Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jen's Book Club...not as good as Oprah's, but who could compete with Lady O?

Ever since I can remember, I have read on average a book a week. I read very fast, soaking it all in and enjoying every word, which is a blessing in many ways. Yet because of the ferocity with which I devour literature, I am ashamed to admit that I don't have the best retention. Hence, the blessing...I can read books over and over again and still enjoy them!

A recent Facebook conversation prompted me to write this list of the books I have been reading. We have been here for 15 weeks and I have read 14 books, so I am still on target. Here are the fourteen books that I have eaten up so far this summer, and my picks on which ones are worth the read(in red and starred**)!

In order of consumption...

1. **Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
I started reading this one on the airplane heading to the UK. I couldn't stop reading it. It is a fantastic story and very well told. David encouraged me to head to town one afternoon after I finished to watch the movie. While it's always nice to see R.Pat, the movie was just okay. I'll assume you saw the trailers, if not the movie itself, and save the synopsis. If you did see the this book. It is so much richer and the characters are much more complex than the screen version let's us see.
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2. **Every Last One, Anna Quindlen
This novel got me from the beginning because it is about a mom with teenagers and she was describing how she felt like the time has gone so quickly. Kind of like I feel every day: "Where did my babies go?" I can only imagine how much harder it will be to see the baby stage slip farther and farther away. Her family is dealt a devastating blow, and this is the story of how she recovers from that. I felt like the climax of the book was in the middle, therefore the action obviously falls from there. Worth the read, but I did feel like it built up steam and then fell toward the conclusion.

3. Theodore Boone, John Grisham
I used to read Grisham novels all the time. Pretty sure I am a bit behind on his newest titles, but this one was quick and easy to read, and a joy all the same. Theodore Boone was Grisham's first novel for young readers. Theo is thirteen years old, and the son of two lawyers. He gets himself caught up in the middle of a murder trial and has to use his sharp legal skills to "save the day." I think I read the whole thing in about four hours. :o)

4. Cross My Heart, Helen Slavin
At the market in town there is a stall where they buy and sell used books. I stocked up, so the next three are books that I found there. And I have to confess, I basically judged them by the covers. 3 for £ can do that when they are that cheap.
Cross My Heart was the first book I read by an English author after we got here. It is funny the little things that I had been wondering about that cropped up in this book. It is about Grace, a young girl who tells lies so convincing that she convinces herself they are reality. But the Big One is just too big, and it eats her up inside and rightly so, impacts the rest of her life.

5. My One and Only, Kristan Higgins
This is a chick-flick type of book. Girl is divorced. Her sister gets married to her ex-husband's brother. Girl and ex get stranded after wedding and have to drive cross country together. Can you guess what happens? Meh...

6. It's the Little Things, Erica James
Another one of the English books. When they kept mentioning different towns and places I kept finding myself on google to see how far they were from me. This one was decent. I hated the characters I was supposed to hate, and loved the ones I was supposed to love, but other than that it was fairly predictable.

7. **Sing You Home, Jodi Picoult
I just love Jodi Picoult. She has written about a dozen novels and I have loved them all. I get hooked and pulled into the story and can't stop reading. I still think My Sister's Keeper is my favorite, but that may be because I like the real ending of the book so much better than the stupid Hollywood adaptation. Sing You Home is about a couple who are trying to conceive via in-vitro and end in divorce. The wife ends up falling in love with someone else and wants to use the embryos. A legal battle ensues; it's captivating. It's clear to me all along who should win, but how could a judge be forced to decide which parent has the rights to that unborn child? Awesome book.

8, 9, 10...Okay, I really need to start going for quality. I picked up three books by Linda Kelsey at the shop because they were 3 for £3 again. I think I overpaid. I am surprised I made it through them all. Blah. Here they are nonetheless:
The Twenty Year Itch
Fifty Is Not a Four Letter Word
The Secret Lives of Sisters


11 & 12. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows & Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, JK Rowling
Yes, I read them in that order. :o) In preparation for the movie that came out last month, I watched all seven DVDs over the course of a couple weeks. Of course I LOVE Harry Potter. I used to re-read the books leading up to a new film every time it came out. Now that is too much, so I just watched all the movies. But after I saw DH Part 2, I left feeling so sad that it was over. So I started reading the book. Then when that was done I was sad it was over. So I read book 6. That's enough for now, but I may go back to see the film again (for a third time...)

13. The Help, Kathryn Stockett
Yes, yes, yes. Go read this book. It is horrible, funny, sad, warm hearted and just plain good. I felt a teensy bit disappointed at the end that there was all this "What's going to happen??" build-up that never really amounts to anything. But that's okay because the book as a whole is so good. Can't wait to see the film adaptation, although we don't get it here in the UK until October. Boo.

14. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
Wow. This biography is amazing, to say the least. I learned so much from reading it and I am still thinking about it all, days after finishing. I got a little lost with some of the deep science stuff, but it is still fascinating. Henrietta Lacks was a black woman in Baltimore who died of cervical cancer. Her doctors took samples of her tumor and cultured them in a lab, which they were able to grow indefinitely and do research. "HeLa" cells are still cultured today, and they have played a vital role in the research for cancer and AIDS treatments, the polio vaccine, and so many other scientific achievements I can't even think. My mind is still spinning from all of it.

So. Those are the books that are on my book shelf so far since we moved. Next is One Day by David Nicholls, mainly because I saw the trailer for the new Anne Hathaway movie and it looks decent. Of course whenever I see a movie trailer that says based on the novel...I ALWAYS have to read the book first.

What are you reading? I need to take your recommendations rather than buying books with cute covers that don't make me think. :o)

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