Tuesday, September 29, 2015
What I Read: September
September was a decent reading month. I know I'm doing this post a few days early, but I'm pretty sure that I won't finish the book I'm currently reading before October 1st. :) I loved about half of what I read this month and the other half was a bit...eh. As always, click on the title to read my full review.
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, by Liesl Shurtliff. For some reason, I always go into middle grade books with this hope that they'll be charming and special, but unfortunately a lot of them end up being rather forgettable. Which was the case with this book. It sounded so promising...Rumpelstiltskin's backstory! But it was a bit slow and the resolution about his name felt forced. The best parts were all of the mentions of spinning and the illustration of a spinning wheel at the beginning. :)
How Green Was My Valley, by Richard Llewellyn. Reading this book was such an unusual experience. I literally couldn't rush through it. Not that I was trying to fly through it, but it took me two and a half weeks to read it and I honestly don't think I could have done it any quicker. This book forces you to read it slowly. After I got used to the Welsh dialect and finally straightened out who was who (there are a lot of brothers!), I absolutely adored this book. The writing was beautiful and I felt like I was there in the village, and the struggles of the family felt so real. I liked the second half a bit less...Huw was less likable after he grew up and things took a darker turn for a lot of the members of the family. But this is one of those books that really sticks with you.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson. This one is a new favorite. It was so creepy and disturbing (a perfect fall or Halloween read!), but I couldn't put it down. The characters are unhinged and crazy, but I felt so much sympathy for them. Despite all of the sinister weirdness going on, the writing is so simple and matter-of-fact. The first half or so reminded me of the Addams Family...humorous but dark. The scenes with the villagers and Charles made me so angry! I had to give this book five stars because it's been a long time since a story sucked me in like that. Highly recommended, though it's definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Now I really want to read more from Shirley Jackson. (I read her famous short story The Lottery online earlier this year, but that's it.)
Going Vintage, by Lindsey Leavitt. After reading two rather intense books that I ended up loving, I picked this one up because I wanted something light and fluffy. Well...it might have been a bit too fluffy, or maybe I just shouldn't have read it right after two such amazing books. This one was cute, but a bit disappointing. I did like Oliver, but I felt like I just breezed through this one without connecting to the story or the characters.
The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket. I loved The Series of Unfortunate Events when I was a kid (and a teenager, since I was 15 when the last book came out). I've been wanting to reread them for a long time, so I think I'll read one or two of them each month until I'm finished. It's probably been 10 years since I last read this book, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed it just as much now as I did then! It was an incredibly fast read. I love the characters and the illustrations and the writing style (I didn't find the "defining" aspect of it to be as annoying as I expected). This is my favorite type of children's literature: quirky and slightly creepy and sinister while still being hilarious. (That's probably why I'm so often disappointed with middle grade books trying to be like SOUE...they just don't measure up!)