So it appears that the Spring and Summer months are shaping up to be slow reading months around here – and that makes sense to me. In the Winter, the lack of sunshine definitely brings me down, and books make a great escape when I can’t get outside to work in the garden or soak up some rays by the pool. In the summer, I find myself in more of a “doing/going” mood and spend my free time out in the sun: flea marketing, gardening, and swimming – this leaves my commute to and from work and my primary “reading” time; and I take full advantage of it by loading up on audio books galore. In May, I easily checked out half a dozen books from the local library, but ended up finishing only one – an audio book secured through my audible subscription. The three books pictured above sounded fantastic, but just didn’t live up the hype, and I returned them all unfinished. Below are my thoughts regarding the three unfinished books and the one complete read.
The Firefly Dance by Sarah Addison Allen & Others: First off, I totally overlooked the fact that this was a novella of short stories written by 5 authors when I picked it up from the library. I’ve been riding the Addison Allen high and was looking to enjoy more of her southern magical realism when I grabbed this one off the shelf. I made it through the first short story before I put the book down. It just wasn’t what I was in the mood for – no Southern Charm, no magical realism, no way I’ve got time to muddle through this.
The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker: This one caught my eye from the shelf, and after reading the description in the jacket, promised to be similar to Addison Allen’s writing. And, while the premise is structurally similar, the plot was simultaneously too predictable and too jumpy for my taste. I got about half-way through before giving up and moving on. Overall, I feel like this story should have been broken into 2, maybe 3, different books and expounded into a fuller, richer narrative.
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder: Written by a Norwegian writer and translated into English, the plot follow’s the life of Sophie as she is introduced to philosophical thinking and the history of philosophy. Again, the book jacket promised magical realism, yet the book delivered a very elementary explanation of various philosophical schools of thought. I’m not sure how much of my distaste resulted from poor writing and how much resulted from poor translation, but this “adult” fiction felt like it should be on the juvenile fiction shelf. And while I love a good juvenile fiction, this one was definitely not my cup of tea.
Now, for the good:
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North: I loved this one, really loved it. It was a fantastic listen on the way to and from work, and fit in with a developing trend in my listening taste: something I’m going to call “lives lived again.” Like my earlier reads, Life After Life and, to an extent, Never Let Me Go, this book deals with choices made, lessons learned, and the impact a single person can have on the grand scheme of things. The reader was perfect for the narrative, and I am hoping and praying that Ms. North decides to write a sequel – it was just that good.
Have you read any good books, lately?