Books of January

I will admit that when I woke up on the first day of 2015, I did not feel like reading a book for awhile. I powered through so many in December as part of my 2014 goals that I just wanted to enjoy playing videos games instead.

And yet, here I am mid-way through my fourth book of the month – maybe last year’s goal of reading three books a month has become an official habit (only time will tell).

UnknownFord County by John Grisham – Normally John Grisham isn’t on my reading list, but someone had given me a 2nd hand copy of Ford County so I stuck it in my suitcase on my recent trip to Hawaii. It’s a collection of several short stories, all set in a (real?) place called Ford County. Overall, the stories were well-written and it was a quick read, but most of them were forgettable. The first story, about three rednecks getting into a lot of accidental trouble while traveling to the city, was the most enjoyable to me because it went from silly to completely (but believably) ridiculous. It was a great book to read by the beach, but it won’t end up on my Top 10 list.

18114233Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wyler – In a desperate move, I paid $1 for a used copy of this book at a thrift shop for another easy beach read. The amount of things I disliked about this book could fill an entire blog post on it’s own, but since you probably won’t read it, I’ll keep my complaints to a minimum. Although I’m not a Wuthering Heights superfan, I’m still a fan of the Bronte sisters, and the back of the book promised to revisit some of the original gothic story lines of WH. This story focuses on, Eleanor, a late 20s fashion designer in New York, who is blessed with a waify frame but eats pastries all day (do you hate her yet? cause I sure did). Eleanor has a deep romance with her childhood pal, Miles, but (*spoiler alert*) she catches in bed with another woman, leading her to run away to coastal England, where it turns out her long lost aunt is dying and about to leave her a giant estate that is rumored to have been owned by Emily Bronte. Just when the novel feels rife with cliques, we meet Mead, a rugged and handsome man who has taken care of her aunt and the property since he was orphaned as a baby (are you dying yet?!). Eleanor spends the rest of this (too long) novel “learning” about her self as she inherits the abbey – but mostly whining and crying and daintily eating all day long.

I will say I think this story was well written, but gaaawwwddd I just wanted to murder Eleanor. Not only was it offensive to me that the leading lady couldn’t seem to make a single decision without the help of anyone, her life was a ridiculous fantasy that wasn’t even fun to fantasize about. When Miles follows her to England and shows up to smooth things out, she just takes him back – no anger or anything. Apparently breaking a few dishes back in New York meant she was totally over it. Of course, she chose Mead in the end, but I couldn’t even figure out why; he sat around listening to her whine and instead of slapping her or making her a woman in the barn, he just held her hand and said, “Yes, yes…tell me more…” BLAHHHHHHHHHH!

If you are a huge fan of the romance between Heathcliff and Catherine (which I never thought was a healthy romance anyway), maybe you would love this book – but to an independent woman like myself, well…….


71bmwJ6z--LAmerican Sniper by Chris Kyle – Naturally the only thing I could read to counteract the previous estrogen-fest was Chris Kyle’s account of being a Navy SEAL. For me, this book was entertaining despite the fact that there was no specific rise/fall of action; it’s just a collection of his experiences. As someone who regularly looks at SEAL websites for workout inspiration (and if I had been born a dude, I’m telling you this might have been my calling), I loved reading about the workouts, physical tests, and hazing he went through. And politics aside, I have an obligation to respect someone who is willing to die for my right to blog about lame romance novels. Kyle’s wife also gives her perspective of their frenetic marriage, where he is often portrayed like a spoiled boy who never grew up and was never that committed to his family. I realize some people think he’s a big liar, but I guess I don’t care. Personally, I haven’t seen the movie, but I don’t think you can talk shit about Chris Kyle until you read the book first because just like I say to my students, “You must reference evidence from the text to support your argument.”

*If you haven’t read it and plan to, I recommend the enhanced version on the iPad. It had several videos of Kyle and his wife, which added a personal touch, and a little clarity when he seemed to tune out while she talked about their relationship.

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