Bookalicious – 5 December 2011

My shelves are too bookalicious for you, baby. I read a lot. Well, not a lot compared to some people, but way more than is probably normal. Sometimes the books I’m reading from week to week will be the same, but I’ll endeavor to let you know what I’m thinking about them as I make progress (or don’t). I am and always have been a poly-reader – meaning I read multiple books simultaneously – so sorry if I give you whiplash. Here’s what’s on my nightstand these days and how I’m feeling about it!

New This Week

  • A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White
    Pages read:
    151 of 328
    I was first introduced to Susan Rebecca White several years ago when I heard her speak on a panel of Southern authors at the VA Festival of the Book. At the time, she had just had published her first novel (Bound South) and she did a reading, answered questions, and signed books. The passage she read was intriguing, and I liked her personality, so I bought the book. When I read it, it was…good. I liked it. But I didn’t go nuts over it, didn’t buy it as gifts for other people (the true mark of a book I adore is when I give copies as presents!). Still, I liked it well enough that when I heard she’d had a second book published, I wanted to check it out. Boy, am I glad I did. I’m not quite halfway through and I absolutely cannot put it down. It’s a sad story to start – two teen sisters lose their parents in a car crash, and they’re sent to live with different relatives on opposite sides of the country. But the girls are fantastically drawn characters, so real, broken-hearted and smart and good and flawed and complicated. I love them. I want to adopt them. (Not really. But I do want to read about them and believe that they’re going to be reunited and end up okay.) I predict I will finish this book in very short order just because I can’t put it down.

Books In Progress

Note on in-progress books: I’m only posting the book cover the very first time I add the book to the list on the blog, but you can see the covers by following the links in the titles.

Finished This Week

If you want to read my full reviews, see the Goodreads links below; for books I’ve finished, I’m planning to give just a five-sentence review on the blog.

  • Rebel Bookseller by Andrew Laties
    Read my review on Goodreads
    I abandoned this one, but not because it wasn’t good. This was another book I was reviewing for the VA Festival of the Book, and there was a bit of a time crunch to get my impression submitted. After I’d read enough to do that, I just wasn’t interested anymore because it’s not about a topic I care all that much about. The book is part memoir of the author opening an independent bookstore in Chicago in the ’80s and part advice on opening your own bookstore and/or other independent retail space. It’s well-written and fairly interesting, but since I’ve never had any desire to open my own retail store, it just didn’t feel necessary for me to finish it.
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
    Read my review on Goodreads
    Twin boys are born under mysterious and dangerous circumstances to an Indian nun working as a nurse in Ethiopia. Their suspected father, a British surgeon working in the same hospital, flees after their mother dies in childbirth, grief-stricken and confused. The boys both grow to be interested in medicine, like both their real and their adoptive parents (two other doctors in the same hospital), but their lives take them on very different paths. Eventually, they are both reunited with their father and with each other when one of them faces a dire crisis. This book is long, but it is worth every bit of the reading time it takes – I cannot recommend it highly enough.
  • So Shelly by Ty Roth
    Read my review on Goodreads
    As I predicted, I found this book to be adequate, but not amazing. Two teenage boys, Keats and Byron, are on a mission to give their recently dead mutual friend, Shelly, the burial she told them she wanted. The book is very maudlin, which is perfectly appropriate considering it’s based largely on facts about the lives of the Romantic-era poets who are the book characters’ namesakes. Keats is modeled on Keats, Byron on Byron, and Shelly on both Percy and Mary Shelley, and how the characters’ lives correspond to the poets is all explained in an afterword by the author. The book is a lot about growing up and accepting reality and death, but it was a little gimmicky (with the poet parallel) and overwrought for my tastes.

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