Friday, December 31, 2010

The Weekly Read: December

To finish out the year, I read fewer books in December than during most months, but that was because I finally read Anna Karenina! I've been wanting to read it for a while, and reading it in 2010 allowed me to fill 2 of my reading goals for this year - read Russian books, and read big books. I'm so happy I finished it, and just in time! Here are the books I read in December:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Weekly Read: November

You could probably sense a theme in the books I read in October: I read A LOT of manga. And I continued to do so into November! There's nothing quite like fun, madcap (at times) storylines, lovable characters, and great illustration to help you forget the crap that is going on in real life. So I caught up with some series I hadn't read in a while, and started a fun new one, and read some other books here and there, too. Here's what I read this month; Remember to click through for my reviews!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Weekly Read: October

If anyone out there is still following my blog, you might have noticed that I have been absent from it for a while. Though I regret not keeping up with my weekly posts, I didn't feel up to it for most of October, and after that, I couldn't figure out the right words to explain my absence. It felt disingenuous not to address the reason for my silence, as if by ignoring it I was pretending nothing had happened, and perhaps that is exactly what I wanted.

As many of you know, a good friend of ours passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in mid-October, at the age of 34. John was a remarkably special person, the most kind, friendly, thoughtful person I had ever met, and the best and most loyal friend anyone could ever ask for. The hole that has been left in our lives is enormous, and will never be filled, but we just go on living each day, and remember John in the things we do that we know he would have also loved.

As John was one of the few people who actually read my blog, I don't want to abandon it completely. Instead of going back and making separate posts for every week, I'm going to group all the books I read together by month. I did keep up my reviews on Goodreads, so if you want to know what I thought of any particular book, click on the cover, and you'll be taken to my review on Goodreads.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Weekly Read: 36

This week was another good one for reading, despite the fact that I happened to finish all three of these books on Saturday. :)

READ: Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself | Alan Alda
Another truly enjoyable book by Alan Alda, and the audio book of this one has the benefit of being read by the man himself. While Alda's first book definitely falls into the genre of memoir, this one can more accurately be described as inspiration and advice. Every chapter is based around a speech Alda has given, whether it be a public commencement speech or a private conversation with family. This isn't just a transcript of those speeches, though. Alda takes the time to set up the circumstances leading up to each talk, describing his thought-process and reasoning for saying the things he did. And through it all, not only are you indeed inspired to live your life better, you really come to understand his life philosophy as one to be admired and followed. Alda sums up this book best in the last few pages, and I can do no better than to quote him here: "So that's it. I've told you everything I know. Think clearly and think for yourself. Learn to use language to express those thoughts. Love somebody with all your heart. And with everyone, whether you love them or not, find out if you can be helpful. But really, it's even simpler than that... The meaning of life... is life. Not noticing life is what's meaningless, even down to the last second."

READ: Deadly D├ęcisions | Kathy Reichs
This third book in the Bones series is another engaging Temperance Brennan story. The action is quick-paced and the plot is interesting and well-woven together. I have to admit, though, that biker gangs cannot be considered one of my favorite subjects. It's hard to find closure with a closed case when you know it's not really over. Gang killings beget more gang killings, and innocent people get caught up and hurt. I'm as dishearten and disgusted as Brennan at it all. Kit's rebellion was frustrating, and I had to keep reminding myself, "He's just 19. He doesn't realize. He doesn't mean any harm." I was most disappointed by Ryan's journey in the story. Not only was he barely in it, but when he saw, it was in such a sad, anger-inducing way. I never believed he could do anything so bad, and though things are certainly not resolved yet, I have faith they will be. It better had not take long! I am also encouraged by Claudel's slightly improved regard for Brennan. Like her, I can't help but want his approval, and any little nod of respect is received as a great victory. That probably isn't rational, but that's just how it is. :) I look forward to reading the next in the series, which will hopefully feature more Ryan (in a good way) and less bikers.

READ: The Solitude of Prime Numbers | Paolo Giordano
I can't remember the last time that I've thoroughly enjoyed the reading of a book but been so disappointed in the way it ended. While beautiful written and engaging, with specific and special characters, I felt ultimately disappointed in the conclusion of this slim novel. As two "prime numbers", people that don't necessarily fit with anyone else, Alice and Mattia seems meant for one another. Their characters are built so that though they fumble around in life, and mix up their communications so much that they don't realize how much the other one cares, one still believes that eventually, they have to be together. It's inevitable, like two interlocking puzzle pieces, that they will sit beside each other for life, belonging together like no others could. Despite the brevity of the story, seeing only small snippets of their lives throughout the years, I became quickly invested in their lives and relationship. And perhaps that why, when it didn't end up as I expect, I felt deeply disappointed. All those things I felt building, I was wrong about. I felt fooled and foolish, for hoping for things out of reach. I lay in bed last night after finishing this, trying to figure out what happened, how it could possibly have ended so impossibly wrong. Despite my disappointment, I can't regret reading this book, because it truly is effortlessly and beautifully written. It's simple and concise, and every word seems perfectly chosen. So yes, you should read it, too. And maybe, because you are a little forewarned, you won't have your heart broken as mine was.

Up next week: Starting the audio version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which I am reading in preparation for the Part 1 of the last movie which is coming out in November. Other than that, I am not sure. :) Happy reading!