Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What I Read: September 2015


September was a mental month for me reading-wise.  A combination of work, family obligations, and complex exhaustion kept me from making as much progress with the piles (and piles) of books that litter my bedroom/ home office.  As a matter of fact, I only completed three books in September: all were novels, two were audio books, and two of them were for a continuing education class I am taking this term.

No bueno, I know.

In case you are interested, here are the three books that I completed in September:


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (audio book) [Rating: 1/5]
If you follow me on social media, you'll know how much I loath this book and how irritated I was that it took me the better part of two months to complete the audio book.  For those of you who are audio book enthusiasts, I feel it is my duty to warn you that this one is nearly eighteen hours in length. One.  Eight.  Even though I listened to this book during my commutes to and from work and while I was working alone in my classroom, this was the book that would not end.

To make matters worse, this book was poorly written and traded on every trite thriller trope imaginable.  I don't mind books that have unreliable narrators or unlikable characters,  but I do mind when the writer assumes I am an imbecile.  What Flynn attempts to pass off as plot twists are both predictable and a betrayal to readers.  Pro Tip for Gillian Flynn: don't piss off your readers by rewarding their investment of time in your book with deux ex machina and a spiteful non-ending.



The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson [Rating: 3/5]
Normally, I wouldn't have read Stevenson, but it was on the syllabus for my literature class.  I didn't expect to like this book based on what I knew of the story from the Abbott and Costello movie: I'm not a huge fan of mysteries or Victorian horror and I didn't think the novel would hold up without Lou's pratfalls.  To my shock and amazement, it did.  If you can get past the anachronistic terminology and verbose Victorian narrative, the novel is a short, engrossing read.  As far as Victorian novels go, this is as easy and accessible as they come.



The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (audio book) [Rating: 3/5]
Again, this was another book that I read as part of my work for the literature class.  I have read The Scarlet Letter a few times over the years and have enjoyed the novel every time.  This was the first time that I read the novel via audio book and I was impressed by the experience.  When you have a dense text that you need to work through quickly, audio books are a great alternative to traditional readings.

Hopefully I will be able to get more reading in by the end of the month.  I have twenty-two books to read by the end of the year to meet my Good Reads goal.  Fingers crossed I will get my reading act together sooner rather than later!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

20 Books of Summer Wrap-Up



Now that the summer is officially, over, I thought it was time (high time) that I look back on my twenty books of summer project and review my progress.  

In the grand scheme of things, I did okay-ish, completing eleven books, more than half of my original goal.  For those keeping track, here were the books that I completed and when I completed them:
  • N.P. by Banana Yoshimoto [Completed in June]
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami  [Completed in July]
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee [Completed in July]
  • Audition by Ryu Murakami [Completed in August]
  • Underground by Haruki Murakami [Completed in August]
  • The Babysitters Club: Mary Ann Saves the Day  by Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier [Completed in July]
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier [Completed in July]
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee [Completed in July]
  • The Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami [Completed in July]
  • Sisters by Raina Telgemeier [Completed in July]
  • Haruki Murakami Gone Girl by Gillian Flyn [Completed in September]
Even though I didn't meet my goal, I would say that eleven books in 3.5 months is impressive; so, I am not disappointed in my progress.  If anything, this project reiterated to me how bad I am at sticking to my TBR: the months have shown me that I am a compulsive reader-- I read when, where, and what I want.  Any attempt I make to force myself to stick to a TBR is futile, really.  So, when it comes down to it, I can read quicker and more enthusiastically when I give myself the time to read whatever I want.  

Therefore, moving forward, I will be less concerned with what I read in a given month as long as I am reading and meet or surpass my goal for the number of books that I want to read in a month.  If I follow this general rule, I should be able to meet my Good Reads goal for 2015.

What did you read over the summer?  Let me know on Twitter @thelexicondev .