so I say that it counts.
Now, here is where Betrayed comes back in. Both of the books have a heroine that is in peril (in Betrayed there is only the heroine, and in The Heart Goes Last, the action is divided between a male and a female protagonist), but the treatment of both really displays where there is writing talent and where there is not. Vicki Andrews (in Betrayed) makes a series of really bad choices that are implausible and just plain stupid. It is even more infuriating when at the beginning rails against her impulsive sister for being rash and not thinking things through. Charmaine has similar situations, but her entire character is different, so that it seems fairly reasonable that she would make the choices that she makes. She is characterized as naive and optimistic, and almost annoyingly cheerful. But after a few events, she begins to doubt her trust in her environment and the people around her. And even better, the “bad” guys in Atwood’s novel aren’t just potty-mouthed, greedy, evil monsters with no reasons. Some of the bad guys even start out with good intentions and get swept away by greed or some twisted sense of idealism. That isn’t to say that The Heart Goes Last is perfect and without problems. But none of the problems were with the mechanics of the novel.
I sped through Throw Out Fifty Things, although it was too long for its actual worth. It was about 250-300 pages, but there were a lot of “journalling” spaces, blank pages between chapters, and the font was fairly large. So it had that going for it. I need to start reading reviews before I buy or borrow any more self-help type books.
In other books that were a slog, Lady Chatterley’s Lover took me a long time, and I only kept going because I have high standards for things meeting the requirements for my challenge. Not many people know this, but few books are actually “banned”. Although, now that I think about it, I think Eleanor & Park actually was banned. And now I feel foolish for not counting that one, especially since at the time I decided it didn’t meet any requirements. Anyways, back to my point. Many, many books are “challenged”, but that is not equal at all to being banned. Whenever you see those “banned books week” displays at places where they have books, very few of them have actually been banned, and even less of them were banned by an establishment anywhere close to where you are viewing the display. I knew for sure that Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned, because I learned about the postal obscenity laws in one of my college courses. However, if any of the people in charge of banning had actually read it, they may have fallen asleep before getting to any of the more racy sections.
Lastly, was my book club selection for next month: Spook. This one I really enjoyed, partly because I like nonfiction type books like this, and second because Mary Roach has a very engaging writing style that I enjoyed. I definitely think I will be picking up more of her books. I highly recommend an interview she did with Adam Savage from Mythbusters about her work. It was highly entertaining.
It turns out that I didn’t realize that one of the books I read at the very beginning of the year actually checked off a box on the challenge – for an antonym! The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely. I didn’t write a review for this book at the time, and I can hardly remember it, but it counts!
As for what’s up next, I’m currently reading Penelope – my book based off the cover. So far it’s a little meh, but I’m hoping that it picks up. I’m also reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah for a different book club that I’ve joined. I’m almost halfway through both of them, and then after that I have to find a book set during Christmas, a book with a color in the title, and a play. And then I will be DONE. How amazing! I haven’t decided if I’m going to try find a 2016 challenge, or take the year off of crazy reading. It is pretty fun to do these challenges. It opens you up to new books and ideas, although I’ve read a lot of crappy books in the name of this challenge too. It’s really a mixed bag. We’ll see, I suppose, how burned out I feel by the New Year.
So far I have read 33 books. I have 5 more boxes left to go, but 2 of them are well on their way to being checked.