photo by shutterhacks
What did you read this summer?
Here's my list:
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins- Okay, these books were awesome. I am so not the kind of person who feels like I can only read and promote books that require advanced literary theory. Of course this story about a teenager's take on her post-apocalyptic life isn't like... an enlightened piece of art. It's such a fun and engrossing read, though. I was totally hooked and gobbled them up, one right after the other.
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian- This was another fast, entertaining read. It is the story of a midwife who attends a complicated birth which ends in death. It is told from the point of view of the midwife's daughter as she and her family go through the aftermath of the tragedy. The story is totally gripping and satisfying.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - This book is possibly the most beautiful book I've ever read. It is startling in its unique ability to break hearts.
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen - Blah. I'm mad at Jonathan Franzen. This book is enormous. The first 400-500 pages were great. The characters were awful in a totally juicy way and I was so sucked in that I actually recommended this book to other people. About halfway through, the story suddenly stalled in a HUGE way. It became dense and preachy and boring. I eventually just gave up and stopped reading. I felt totally cheated by investing myself in the first half of the book. I don't know. Freedom just bombed, for me.
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - I love Young Adult novels. They're totally guilty reading for me. Kind of like watching tv. I love that they deal with real and heavy topics, (like anorexia, in this case) but in a fun and easy to read way. I just gobble them up. Wintergirls was just okay, though. I have to admit that I don't care for Laurie Halse Anderson's style of writing. It's spare, like most YA writers, but I find it kind of lacking in authenticity, too. The bad boy character in this novel was totally cheesy and unbelievable. I didn't dislike the story, though. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5. It was worthwhile, but didn't blast me out of the water.
Cut by Patricia McCormick- Another YA novel, but this one was really gripping. It's a story about a girl who is staying in a mental institution and who refuses to speak. I read it all in one day, easily. Even with 2 children and a busy schedule. The main character was likable and sympathetic and the other teens at the institution were entertaining. This was a totally worthwhile and well written YA book.
Insecure at Last by Eve Ensler - I loved this book. It deals with our obsession with the notion of being secure, on a personal AND national level. Ensler really examines how being preoccupied with security propels us into a state of insecurity, since true security is actually unachievable. This book is a narrative of her personal life, as well as an account of the work she's done with abused women in remote, violent areas. I expected to be turned off by Ensler, considering the "I am woman!" tone of some of her work, but this piece didn't come off that way at all. It is remarkable.
Lessons From A Dead Girl by Jo Knowles - I don't know about this book. It's another YA novel and I enjoyed reading it. I actually read it in two sittings and was really grabbed by the story and the characters. It's about a girl who is being abused by another young girl, which makes for a very engrossing premise. The characters weren't totally believable for me, though. Or maybe I just felt like the motives of the abuser-girl were a little contrived. Something about it just didn't feel totally honest. Still, though... I give this story 3.75 stars out of five for being such a gripping story.
The Beach Trees by Karen White - I read this for Blogher's Book Club. It was cheesy and flowery and full of cliche. It also wasn't a totally terrible book. You can read my full review here if you want to know more.
The Kid by Sapphire - I also read this for Blogher's Book Club. This book was really unusual and kind of amazing. It was actually a really difficult read, because of the subject matter and the actions of the main character. It made me sick, sometimes. There were also parts of the story that came off as being a little too hip artistic NYC youth-ish... but in the end, I assert that The Kid is kind of a masterpiece. You can read my full review here if you want.
What about you? Did you read anything good this summer? What should I add to my Fall Reading List?