The Awakening (#18/50)

This is a short book so, naturally, I thought it would be a quick, easy read.

Nope.

The word choice and style of speaking make it deceptively difficult. It seems to be a character study which, for me, is always harder to follow. But the intrigue of delving into our main character’s personality made up for the lack of entertainment and escapism you might find in a more traditional plot-based novel.

(CW: The main people in this book are wealthy, white, and from the Old South. Be aware that while they never use the n-word, they use some…less-than-respectful names for racial minorities.)

Title – The Awakening

Author – Kate Chopin

Page count – 116

As far as a description goes, I’ll let the back of the book speak for itself: “First published in 1899, this novel shocked readers with its open sensuality and uninhibited treatment of marital infidelity…It tells the story of a New Orleans wife [named Edna Pontellier] who attempts to find love outside a stifling marriage.” You can definitely see some of Chopin’s own experiences come out in her writing, namely her marriage into a wealthy Louisiana family and her self-sufficiency after her husband’s death. Continue reading “The Awakening (#18/50)”

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The Omnivore’s Dilemma (#17/50)

As the title suggests, the main aim of this book is to take a look at the so-called “Omnivore’s Dilemma.” A koala that eats only eucalyptus leaves, or a bee that strictly looks for nectar, doesn’t have any decision to make when it’s time for dinner. When an animal is an omnivore – like humans are – it faces a dilemma every time it eats. We face both a blessing of options and a curse of choices. The book gets very philosophical, and I swear this isn’t a cover for trying to convince you all to become vegetarians, but it is a good book if you’re interested in looking at the true costs of what you eat – costs that go beyond the number on a grocery store label.

Title – The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Author – Michael Pollan

Page count – 411

This book is divided into three parts. Our first stop is the cornfields of Iowa (!!) and the “Industrial” Food Complex to which corn has become both a catalyst and a dependent. Continue reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma (#17/50)”

A Gathering of Finches (#16/50)

When people find out I love to read, they often ask me, “What’s your favorite type of book?” There aren’t many genres I actively dislike, although I favor some over others. If I had to pick just one genre of book to read for the rest of my life, it would be historical fiction – stories based in fact, then embellished to either fill in the gaps or make the retelling a little more interesting.

Title – A Gathering of Finches

Author – Jane Kirkpatrick

Page count – 381

This book tells the story of Cassie Hendrick Stearns Simpson, who grew up on the East Coast then makes the journey out West to the still-developing wilderness of coastal Oregon. It’s told mostly from Cassie’s perspective, but toward the end other characters’ thoughts interject – a style I usually dislike but which was done effectively here.

The title of this book comes from the meaning of the word “charming.” It can refer to Continue reading “A Gathering of Finches (#16/50)”

The Deathly Hallows (#15/50)

I remember when I first bought this book. We were driving down to Lake of the Ozarks during summer vacation. It was early in the morning the day this book was released so my sister and I made our parents stop at Walmart so we could each buy a copy. I read that thing the entire way there and into the night, and I was done before the end of the next day. It’s not my favorite book in the series, but I appreciate it in a different way because it is the final installment of a truly magical literary journey. No matter how long it’s been, reading this series again feels like returning home. (After all this time? …Always.)

Title – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Author – J.K. Rowling

Page count – 759

**Minor spoilers for the plot (and if you haven’t read previous books)** Continue reading “The Deathly Hallows (#15/50)”

No god but God (#14/50)

Lesson one: Colonization is never a good idea.

Lesson two: Money and power concentrated in the hands of a few usually results in greed, corruption, and violent attempts to maintain control.

Title – No god but God: The origins, evolution, and future of Islam

Author – Reza Aslan

Page count – 292

Considering (*sigh* yet again) our current political climate, I would highly recommend this book. It was dense, yes, but as easy-to-understand as a history book can be. Aslan lays out clear, relatively objective commentary on how the religion of Islam came to be and how it has evolved throughout history alongside its cultural and political companions. Continue reading “No god but God (#14/50)”

The Half-Blood Prince (#13/50)

We’re almost to the end! I don’t think some (esp. older) people truly understand how Harry Potter was so defining for my generation. The books came out while we were the same age as the characters so we basically grew up with them. I realize I can re-read the books, but it somehow always feels so final as I approach the end of the series.

Title – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Author – J.K. Rowling

Page count – 652

**Spoilers if you haven’t read the previous books (which, at this point, should be none of you. I mean, really.)** Continue reading “The Half-Blood Prince (#13/50)”

The Order of the Phoenix (#12/50)

I forgot how much I like this installment in the series. The Goblet of Fire has always been my go-to answer for “which is your favorite Harry Potter book?” But after reading them in quick succession…now I’m not so sure. I forgot how sarcastic book-Harry gets (explaining to Uncle Vernon why he’s been watching the Muggle news: “Well, it changes every day, you see.”), and how there’s SO MUCH backstory with Aunt Petunia and Neville that’s completely skipped over in the movies (not to mention the barely-touched-upon Grimmauld Place, O.W.L.s, Quidditch, and Fred & George’s joke shop). Plus all the bits of foreshadowing that seemed insignificant but when you re-read are like WHAT??? HOW DID I MISS THAT?

Title – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Author – J.K. Rowling

Page count – 870 (I would say “oh, it’s a quick read,” but it really is a MASSIVE book. Like, the kind you set under a small child as a booster seat.)

**As usual, spoilers ahead. You have been warned.** Continue reading “The Order of the Phoenix (#12/50)”