I have a confession to make. Up until a few days ago, I was in a horrible reading funk. The entire month of October was just brutal. I only opened books because it was necessary to meet my goal for the 50/50 Reading Challenge.
Normally, I am an emotional reader. I choose a book based on the mood I’m in at the time. Because of this, I keep a very long “to-read” list with a variety of genres to use as a reference. My list has over 200 titles on it at the moment and I’ll still forsake it if I find another book that suits me better. Nothing, and I mean nothing, moved me in October. Not my to-read list. Not suggestions from family or friends. Not strolls through B & N. Nothing!
A complete break from reading is what I really needed (and wanted). However, that slave driver called The 50/50 Reading Challenge wouldn’t let me rest. My choice of books over the course of October perfectly illustrates my spiraling reading mood. Looking back now, it’s pretty funny. I started October with a Man Booker Award winner and ended the month with one of those little square gift books on display in the Starbucks section of Barnes and Noble. The worst of it all is that I’m not sure if my opinions of these books are truly reflective of the books themselves or my foul mood while reading them. Take everything with a pinch of salt and then decide for yourself.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Life of Pi is the tale of Piscine (Pi) Patel: his life as a zookeeper’s son in Pondicherry, India, his 227 day ordeal of survival on the open sea, and his recovery and life afterward. Although I found some of the descriptions to be graphically gruesome and felt that the book dragged a bit during the middle section, I believe Life of Pi is a very powerful story. I haven’t had time to really think through all the layers yet, but just the experience of reading this unusual book made it worth my time. (4/5 stars)
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. In this very long novel, Ms. Morton addresses the story of Milderhurst Castle, the Blythe sisters who live there, and the mystery surrounding the youngest sister’s fall into madness. I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as The Forgotten Garden (which I loved). The book seemed overly long for the story and I just didn’t care as much about the characters even though I felt they were well-developed. (3.75/5 stars)
The Peach Keeper by Sara Addison Allen. This is another interesting story by Ms. Addison – infused with magic and love and offering very little substance. Sometimes this is the perfect type of reading for me – pure entertainment with no mental effort. Of the three Sara Addison Allen books I’ve read (The Sugar Queen and Garden Spells are the other two), the Peach Keeper is my least favorite but still good. (3.75/5 stars)
1001 Things Every Teen Should Know Before They leave Home by Harry H. Harrison Jr. I almost feel guilty putting this in my list because it was such an easy read. However, it’s a book and I read it, so it counts. Believe it or not, there are great little pieces of advice tucked in this book for parents of teens. Kudos for the laughs, too. (3.5/5 stars)
It’s hard to believe, but by the end of October I had read 39 books. Only 11 more to go! I’m happy to report that I’ve moved beyond the literary apathy I was feeling and am back on the reading track. I just read Memoirs of Geisha in two days and will be starting The Thirteenth Tale tonight. After that, who knows? I’ll just have to wait and see what kind of mood I’m in. Perhaps, it will be time for some non-fiction. I wonder if cookbooks count….