The Runaway Jury (John Grisham)

Hello, friends 🙂 It’s been awhile! With less than two months to go in the year, I’ve been taking stock of how I’m doing on this year’s Book Challenge. This is the 28th book, and I challenged myself to read 36 (which, according to Goodreads, means I’m two books behind schedule). That’s ok. I originally only put myself down to read 24 (two per month), then changed it to a “stretch” goal of three per month, so I’m just happy I’ve gotten this many done. My excuse is that school has been busy this semester! In fact, I probably would have gotten through the latest one faster if it hadn’t been for school stuff. It was much more interesting than the time it took me to read it would suggest.

Title – The Runaway Jury

Author – John Grisham

Page count – 550

Rating – Buy/Borrow/Bypass + Goodreads 3/5 (Liked It)

I’ve never been especially drawn to the legal thriller/crime fiction genre. Honestly, the only reason I read this one is that I’m trying to whittle down a stack of books that I currently own but don’t want to take with me the next time I move (approximately six months from now). This is a pretty thick book so getting it out of the pile made a decent dent. But it was actually interesting! I was pleasantly surprised at how it held my attention. Continue reading “The Runaway Jury (John Grisham)”

Advertisements

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred D. Taylor)

This is a very good book. And because it’s written with a young audience in mind, the writing is relatively easy to read. But if you’re looking for a story with a happy ending, this one’s not it. This is not a story where justice is done and people get what it would seem they deserve. It is a story of hope and loss and determination and family.

Title (Year Published) – Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976)

Author – Mildred D. Taylor

Page count – 276

Rating – Buy/Borrow/Bypass + Goodreads 5/5

(CW: the n-word, racist violence)

Cassie Logan and her family – mother, father, and three brothers – live on a farm in Mississippi in 1933. The Logan family is luckier than most in that they own the land on which they farm, and as the back of the book says: “It is the land that gives the Logans their courage and pride – no matter how much others may degrade them, the Logans possess something that no one can take away. This story focuses on the children’s experiences – attending a segregated, underfunded school; fearing attacks by the Klan; and leaning on the love and joy of their family. Continue reading “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred D. Taylor)”

The Husband’s Secret (Liane Moriarty)

I originally got this from my library before Valentine’s Day as part of their “Blind Date with a Book” project where you pick out a book that’s been covered with wrapping paper and has a cryptic description of what it’s about. I got overwhelmed with some schoolwork around that time, plus checked out too many books at once (even with using renewals to give me more time), so I never got to read it. This year, before classes became too busy, I decided to give it another go.

Title/Year Published – The Husband’s Secret (2013)*

Author – Liane Moriarty

Page count – 394

Rating – Buy/Borrow/Bypass + Goodreads 3/5 (Liked It)

*I’m going to start including the year the book was published because I think it’s important (for some more than others) to put a story in context. If there’s info in this section you don’t find helpful or something else you think I should add, please let me know 🙂 Continue reading “The Husband’s Secret (Liane Moriarty)”

A Million Little Pieces (James Frey)

It’s hard to place this book in one particular category. Is it a memoir? Is it fiction or non-fiction? It’s marketed as a true account of Frey’s time in rehab, but there is some dispute about whether all events are completely accurate. While I do think there should be some sort of disclaimer about “artistic liberties” or exaggeration, I also think that anyone who reads a memoir and believes that everything is 100% real with no stretching the truth to make the story more interesting from a marketing perspective…is fooling themselves.

I also believe that stories don’t have to be true to teach us something. Fiction has just as much power to take us to another world and empathize with people/characters whose experiences differ from our own. And that’s what this book did for me.

Title – A Million Little Pieces

Author – James Frey

Page count – 430

Rating – Borrow (I put this at a 4/5 “Really Liked It” on Goodreads, and I would recommend it…but I don’t know that I can read it again.)

(Big ol’ CW/TW on this story for: addiction, alcohol, drugs, rape, abuse) Continue reading “A Million Little Pieces (James Frey)”

Ella Minnow Pea (Mark Dunn)

This is one of the best fiction books I’ve read in a while. It was just so clever, and I could not put it down!

Title – Ella Minnow Pea: a novel in letters

Author – Mark Dunn

Page count – 208

Rating – Buy. I will definitely read this again and anticipate recommending it frequently.

Ella Minnow Pea is a teenager living on the fictional island of Nollop, just off the coast of South Carolina. The island is named after Nevin Nollop, the (again, fictional) creator of the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” (This sentence is a pangram, meaning it uses all the letters of the alphabet at least once.) This sentence is spelled out in tiles on a statue of Nollop, but as the tiles suddenly start to fall off, the islanders are forbidden to write or speak using those fallen letters. The book is written as a series of letters/notes between the inhabitants of the island, including Ella. As more letters fall from the statue, the letter-writers have to get creative with how they communicate to avoid using the forbidden letters.

A quick thought: Sometimes I find the use of long or complex words in a story as the author just wanting to sound smart. I didn’t get that vibe here. The characters simply seem to appreciate selecting exactly the right word to express what they mean. And it helps to highlight the change in language as certain letters become forbidden.

**Some SPOILERS ahead for minor plot points, but I won’t give away anything major or the ending. You should experience that fresh for yourself** Continue reading “Ella Minnow Pea (Mark Dunn)”

Silas Marner (George Eliot)

This was a pleasant little book. It’s not one that makes me excited to write a lengthy review or wish I could delve into writing an academic essay. But it was a lovely use of my time, and I think I want to read it again at some point. It reminds me of Pride & Prejudice in that way – I wasn’t too excited for that one either when I first read it, but additional readings have led me to appreciate it more.

Title – Silas Marner

Author – George Eliot

Page count – 185

Rating – Borrow

Silas Marner is a spinner and weaver. As someone who came from another town and – except for his yarn and linen deliveries – keeps mostly to himself, he is regarded by the country folk as a “miserly recluse.” Continue reading “Silas Marner (George Eliot)”

Waiting to Exhale (Terry McMillan)

This is what I’d consider a good “beach read.” I tried not to analyze it too much because I was so drained from my last book – which was interesting but, let’s be honest, a bit pretentious. This one was an easy, fun read about female friendships, love, sex, and how to navigate (in both healthy and not-so-healthy ways) the frustrations of romance and men. Keep in mind that it was published in 1992 so there are some truly funny dated pop culture and technology references.

Title – Waiting to Exhale

Author – Terry McMillan

Page count – 409

Rating – Borrow

This book weaves together the stories of four black women in their mid-thirties living in Phoenix: Continue reading “Waiting to Exhale (Terry McMillan)”