Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What I've Read So Far This Year

So we're about halfway through the year, and I've managed to read a couple books! I'm not as avid a reader as I am a movie watcher, so I'm always delighted when I get to read something. My Kindle, which I got as a birthday gift last year, has been a huge help with this. It's easy to take it with me on trips or walks and know that I don't have to pace myself like I do when I'm traveling and I only have one book and if I finish it too fast I'll have nothing else to read.

Here are the 14 books I've read so far this year, in order of how much I liked them:

4 Stars

Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams. I'd never have expected Douglas Adams to write about endangered species and how he worked to help save them, but it's no surprise at all that since he did write about it, the book's really funny. Definitely worth the read.

Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale. Loved the movie, loved the book. It covers even more ground than the movie does. Abagnale's story is truly a remarkable one.

Damaged by Melody Carlson. Carlson has always been able to capture the thought processes of teenage girls in a way that most writers of Christian young adult fiction just can't do. While the story's a little cheesy in its plot, the characters and the way it plays out ring very true.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. I love Rachel Held Evans a lot and have incredible respect for her, and I really liked this thoughtful examination of Biblical womanhood. She examines the issue with humor while still taking the messages behind it seriously.

3 Stars

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Not quite as hilarious as I'd been led to believe, although the sections focused on learning and speaking French were extremely funny. Still an entertaining read.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. I need to read more by this guy. Reading this book made me interested in rewatching Blade Runner to see if I like it better the second time around.

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. Although the main character is thoroughly unpleasant, the plot is intriguing, and the ending was satisfying.

What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell. This book feels almost like a primer to Rob Bell's theology. He doesn't really say anything new here that he hasn't already said in Velvet Elvis or his Everything Is Spiritual DVD, but it's good, interesting stuff here just as it was there. I might recommend this as a first read to anyone who's not super familiar with Bell but wants to know what he's about.

I'll Be In My Room by C. Black. A tiny e-pamphlet geared toward parents and teachers of introverted children. Lots and lots of practical suggestions. I'd definitely recommend it for people wanting to learn how to better connect with introverts.

2 Stars

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. When I first read House by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, I felt like the entire book was a contest between the two to see who could be grosser. This book feels like Palahniuk having that contest with himself. Although a couple of the stories are really interesting, his vivid imagery and writing style is far too overwhelming for me in this book, and there were several stories I ended up skimming because they made me a little nauseous.

Mr. Monster by Dan Wells. Well, this was disappointing. I Am Not a Serial Killer was one of my very favorite books of last year, and this sequel just... doesn't do anything. It takes the exact same story and premise of the first book and tells basically the same story again, with nothing new added to the character or his development. The first one was wildly original and kept me reading the whole way through, but I guess he ran out of new places to go with this one.

1 Star

Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe. I'm not even convinced I can say I read this one, given how heavily I skimmed the last 100 pages or so. MOST BORING BOOK EVER. And oh my gosh it's SO LONG. And the characters are SO UNINTERESTING.

If Loving You Is Wrong by Gregg Olsen. I have a weird love for sleazy true crime books... but they have to at least be competently written. This was not.

The Quest For Forgiveness by J.L. Rothdiener. 1 star is too generous for this book. If I could give it no stars on Goodreads, I would. This is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. And, unlike above, where my exclamation of "MOST BORING BOOK EVER" was hyperbolic, this is not. I seriously can't think of a more poorly-written book. It's so awful, I can't even begin to discuss it here. If you want to read my scathing review on Goodreads, it can be found here, while my Amazon review is here. I don't usually review much at either site, but I had to do something to counter the bizarre amount of 5-star reviews it got on both.

What books should I read the rest of the year? What have you been reading?


  1. If you're into fantasy at all (which, if the books already on your list are an indication, I would assume not), I would highly recommend "The Curse of Chalion" by Lois McMaster Bujold - an intriguing plot, and excellent character development. There are also two sequels, which are on my summer reading list :)

    1. I'm not usually into fantasy - more of a sci-fi girl - but every so often I find one I really enjoy. I'll have to check yours out. I'm a big fan of good characters.

    2. I know that author has some sci-fi books as well, so those could be worth investigating

    3. Oh, awesome. Always on the lookout for good sci-fi!

  2. Your criticism of The Quest for Forgiveness was epic. I don't think I've ever seen you express that level of disgust and anger in anything else you've written that I've read. Part of me wants you to read more by that author just for the epic beatdowns.

    As for what you should read the rest of the year, I actually think you might respond favorably to Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan. Daniel Boone is one of my heroes so I'm biased but that biography is one of the best written books I've ever read. Morgan is a novelist by trade, rather than an outright historian, so his prose was particularly engaging. I've recommended it to people with an interest in American history, as well as to guys of a certain age (specifically those in an uncertain place with a father/son relationship), but I think as an introvert you'll identify with Boone as portrayed there.

    (You should also read the novel I wrote and just finished revising...! :P )

    1. I haven't read a lot of biographies, but with my recent interest in memoirs I've been hoping to hunt up some good ones.

      Also, the second book in that Quest for Forgiveness series is only $2.99 for Kindle on Amazon. I have debated getting it and doing a page-by-page snark on the blog. We'll see if I ever get around to it. (I told this plan to Jacob and he said, "Well, maybe that one will be awesome!" But that author would have to do a whole lot more research into how, ya know, life works before he's able to write a plausible story.)

    2. You message me your email address and I will personally gift you that Kindle edition just so you don't have to spend your own money to entertain me. I am 100% serious. I want to see Snarkapalooza 2013!

    3. Deal. If you will read my snarking of it, I will post it.