A-Z Update

I’m doing pretty well so far this year, less than 3 months in I’ve already read books with titles starting with 11 of the letters of the alphabet! And considering I have 3 “S” books, and 2 more books that are half-done, I’m pretty pleased with myself.

And yes, I totally count re-reads. Because I may have just finished the Twilight series for the fourth time. If I read it through cover-to-cover this year, it counts!

So I need to update my reviews. I’ve fallen quite far behind. As always, click on the picture of the book to be taken to an Amazon link for it. Here’s a brief glimpse at what I’ve been reading (that I haven’t talked about here before):

Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamists’ Wife

Irene Spencer

I think this is the best book I have read on polygamy in all of my exploring. Irene was raised in the FLDS church and entered into a plural marriage, but her family life was not idyllic. Her story is full of confusion mixed with confidence, and overflowing with heartache. We get a picture of life inside many typical FLDS communities, and an inside view of the strains of sharing a husband with so very many other wives. I cannot put into words how this book touched me, but it paints a picture that pulls at your heart strings in ways you weren’t expecting. This is one of very few books I’ve read that actually brought up some tears while I was reading it. I highly recommend it, whether you are interested in other cultures in general or polygamy specifically, this book is, in my opinion, the best introduction and overview out there, while being a captivating, easy read.

Favorite Wife: Escape from Polygamy

Susan Ray Schmidt

I was drawn to this book, partially by the captivating intro given on Amazon, and partially because it is written by one of Irene’s sister wives. This is another look into the same family as shown in Shattered Dreams, by a wife who came much later to the family. Susan was seen as the favorite wife by the other wives, but she never saw herself that way. Her story is very different than Irene’s, though it depicts many of the same times, and getting to see each of these women through each other’s eyes is fascinating. I did not enjoy this book as much as I did Shattered Dreams, but I did enjoy it and find it a nice counterpoint to Irene’s story.

The Hunger Games Trilogy
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Mockingjay

Suzanne Collins

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Hunger Games trilogy, and have to thank a commenter on my 2010 A-Z Challenge for suggesting it to me! Within minutes of picking up the first book I was totally and completely hooked. [Early spoiler alert. This is revealed early but slowly, if you don’t want to know, skip to the next paragraph] It is set in the future when the country (world?) is divided into 13 districts which all support the one Capitol. To keep the districts in line the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games every year. Each district must send two tributes, adolescent children, to fight to the death in the arena, killing often with their bare hands or whatever rudimentary weapons they can find. The battle takes weeks as the 26 children are whittled down to 1. This year, the main characters’ number comes up. We follow her in her journey through preparation for and participation in the Hunger Games.

The books are not brutal; though they do include violence they are not about violence. When I started the first book I was completely captivated and could not put it down. I posted a status on Facebook to that effect, and my brother warned me, “Each one gets worse.” I do have to agree with him, while the first book is STUNNING, the second and third are each a bit more of a stretch. Partially this is because the characters are so fully developed in the first book (one thing I love) that there isn’t that much more developing to do with them in the future ones. But that being said, I still do not regret reading any of them, and I still enjoyed reading all three. I think the first book could have stood alone, without any follow up, but I still highly recommend the whole trilogy. Because once you read the first you won’t be able to resist seeing what happens to the characters in the future books, as they will have become so much a part of you.

The character development is fantastic, the world building is stunning. You will keep reading, searching for more scraps of information, to see if what you have guessed about the rules of this world could be true, if things really work that way. If you want an enjoyable, though slightly dark, read, I definitely recommend The Hunger Games trilogy.

Sunflowers

Sheramy D. Bundrick

This book was recommended loaned to me by a friend who knows I enjoy reading, and while it’s not my normal fare I definitely enjoyed it! The book tells the story of Vincent van Gogh from the point of view of the prostitute for whom he cut off his ear. There is very little known about this prostitute, here called Rachel, from historical documents, so the author (an art historian) writes a novel answering the question, what if there was a true loving relationship between Vincent and Rachel? She weaves this tale deftly, keeping true to history but adding depth and personality to the players. This book gives you an insight to what may have been, and you will never view van Gogh, or his paintings, the same way again. I have approximately zero interest in art (since I have approximately zero understanding of it), but I really enjoyed this book and it made me want to go see van Gogh’s paintings. I recommend it if you are looking for an enjoyable, light read.

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2 Comments

Filed under Books

2 responses to “A-Z Update

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE The Hunger Games.
    No joke when I say, I ignored my entire family, carried with me everywhere and devoured it in 12 hours.
    The next two were solid and I loved the trilogy as a whole.

    Looking forward to checking out some of your suggestions.

    Hope all else is well with you.

    • I totally ignored my family while I was reading it, too :-) That’s how I could tell the second and third weren’t as good (though still quite good), I was willing to pay attention to them more with each book! ;-)

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