January 15, 2014

January Reading Roundup

Once the chaos of Christmas prep was over I finally settled down with some good books. I've read way more in the last month than I did in the months leading up to the holidays, and am back to my usual method of reading a few books at once. I don't have a specific book list for 2014 (except for my book club picks) but my "to-read" list on Goodreads has exploded over the last few weeks with all the end of year book roundups. The tough part is choosing what to read next!

Here's what I read over the last month:


Deadlocked and Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Well, I finally caught up on Sookie Stackhouse. I happened to stumble on the last two books while at the library before Christmas and grabbed them both. While I'm less enamored of the stories than I was in the beginning of the series, Harris makes her books hard to put down. I still don't know how I feel about the final end to the series but I know there was no way to make everyone happy with Sookie's love life!

House of Hades by Rick Riordan
The latest Percy Jackson. I love these books…they are fast paced and totally absorbing. Not the height of literature to be sure, but the way he weaves in the different Greek and Roman mythology is impressive and saves them from being fluff. This one finds our team of heroes divided between two worlds as they try to free the doors of Death. The characters are beginning to grow up (sniff, sniff!) and they are dealing with much more mature problems. Now to wait until next fall for The Blood of Olympus!

Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey by Emma Rowley
Fun look into the production of the hit series. I grew up on Masterpiece Theater and have been watching Downton since the beginning. The pictures are beautiful and there was a lot of really interesting information about how the filming works in an historic home. And the pictures of the costumes and Highclere Castle? Swoon!

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
I'm very torn about this one. It's our book club pick for January and while the story was interesting and fast paced, the character development bothered me. I didn't think the author conveyed Anne's character in a smooth arc-it felt choppy and a bit contrived sometimes. I also think that Charles Lindbergh would have been really interesting if his character was fleshed out more. He felt like a cardboard cutout of the genius/jerk husband archetype and not like an actual human with flaws. Part of my problem could be that I've read Gift from the Sea (see below) multiple times and had my own image of Anne Lindbergh to contend with while reading Benjamin's version. It left me wanting to reread Gift from the Sea and track down a biography of each of the Lindberghs…wanting to read more is usually a sign of pretty good historical fiction for me. Since my book club is made up of modern day aviator's wives it should be a good discussion!

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
After I finished the Aviator's Wife I couldn't get the two versions of Anne out of my head, and how different they were. Gift from the Sea became a seminal feminist tract as it encouraged women to grow throughout her life and to be her own person, as well as half of a partnership. This is one of those books that I read every few years and relate to entirely different parts of it. Anne wrote this after a retreat to solitude and simplicity on Captiva Island in the 50s. She frames each chapter by exploring one of the shells she found on the beach while she was there, and later brought to her home in Connecticut to see as she wrote. Sometimes dense but I think this is one of those books that everyone will find at least a few words that resonate with them.

Where'd you go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
Funny, quirky, satirical. This was the perfect read for this past weekend. It tells the tale of a woman who goes missing just as her daughter is finishing middle school. It's told through emails, faxes, invoices and narration from her daughter Bee. Go read it! (And then come back and snicker with me about the Suburu vs. Mercedes Parents!)

What have you been reading this month? As usual, I'm linking up to Twitterature on Modern Mrs Darcy. Go check it out for more great books!

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  1. I loved Where'd You Go, Bernadette? And I totally agree with you about the Sookie Stackhouse books. I loved the first two or three, and I kept reading, but I thought the plots got flatter and flatter as the series progressed.

  2. I loved The Aviator's Wife, though I agree that Charles wasn't fully fleshed out. I do also love Gift from the Sea, but I've only read it once or twice.

    The Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus books are so much fun - and I always learn about mythology when I read them! And Where'd You Go, Bernadette was a riot.

  3. I laughed my way through Where You'd Go, Bernadette. So hilarious. I grew up just across the border and was one of those Canadians who visited Washington. =)

  4. OOH, another Downton Abbey companion book! I've read The World of DA and Chronicles of DA -- gotta get this one!

  5. My book club discusses it tomorrow night and I think it's going to be a really good discussion! I think I would have loved it if it hadn't been historical figures (and I'm a total history geek).

  6. I got that Downton Abbey book for Christmas in 2012 (!!) and I STILL haven't cracked the cover. That will change!

    I just this afternoon put Gift from the Sea on my list of books I've been meaning to read that I absolutely, positively will read in 2014.

  7. I thought she might pick up some steam after the tv series started but it's almost like she made Sookie's life too complicated to resolve!

  8. Just started back up with Downton Abbey after a hiatus, so maybe I'll need to give the Behind the Scenes a try in order to further scratch that itch. :)

  9. I want that Downton book! :) I've always been fascinated by Anne Morrow Lindbergh; I'd also love to find a good biography.

  10. Loved "Where'd You Go" so so much. Glad you liked it! The Downton book looks great. Are you watching the new season?

    My husband picked out the Aviator's Wife for me on our dorky book date night: We go to B&N and each secretly pick a book out for each other, and then meet back to see what they other got us. Still going to read it, but glad to hear a few cautions about it!

  11. I like to start a series only after I know it's done. So maybe I'll try Sookie Stackhouse this year!

  12. Oh, I loved Where'd You Go Bernadette! I really loved her as a character, even though she was neurotic and cynical and spacey (a little like me actually - ha!)

    I just watched S4E1 of Downton Abbey and was reminded how much I utterly love that show.

    I'm listening to an audiobook right now - The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty - that is narrated by Elizabeth McGovern (Lady Cora) and I could listen to her voice for hours and hours. Ironically, the main character's name in the book is Cora, too!

  13. I read and enjoyed that last year too!

  14. You got a lot of reading done! I never finished the Sookie Stackhouse series...I wasn't digging the way the story was going before the last book came out, and once it finally did, I just never picked it up. I have several of your other reads on my to be read list. :)

  15. It was a fun way to get ready for this season (though there are some spoilers if you aren't caught up on the series!)

  16. If I find a good one I'll let you know! I found one by Susan Hertog but there seems to be quite a bit of controversy around it (and not in a good way) so I'm going to keep looking right now!

  17. Yes! So glad Downton is back, but I'm not sure I like the darker tone from last week's episode. I think you'll enjoy Aviator's Wife-despite our differing opinions at my book club this week everyone said they raced through the story (me included)!

  18. So much easier that way! There are several series I wish I had waited to start. Hope you enjoy Sookie if you try it!

  19. I agree-I don't love the direction she took in those last few books. It just wasn't as fun as the early ones were…it seemed to coincide with when the HBO show came out and I always wondered if the change in story line and tone was connected.

  20. I really liked her too! I can see a little of myself in her…and a little of the way I wish I could react when people make me mad!
    There are a few audiobook narrators that I will listen to anything they read because they are so good. I'll have to try Elizabeth McGovern now!


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