Saturday, April 30, 2016

First Quarter Reading

Oh my poor, neglected blog! I am going to get caught up one of these days. If only life would just slow down for half a second...

Now that April is almost over, here are the books I read in January, February, and March.

1. The Martian by Andy Weir - Mark Watney gets stuck on Mars after his crew is forced to abort their mission and leave him behind. (They think he's dead, but surprise, he's not!) So he begins an insane struggle to stay alive until the next scheduled Mars landing in 4 years. What I loved most about this book was that it had a lot of science in it, but it was explained in a way that I could actually understand and I wasn't left scratching my head/feeling like an idiot. I enjoyed every minute of it (and also loved the movie based on it)!

2. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford - At the height of WWII, Henry and Keiko become best friends united by their love for jazz music and America (despite the fact that Henry is Chinese and Keiko is Japanese). They are separated as the Japanese are sent to internment camps. 40 years later Henry comes across a crowd gathered at the Panama Hotel and watches as the recently-discovered belongings of Japanese families are brought out of the basement and is taken back to his time with Keiko. I apparently wasn't paying attention when we learned about the internment camps in high school (if we learned about them) because this was the first I remember hearing about them. As such, reading this book was quite an eye-opening experience for me. It was kind of a sad story, but I loved how everything comes together in the end.

3. The Lake House by Kate Morton - Alice is a teenager in the 1930s. She lives an enchanted life with her family in a gorgeous lake house until on the night of the family's annual summer party, her brother Theo (11 months) goes missing. 70 years later, Sadie is a detective on a (forced) leave of absence from her job. While visiting her grandfather, Sadie comes across the lake house and learns of the unsolved mysterious disappearance of Theo. She begins digging into the case and finds that Alice is still alive. It took me some time at the beginning to figure out who everyone was (since it jumps around a lot between the past and present and the narrator changes frequently), but it was well worth the effort. I've heard some complaints that all the loose ends get tied up a little too neatly, but that didn't really bother me. It was hard to put down and kept me guessing until the very end which is a good quality in a book!

4. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher - Clay receives a mysterious package containing cassette tapes. When he starts listening to the tapes he discovers they tell the story of Hannah Baker, a classmate who recently committed suicide. The tapes give Hannah's reasons why she did what she did and names the people who contributed to her decision to end her life. The book interweaves Hannah's narration on the tapes with Clay's thoughts and memories as he listens to the tapes. I read this for book club and I wasn't sure I would like it based on the subject, but was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It made me think about how our actions - big or small - can have a large impact on those around us.

5, 6. A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons, How to Ride a Dragon's Storm by Cressida Cowell - Corbyn and I made it through two more fun dragon books this quarter. They continue to be something fun we can share together and I think we both look forward to reading our "dragon book" each night.

7. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein - The town library was torn down 12 years ago and has just been rebuilt by famous game developer, Luigi Lemoncello. For the grand opening, 12 (12 year old) kids get to have a sleepover at the library. The sleepover turns out to be a giant game to find the secret escape route. I decided to read this book because it was one of the books Janssen was reading and I could get it without a wait on Overdrive. I thought it was fine, but a little cheesy at times (written for 3rd to 6th graders) and not really my favorite book. Turns out Janssen felt pretty much exactly the same way.


Megan Goodrich said...

Oooh, I love Kate Morton books so I will have to read The Lake House next. I read both The Secret Keeper and The Forgotten Garden and they were both excellent.