Monday, July 30, 2012

Pans and Picks- Books I Recommend

Books Worth Reading:

Hopefully this will become more of an on-going recommendation for people that enjoy reading:

The Help (By Kathryn Stockett)
Ever finish reading a book and feel so sad that the experience was over? Yeah, me too! I definitely wish this book was even longer. This story, told in the voice of 3 different characters was a thought provoking, wonderful read. You don't even have to be southern to enjoy it! The movie adaptation is very well done...however, it simply didn't have time to capture all the humor and sadness that the author conveys in the book.

On the Island (By Tracey Garvis-Graves)
This shorter (novella type) book was such an enjoyable read that I found myself wondering about the characters when I had to put the book down (you know, when I had to actually work or maintain my real life). I would find myself wondering what would happen next! Basically, this is a story about a 30-year old teacher and the student she is tutoring getting stranded on an island. Do they survive? Do they learn to work together? 

The Hunger Games (By Suzanne Collins)
This young adult, science fiction trilogy (set in the dystopian future of North America) isn't really the kind of books I like to read. Not because it is young adult...I'm totally still considering myself and young adult! More because of the sci-fi aspects. The world, ravaged by rioting and wars, has been divided into 12 districts. Each year, a male and a female tribute are selected from each district to compete in the Hunger Games. This series follows Katniss Everdeen as she is chosen to compete in the annual Hunger Games (ie a televised fight-to-the-death). At the end of the first book, I couldn't help but far off is this concept???

Pride and Prejudice (By Jane Austen)
Okay, okay....I know what you are thinking. That's a when you are in an interview and they ask "what is your favorite book?" and you reply "War and Peace" just to sound worldly. But seriously...this is my favorite book of all time. I just re-read it again and followed it up by one of the (all of the sudden popular) books that is based on Pride and Prejudice. Death Comes to Pemberley (By P.D. James) and also Darcy's Passions: Pride and Prejudice Retold Through His Eyes (By Regina Jeffers). Both of these books take some artistic liberties with the story and what happens in between and in the future. If I had to pick which one I enjoyed better, it would be Darcy's Passions. Death Comes to Pemberley was a little sloppy, in my opinion and it had too much of Mr. Wickham in it. I haven't had the stomach to try out the zombie version of P&P. Anyone recommend it?

Water for Elephants (By Sara Gruen)
Wow...this colorful book follows a traveling circus through the memories of a elderly man. This book is sooo much better than the movie. The vivid descriptions, fast pacing, and flashbacks just don't translate as well on the big screen. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It truly was unlike any book I've read.

The Time Traveler's Wife (By Audrey Niffenegger) 
This book is so well written that I would love to sit down with Audrey Niffenegger and pick her brain about how she accomplished this. The story line jumps from time period to time period by chapter and is often a bit challenging to follow. I've discussed this format with other friends that have read this book and some say it is too difficult to follow and so they chose to stop reading. I was awestruck by the way the story flows and I would definitely read it again. It isn't a light beach be warned!

Books that I am embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed...but are in no way real literature:

Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed (By EL James) (that's right, I read all three...)
While the character descriptions were based off of Twilight characters Edward and Bella, that is the only similarity with these smutty, sexually-charged  books. I've never read trashy romance novels before. It's basically like watching a train wreck. You hate that you find yourself enjoying them...and yet, somehow you read all three in one week. Then, when you refuse to send them to your mother (out of embarrassment and disgust) you have to hear how she was denied at her local library b/c the books were banned there! Long story short, I gave her my copies and told her PLEASE...let's never discuss these books again!

Books that I will never read apologies to these authors and their publishing companies!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and the other two books in this series) by: Stieg Larsson
If I could go back in time and talk to the author, (he is deceased so, I can't tell him now) I would say: "Please Mr. Larsson! Edit your characters down to only the pertinent ones! Why so many characters?? This series was the most grueling series I have EVER READ! Sure, the main characters are dynamic and interesting and the idea of a strong female heroine is applaud worthy...however, this book is sexually graphic, tedious and if you have a problem with keeping up with a bunch of foreign names--don't read this series!

Angela's Ashes (By Frank McCourt) 
This best-selling memoir by Irish-American author Frank McCourt is well written. That really can't be denied. Another thing that can't be denied is that this book was the most depressing book I've ever read. UGH! Spoiler Alert! Children die, his father is an alcoholic, and life sucked for the McCourt family! What's that you say? He wrote another memoir after this called 'Tis? Yeah, I think I'll pass. Thanks...

The Shack (By: William P. Young)
This highly recommended christian novel was such a disappointment to me. I'm sad to say that I couldn't even finish reading it. The story was so lagging and predictable that I just couldn't pick it up again. My apologies to those of you who had a life changing experience! This is the first book that I quit reading. I used to feel like if I started reading something then I was committed to finishing it. This book made me realize that life is just too short to read bad books.

Suggestions? Thoughts? Disagree? I would love to hear what you think...I'm thinking of trying out the Game of Thrones series. Not sure though!

*The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog post are entirely mine and are simply opinions...please don't sue me! :)