Sunday, July 29, 2012

#14: Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

I'm getting as much reading in as I can before school starts because we all know school is a freaking time sucker. Boo. So my goal is to be decently past halfway by the time school starts. Looks like I'm on track!

I've owned a copy of this one for over a year now. When I was taking a Literature class at my old University, we had a book review assignment in which we basically recommended one of our favorite books to the class. One of my classmates quite passionately recommended this one. I'd heard about it before of course, but the way he described the book was very intriguing. So last summer I got it on sale and intended to read it eventually.

It was excellent. My only regret is that I hadn't experienced the brilliance sooner! There were so many deep societal and personal themes interlaced beautifully. It was about the pursuit of happiness, legacy, tradition, simplicity, societal impact, passion, with a touch a love and friendship. And so much more. It was a quick read, but it was compelling to me in a way different from how most books are compelling to me.

I chose to make this book number 14 in memory of Ray Bradbury who recently passed away at 91 years old. Bravo, Mr. Bradbury. Great work! Glad I finally decided to pick it up and stick with it!

<Update: Today I read all the extras (the Afterword, Coda, and "Conversation with Ray Bradbury" that came with the 50th anniversary edition). Let me just add that I think I love this book even more after these extras brought to my attention all the sickening similarities between Bradbury's prediction of the future and our current society. Powerful stuff. It's more than just about books. Makes you think...>

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

#13: Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang - Chelsea Handler

You really can't go wrong with Chelsea Handler. Love her!

Let me just say: it's dangerous working in a bookstore with thousands of books and your discount card staring you directly in the face.

Yep. Bought this one in the awesome used book section of the store. So at least, after my discount, it only cost me around $3-4. Major win in my "book" (pun intended).

Basically, I loved it.

I was that @$$ clown sitting in the middle of a damn car repair shop laughing my patootie off while the other customers looked at me and wondered if I had broken out of a mental institution. (Similar instances occurred at Target, my little brother's baseball game, and the bar... JK about that last one, you gullible fools.)

It was nothing deep, but it was a perfect light summer read that kept me in good spirits. Yay!

Now for #14!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

#12: The Pilot's Wife - Anita Shreve

I'm on a roll! Hoping by the time school starts I will be all caught up and ready to kick this challenge in the @$$! :) (Well sort of. Because we should ignore the fact that the title of this blog is nowhere near the amount of books I will actually have read in 2012. Okay? Okay. Yay for new, realistic goals).

The twelfth book of my challenge... um.... sucked.

Let's be honest, I was at my mom and dad's when I needed a new book to read. I grabbed it, asked my mom if it was any good (to which she replied, "You know, I don't even remember if I've read it..."), so I said "What the hell?" and cracked it open.

Let me just explain that no matter how badly a book starts, I generally power through it until the end. I've read dozens of books with horrible or slow beginnings that get amazing eventually. I don't like to "give up" on a book, so to speak.

Needless to say, this one did NOT get amazing. Far from it. I didn't hate it, no. But there are so many hundreds of books out there that are so much better (many of which I have read), so I rate it pretty low.

First of all, the writing style is exhausting. It's good to set the scene, don't get me wrong. But do we REALLY need to know that there is a dog in the distance taking a poo and to also know the precise color of the said poo?! (Okay, that was an exaggeration but not by much!) 

As for the story line. 95% of it was so predictable it was painful. Which, in and of itself, isn't always necessarily a bad thing, but I was already annoyed about the writing style and the characters were dumb. It was like a bad Nicholas Sparks book... but worse. 

I gave it only ONE star on Goodreads. So this Anita Shreve chick.... Wherever you are, don't quit your day job.

Oh well. You win some, you lose some! And the next book on my list is SURE to be a WIN. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

#11 (and THIRD nonfiction!): Becoming Sister Wives - Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown

Before you judge me for my 11th book this year (yay, 11!), let me explain to you my fascinations with such a genre.

First of all, people of unfamiliar lifestyles and religions have always piqued my interest. I am definitely one to watch documentaries on strange or unconventional families on channels like the late Discovery Health (may it rest in peace) or TLC. So that show, "Sister Wives," is no exception.

My aunt was actually the first to introduce me to the show. We both share a common interest in this particular type of reality TV shows and she knew I would be as interested as she was.

As expected, I quickly became fascinated with the everyday life of a family who practiced a lifestyle I was completely unfamiliar with. And when my aunt was visiting recently, we watched the two hour season finale together, our eyes glued to the screen. At the end of the finale, they advertised their book that neither of us had known existed. Of course, we were both interested. So a couple days later we went out to the bookstore and she bought it. She promised me that when she finished, she'd send it to me from Utah.

It arrived at my apartment just a few days ago and I picked it up immediately! It was a fairly quick read and, although it didn't reveal too much more than what I know from the show, I give it a solid three stars.

It has always been my belief that, as long as the lifestyles of some do not affect the lives of others in a negative way, they have the right to live their lives as they please. This idea applies to many realms such as general religious tolerance and gay rights. And while I can never fathom either myself or anyone in my life living a polygamous lifestyle, I feel that it is our job as a progressive society to be generally more open-minded and accepting of those who aren't like ourselves. If being polygamous makes these people happy, and their happiness isn't threatening the happiness of others, why be hateful?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

#10 (and #2 nonfiction): Expecting Adam - Martha Beck

It's been an incredibly busy and fun couple of weeks, all the while little of my summer list getting accomplished. But I still managed to read a book. Yay for me!

I had lots of family visiting for the past couple of weeks, and the crazy amounts of family time was nothing short of wonderful. There's nothing like going back to your roots and spending some good old-fashioned quality time with the people you love!

UPDATE: Just had to share this picture. Cutie patooties! My baby cousin on the left, and her brother (my other cousin, but also my Godson) in my lap. Love them more than life itself! 

Anyway, while my aunt was here, she gave me a book of hers to read. I had such a long list of my own piling up on my desk, but it intrigued me, so I cracked it open, often unable to put it down for an hour or two.

It's about a young, intelligent Harvard married couple expecting their second child and finding out he has Down syndrome. It doesn't really read much like a nonfiction which was interesting. And the writing style has a touch of humor. I loved it. Reading it was also a somewhat spiritual experience, as the mother walks you through her own experiences learning to reject everything she'd learned about "The Meaning of Life" at Harvard. It gets you thinking about what really matters and what doesn't.

I loved it. I give it 4 stars!