Stephanie's 2019 Reading

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Stephanie's 2019 Reading

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1StephaniePettry
Editado: Ago 15, 2019, 4:05pm

Haven't been able to keep up a journal for reading, but I like to put my thoughts down somewhere. Maybe having it in a public place will help. As I write my thoughts on these books, there may be some details that may give some things away or hint at something that should be discovered on one's own, so tread carefully.

So far this year I've read:

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn
For One More Day by Mitch Albom
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Looking at this list makes me realize I haven't been reading at all this year, but I have bought probably 30 books in the last two months. I need to get cracking.

2StephaniePettry
Editado: Ago 12, 2019, 12:18pm

2 Stars: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is a book I have been trying to read for five years, but never quite made it to the end for one reason or another. I think a big part of it was that the character of Lily was so immature and I found her annoying. In high school, I used the book as a place to write because my parents were forcing me to read every night as a punishment, and as a 16 year old with a boyfriend, I saw it as just that. When I finally got to the end of the book, I realized that I didn't finish the book originally because I never liked it, but I kept trying to read it because I liked reading my notes and thoughts that were scattered throughout the first half. I'm really glad I can mark it off my list now, but I will definitely not be recommending it to anyone.

3StephaniePettry
Editado: Ago 18, 2019, 11:24pm

5 Stars: For One More Day was a birthday gift from my sister. She inscribed it with a heartfelt message about regret and her hopes for me as I read the book. I love when books have inscriptions in them, I've been known to buy books at Goodwill just for the words inside the front cover. As a fan of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, I had high hopes for this book, and I am happy to say they were met and exceeded. While this book took a measly 4 hours to read, they were an amazing 4 hours that helped me reflect on my relationship with my mother and realize just how much I appreciate her and what she has done for me.

Outside of the book's intended message, I was completely hooked by the story itself. The truth about Chick's father left me shocked and picking my jaw up off the floor.

4StephaniePettry
Editado: Ago 12, 2019, 12:18pm

5 Stars: The History of Love is by far one of the best books I have read in the past 5 years.

If you haven't read the book, which I imagine is extremely likely, do so before you read the rest of this post. If you have read it, I would love to hear your thoughts on the book and also what is written below.

While it took about 100 pages for me to like the book, by the end I was in love. Not only was the story amazing, but the physical layout of the pages and the chapters was perfect. For a book that combines four people's voices, Krauss went beyond just separating the stories by chapter and labeling them with a name. She eliminated the need for labels. You can tell who is speaking just by the numbering of the segments or the writing of God's name at the top of each journal entry. There is something to be said about a book that truly makes you wait until the last 5 pages before it turns what you thought you knew about the characters on its head. That being said, here is a breakdown of my opinion on the main characters.

Leo: I hate how disgusting his description of his life is. While I understand he was a hoarder and didn't take care of himself because he had simply lost the will to do so, reading about the mess in his underwear and the ring around his tub made me cringe.
I loved how he described his need to be seen because I often feel something close to that.

Zvi: I don't really have any thoughts on his segments because they felt like filler added to connect the dots, but it was somewhat poorly developed. Mostly, his chapters just made me want to get to the next installment of Alma or Leo.

Bird: That poor, poor boy. I felt so bad for him while also understanding Alma's need for him to change. His story also felt like filler until the end when his search for purpose finally resulted in something great. The note he left his mother and Alma when he went to the airport broke my heart.

Alma: At first I found her annoying, but I came to identify with her deep desire to find answers. I only wish I had a book that could lead me on such an adventure and that I lived in a place that could so easily be explored. I also wish I had a friendship like hers and Misha's. One thing I think the book lacked was more time between the two of them. The ending of their story lines up with the whole layout and missed opportunity theme of The History, but I would love to know what happened next, much like Hazel longs to know what happened with the Dutch Tulip man and Anna's mother.

Even better than the real book, was the book within the book. The chapters that Alma's mother translates and are added to these chapters were beautiful and thought provoking. Often I have felt that part of me is made of glass and that words cannot express what a touch or a hand movement can.

5dchaikin
Ago 12, 2019, 8:17pm

Welcome to CR (and LT), Stephanie. I'd like to read A History of Love, have a copy waiting. I listened to her Forest Dark and it was little more complicated than I like on audio, but I did enjoy it a lot.

6StephaniePettry
Editado: Ago 12, 2019, 10:00pm

>5 dchaikin: I will have to look into Forest Dark. I found History at a resale store and had never heard of Krauss before, but after reading this one I could see how her writing would be hard to follow in an audiobook.

7AlisonY
Ago 13, 2019, 3:24am

Glad to see you've set up a new thread! It's a while since I read some of the Mitch Albom books (funny enough, it might have been in my first year on CR), but I remember enjoying the messages that came out of them.

You'll pick up plenty of book bullets on CR that will have your wish list teetering in no time!

8rhian_of_oz
Ago 13, 2019, 11:50am

>5 dchaikin: Welcome Stephanie!

I read this over 5 years ago and don't remember a thing about it. My notes on it at the time were "I'm not sure how I feel about this one. It was a little bit of a struggle to read, I think maybe because it struck me as fairly melancholy. Wanting to see how Leo and Alma's story came together kept me reading, but I found the mechanism that united them a bit contrived."

9StephaniePettry
Ago 13, 2019, 11:57am

>8 rhian_of_oz: it was difficult to read at first the way it was written, which is part of why it took so long for me to get into it.

10StephaniePettry
Ago 15, 2019, 4:15pm

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

I wasn't quite sure about this book when I first picked it up, but it wound up being a great read! Some parts were hard to get through and understand how they were important to the plot, but by the end I couldn't put it down. Although I was satisfied with the book's ending, I wish there were a sequel or that it was longer because there are definitely questions I still have about the character's lives.

11avaland
Ago 16, 2019, 3:58pm

>4 StephaniePettry: I both read and listen to History of Love back when it first came out and enjoyed both very much. Seems I had a copy of Forest Dark around here somewhere but haven't read it. Too many authors, too many books, is probably why.

There is nothing wrong with book accumulation:-) (unless you are using your grocery money or not paying your bills)

12StephaniePettry
Ago 18, 2019, 11:27pm

>11 avaland: That would be an interesting book to listen to given the range of voices for each chapter. I keep telling my friends that as long as it is making me happy for cheap, I can and will buy as many books as I want xD

13StephaniePettry
Editado: Out 19, 2019, 6:26pm

Looking for Alaska

I read this book my freshman year of college, and remember liking it quite a bit then. I had already read The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines. I loved all of those, and my best friend told me I had to read this one partly because it was her favorite. As I read, I realized why she loved it. She was Alaska in so many ways and I felt particularly connected to Miles. Throughout reading it then, I made many many notes in the margins and underlined countless words and phrases in the novel. This made reading it this time around so much more enjoyable. I was given the chance to relive and remember parts of a friendship that ended years ago, and made comments on my past thoughts on life and the book itself.
My reason for reading it this time around was the discovery that Hulu is going to release an 8 episode adaptation of the book - thank you LT for putting the wrong book cover in my collection. I watched the trailer and noticed discrepancies with the characters' physical appearance and my memory of how they were described, so I decided to look back through and see just how much John Green had left to my imagination. The answer: a lot. Almost everything I remembered about them was made up - save for the fact that Chip was short and muscular and Takumi was the fox. After reading it, I have a renewed since of love for the book and appreciation for the message. Finding a way out of the labyrinth of suffering has been my main goal as of late, and reading Mile's perspective on that has reminded me that I need to stop looking and just keep walking. If I give in to the fact that I am going to find my way in and out of the labyrinth, I won't feel so trapped. Or so I hope. I can't wait for October to arrive, so I can experience this story in a whole new way, and I really hope I don't hate it as much as I hated the Paper Towns movie.

Update: I finished watching the show about 15 hours after I started the first episode. Hulu did not disappoint with this adaptation. Though they changed a few things about the details, they left the story mostly intact - even quoting the book verbatim in some scenes. They did such a wonderful job that I had a much stronger emotional reaction to the story than I have ever had reading the book.

I 100% recommend this book and the limited series.

14rhian_of_oz
Ago 22, 2019, 10:19am

>13 StephaniePettry: Did you see the The Fault in Our Stars movie? I thought the scene where Hazel is struggling to breathe was extremely well done.

15StephaniePettry
Ago 22, 2019, 11:11am

>14 rhian_of_oz: I did! I was pretty happy with that movie and how they chose to edit the story. Did you see/ read Paper Towns?

16rhian_of_oz
Ago 23, 2019, 10:08am

>15 StephaniePettry: I haven't seen or read Paper Towns. So many books, so little time!

17StephaniePettry
Editado: Ago 23, 2019, 11:08am

>16 rhian_of_oz: Well, if you ever get the time, it is a great book. The movie had too many changes for my tastes, though.

18avaland
Set 7, 2019, 7:03pm

>12 StephaniePettry: A great philosophy!

19StephaniePettry
Out 19, 2019, 6:33pm

The Abstinence Teacher

I read this book a few years ago, and did not like it very much. However, I had been thinking about it a lot over the summer, so I decided to give it a second chance. The book is written from two different character's perspectives, and the chapters switch between the two. I think I got through four chapters this time around. Knowing that book was the one I would be reading was enough to keep me from reading at the steady pace I had been recently. Given that I am a substitute teacher and have hours on end where reading is the only acceptable way to pass time, I need a book that I want to read. This one has since returned to my shelves - where it will stay until someone else wants to take a stab at it.

Since giving up on TAT, I have been reading 11/22/63 and am excited every day to read further.