Books I Done Read: September/October 2014

9:40 PM

Before a new season of Top Chef  and Housewives of Somewhere I Can't Afford suck me in I decided to review the books I've read in the past few weeks. These aren't new books so you may have read them, too. (If so, let's talk!)

The only one I disliked was, of course, the only one I purchased. Since I had invested money in it I felt like I had to finish it. If I had checked it out from the library like all the others, I would have quit in the middle and moved on to the next book guilt-free. (I wonder how many divorced couples wish they could have checked their spouse out from the library instead of ...nevermind.)

Moving on to the reviews:

The Returned by Jason Mott

The ABC television series Resurrection is based on this book. I have never watched the show, but decided to read the book to see if I wanted to catch up on Season 1 and start Season 2. After reading it I've decided not to. I really wanted to like this book. It was an enjoyable enough read, but all the questions I pondered while reading were never answered. I hate when that happens! I ended the book just as confused as when I started. It earned 3.7 out of 5 stars on its Amazon Review.

A similar book was The Leftovers by Tom Perrot. This was also made into a television series and aired on HBO. While The Returned was about dead people coming back, The Leftovers was about live people suddenly disappearing. It was an entertaining read, but it also never explained what the heck was going on. It only got 3.1 out of 5 stars on its Amazon Review. I guess I'm not the only one who needs things to be spelled out for them.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

What sets this book apart is that the narrator of the story is Death. That was a totally unexpected perspective. It is a fictional account set in Nazi Germany during a time when books were censored rather than treasured. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but it was written for a young audience so I'm sure this was a factor. It just didn't touch me as deeply as I was expecting. Maybe the reviews had me built up a little too much. It got 4.6 stars out of 5 on its Amazon Review.

I had previously read I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust , by Livia Bitton-Jackson, which is also written for young adults. This book deeply touched me and I have never forgotten it. I was expecting The Book Thief to be a similarly moving story, but it fell way short in comparison. I Have Lived a Thousand Years earned 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon. I would have given it a 5.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This was an odd book, but typical Neil Gaiman. I can't say it made it to my "favorites" list, but I couldn't stop reading it because I was so curious how it was going to end. It has been described as an adult fairy tale. I would agree with that. You have good. You have evil. You have a bit of magical creepiness thrown in. It is one of those books that you think about later and want to discuss with someone else. I think everyone reads different meanings into parts of the book which promotes interesting book club discussions. It got 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Amazon Review

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I started reading this book and couldn't stop! Maybe I was needing something lighter, but I found it delightful. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times in this book and was sorry when the book ended. I wish I could unread it so I could read it again. I've heard that they are going to make a movie of this one. I will be first in line to watch it. It got 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon. I would have given it a 5 just because it made me laugh.

Amazon Review

What It Was Like by Peter Seth

I bought this book and still deeply regret the purchase. It is one of those books that starts out giving you the tragic ending and then spends the rest of the book explaining what led up to it. It got 4.8 of 5 stars on Amazon, but I would have agreed with that one person that gave it a 1 and ruined the perfect rating. I personally thought it was predictable and could see as the story unfolded how the author was setting up the train wreck ending that was the beginning of the book. (Did you follow that?)  I wasn't totally accurate in my prediction of how it was going to go down, but honestly I think my version would have been better.
Amazon Review

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

This is a 2011 psychological thriller set in England. It's not a new book, but was new to me. I read a description that it was similar to Gone Girl (but had an ending) so I downloaded it. I couldn't stop reading it. It really is a page turner. Parts of the book are graphic in both language and descriptions so heads up if that is a deal breaker for you. Amazon Reviews gave it a 3.9 out of 5 stars. I would probably have put it at least a 4.5 just because I couldn't put it down.

Note: I described this entire book to MoonPie today on our road trip to get barbecue and told him I thought it would be a really good movie. A few minutes ago I found out they have made one! (Sometimes I think I live under a rock.) The movie will be released on October 31 (two weeks from today) so grab this one up if you want to read it before you see it. Now that I've told MoonPie how it ends, I've ruined it for him. I won't do that to you.

Carry on...

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