First, acknowledgements for this double feature reside in my grandparents. They too, are avid readers and have suggested many a book to me for which I am extremely grateful. Secondly, I’m grateful to the library for having these books on the shelf and for finally fixing my account so that I’m actually notified when said books are available to me.
... I feel like I should thank more people, so here I go! To the author’s of the books: Thank you for having good ideas and better writing. To my husband: Thanks for being so supportive as I read these (and many other) novels. And finally to myself: Thanks for getting organized and putting these books on hold, reading them, and processing them in a wonderful fashion.
After I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society only one word came to mind: Delightful. The correspondence between Juliet and the society after World War II is heart warming and heart breaking. In their letters you receive firsthand accounts of what it was like to occupied by Germany and what it took to survive. You might have to say goodbye to your children in order to keep them safe, you might go home only to find a crater where your front door should be, or you might lie to the German police about being in a book club. Yet the love of life, and especially books, can connect people across war and water.
This novel also had me laughing out loud (I actually like spelling things out). The characters and events that they bring up in their letters made them feel like friends I would like to know and have. I usually read about the author when I’m done with a book and I understand why the book is filled with such love. Mary Ann Shaffer started writing this novel but when unexpected health issues arose her niece Annie, who is also a writer, stepped up the plate to help. She writes at the end of her acknowledgements, “I hope, too, that my book will illuminate my belief that love of art –be it poetry, storytelling, painting, sculpture, or music- enables people to transcend any barrier man has yet devised.”
While The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society had me laughing, Before I Go to Sleep kept me on the edge of my seat and I actually let out a huge, “NO!” at the end of the book. The main character Christine loses her memory every time she goes to sleep. She wakes up usually thinking she is twenty years younger than she really is only to see hands and realize that she is almost fifty. Life has gone on and every important thing in her life can only be traced in pictures and by people mentioning them to her. Once in a while her memory returns and this is what keeps you hanging on in the book.
Written in first person you have a unique view into her mind. Yes, things are repeated but as she meets with a doctor and starts writing out her days you being to understand with her what has happened to the lost years of her life. Can she ever love the man who says he is her husband? Will she ever remember how she lost her memory? Will her memory return?
My suggestion to all of you out there: Read these books. The End. Oh, and if you have any book suggestions please let me know...
The Wakeful Dreamer
Wow. I'm getting horrible at staying on track. Maybe I should have made some sort of New Year's resolution about it... Oh well. I blame my absences on work draining the life out of me and the internet's capability to keep me mindlessly entertained for hours. *shakes fist*
I did however manage to squeeze in some reading. I have to admit up front that this is the second time I've read The Hunger Games Trilogy. I read it once last year on the advice of several friends and I instantly loved it. The ideas, the plot, and yes, the love story, had me captivated.
I read them again because the movie of the first book is coming out in March and I wanted to familiarize myself with them again. I thought it would be a nice easy read, because I already read them, right? Wrong. I ate it up. I couldn't put them down for a second time.
Why do I like them so much? Well, first of all I love the timing of the books. Suzanne Collins has this wonderful way of keeping you engaged because the plot never drags. I guess you could get bored with almost every chapter having a cliff hanger ending but I find this only makes me want to flip the page faster.
Secondly, I love the idea. The book is set in the future where there are 12 districts which surround the Capitol. Years ago, there was an uprising between the districts and the Capitol, and guess who came out on top? If you guessed the Capitol you are right. In order to show their power over the other districts, they pick a girl and a boy from each district and put them in the Hunger Games, where the are placed in an arena and have to fight to the death.
I know you're thinking, "It sounds awful!" And I have to say that you're right. It is terrible. And this is what the books are really about: War and the effects of war.
The main character Katniss Everdeen, volunteers to be in the games after her sister's name is called. It's through her eyes that you see the struggle for survival and the punishment for a war that happened over 75 years ago.
If you've read them and liked them, tell me why. If you've read them and don't like them, I'm interested too... especially because I think they are so great. If you've never read them, do it! Though finding a copy at the library might be hard right now because of the movie coming out.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed about this one...
The Wakeful Dreamer
Remember my last post about not reading really anything over the holidays? Well, I may have over indulged.
As you can see by the image above I read a whole series this past week. Though it is targeted for 9 year olds so they weren't a very challenging read but they were still a good read.
In the books Rick Riordan combines Greek Mythology with Western civilization. The gods have continued to have children with mortals and these demi-gods are watched until they are taken to Camp Half-Blood where they can be safe, train, and make s'mores. Unfortunately, monsters are also aware of the children and try to hunt them down before they can reach the camp.
Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, is the main character along with a few of his friends. He leans that his ADHD and dyslexia, that have always made him a trouble maker and outsider, are common traits in half-bloods and the strange events in his life can be attributed to monsters. The main over-arching story through all the books is that there is a Great Prophecy that a child of the Big Three (Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades) will make a choice when they are sixteen that will determine the future of the gods.
I'm sure you've already guessed that this child is Percy Jackson. Riordan did set himself up for that by naming the whole series after him. The main over-arching story (see above paragraph) is good. Elements come up in every book that takes you a step further to see what Percy's choice will be. However, every book follows the same what I'll call the A-B-C approach: A) Go on an adventure B) Come back from adventure C) Add something at the end to lead into the next book.
I like Riordan's approach to the myths. He was casual about what the gods look like: Apollo wearing Ray Ban sunglasses, Ares looking like a biker, etc. He also managed to bring in a lot of the old myths and weave them into the main story.
I have to admit the first few books were a little hard to get through (I'm not 9 years old). But by the time Percy had grown up a little bit more and I became fimiliar with the pace of the books, I started to like them more.
Now I just need to watch the movie... Sean Bean as Zeus? I think I can handle that.
The Wakeful Dreamer
Welcome to 2012!
I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas holiday and a very happy New Year. Now that we are five days in there are really no excuses for slacking is there? I'm pointing the finger at myself here because of my lack of posting. I'm sad to say it but I really haven't read that much over the holidays...
You can pick your jaw up from the floor now. I'm sure you can understand how busy it can get especially when you travel to see family (always good but I end up very tired when I get home). So from now on we should be back on track. I just started a new series and have a few book suggestions so I'm feeling fairly comfortable in the reading department.
... I guess I should confess that I did read one book over the holidays. Well, a graphic novel. Of what happens between Firefly and Serenity. It was great but will only make sense if you have ever watched Firefly and Serenity. So I recommend watching those. Firefly first of course! It's so good...
The Wakeful Dreamer