This month was a pretty good month compared to my last two months where I really started to fall behind with my reading challenge. I read 4 books this month, which puts my total books read this year at 40! I have 12 more books to read by the end of the year to reach my goal of 52 books. I am 2 books behind schedule, but I’m pretty confident I can make that up!
Here are my three favorites for this month:
The Princess Bride by William Goldman – 4/5 stars
The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies. It is one of those classic, timeless movies you can watch over and over again without getting tired of. So I was really excited to read this book and I had pretty high expectations going in. And I wasn’t disappointed!
The Princess Bride is one of the funniest, most satirical and witty books I’ve read in a long time. The plot itself just keeps getting better and better – I mean we are talking about a story that has the most beautiful woman ever, the best swordsman in the world, a giant, the Dread Pirate Roberts, true love, an Albino zoo keeper, a prince plotting the murder of his wife and abetting the start of a war – it just never ends! Full of adventure and romance and everything in between, this book has it all.
The only reason I didn’t mark this a full five stars is because of the narration. Goldman includes a fictitious abridgment in the novel where he pretends that he is not the original author and is abridging the book based upon a fictitious author. It gets a bit confusing when he then makes up a fictitious father who read this story to him as a son and then a fictitious story about the process of writing the story – it’s all a bit much. This weird narration didn’t add anything to the story for me – in fact it detracted from it because he would interrupt the plot to flesh out his (fictitious) reactions to what was going on when he was a kid and his (fictitious) father’s response. Or he would summarize what the (fictitious) original author wrote. I just ended up skipping most of these abridgments and kept reading the actual story.
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee – 3/5 stars
I hadn’t heard a lot of positive remarks about Go Set a Watchman, but I wanted to read it all the same because I loved To Kill a Mockingbird.
The plot itself was pretty much nonexistent, and rather hard to believe – not in the way that you watch a movie and the actions are so ridiculous they are unbelievable, but because you know the characters and the decisions and actions that they make don’t make sense. The characters that did return from To Kill a Mockingbird were surprisingly few, surprisingly shallow, and lacked real depth.
The parts that I enjoyed most of Go Set a Watchman were flashbacks that Scout had of her childhood. These little anecdotes were more reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, but while they were fun and sometimes humorous to read about, they did nothing to build the plot. They were simply wandering thoughts that were completely unrelated to anything that was going on.
The actual climax of the book was so disappointing and read like a bad Fan Fiction; Scout and Atticus have a fight and then they make up and The End. Period. End of Story.
My advice is to read Go Set a Watchman as if it were a standalone novel and not as a sequel to one of the best books written in this century, because if you go in with that notion in your head, you will be vastly disappointed. So I’m being generous with three stars and pretending that no, this is indeed not a sequel, and is just a weird take on the times of the disgruntled South.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – 4/5 stars
You may remember my reviews of Gaiman’s other books which I’ve really enjoyed, so I was excited for this book. I’m not sure what I was expecting – maybe something lighter and more along the lines of Stardust, but this book had a much darker tone to it. These more sinister novels normally don’t interest me, but Gaiman has such a way of writing that pulls me right in.
Neverwhere tells the story of an average man living in London, who stumbles across an injured girl named Door. The decision to help her sucks him into her world, called the Underground, where those from Above don’t acknowledge or even notice those from Below. Baffled and confused, Richard quickly realizes that his life has been irrevocably changed and seeks out Door to help him return to his old life.
This book was a long read for me, but I still really enjoyed it. This was one of those books that you slowly savor and let the story sink in, piece by little piece. Neverwhere, despite being a darker story, still had its dry humor and a beautiful array of characters. I love a good adventure story and this took an interesting twist to my normal read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Have you read any good books lateley? Happy reading, friends!