January was a great reading month. Bout of Books really helped me get a head start and I just sort of kept that momentum going. Here’s what I read last month:
Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
This was slow to start, as the older classics usually are. However, once the vague reminiscing gave way to the actual story, I got into it a lot more quickly than I would have guessed. I felt like I really understood the main character, experienced her fantasies and disappointments and fears right along with her. It was an enjoyable read, but not a particularly compelling one… up until the twist. After that, I just wanted more.
(read my ITW review here: Rebecca)
SecondWorld, by Jeremy Robinson
I almost put this aside early on, thinking it was similar to others I’d read with nothing making it stand out… but I’m very glad I didn’t. The first few chapters jump around, but once we meet our main character, we stick with him and the story really picks up. This was one of those thrillers that pulled me in and made me feel the urgency. Not groundbreaking, but a great, entertaining read.
(read my full review here: SecondWorld)
The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
This was a cute story. I found Don charming in his own quirky way, and I enjoyed the developing friendship between him and Rosie. I think the biggest thing keeping me from liking it more was the ending… which wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t much of a payoff. Or maybe I just wasn’t emotionally invested enough. Either way, I liked it, but I didn’t love it.
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein
Sorry, I just couldn’t love this one the way that everyone else does. It’s a good book, no doubt about that. And I can’t deny that it’s a great story of friendship. But despite the strong characters and the intense setting, I never really got invested. I wasn’t in danger of DNFing it, but to me it just didn’t live up to the hype. I might have enjoyed it more if I weren’t constantly wondering what I was missing.
Run to Ground, by D.P. Lyle
I got about 20% of the way in before DNFing this one. It’s not terrible, but I just couldn’t get into it. It employs one of my biggest pet peeves – alternating between 1st and 3rd person – on top of which I didn’t really care about the 1st-person character, which always makes reading harder. Events had me curious, but unfortunately, curiosity alone wasn’t enough to win me over.
Lost in a Good Book, by Jasper Fforde
I really enjoyed The Eyre Affair… but I’m thinking maybe it would have been better as a stand-alone. Or maybe it just deserved a stronger sequel. I was excited to return to the world of Thursday Next, but there was so much going on, I wasn’t even sure what the main plot was (or if there even was one). The things I found amusing and charming in the first book I found tedious and annoying in this one. I’m torn on whether I should give the next in the series a chance, or just cut my losses.
The Tenth Circle, by Jon Land
I’m probably at a disadvantage trying to jump into the series without reading the other books; maybe if I were familiar with the recurring characters and their history together, they wouldn’t seem quite so caricaturish. You’ve got the hero and his cliched sidekicks, plus some interchangeable bad guys and one religious fanatic. It was an enjoyable enough read while it lasted, but nothing particularly special about it, and I wouldn’t go out of my way to read more of Blaine McCracken’s adventures.
(read my full review here: The Tenth Circle)
The Omega Project, by Steve Alten
This is more science fiction than thriller, and not at all what I was expecting. It’s quite thought-provoking, which I liked, but unfortunately the plot is sort of scattered. There are a couple false starts, and it was hard to know where exactly we were going. Lots of ideas, some more interesting than others, but it just didn’t come together for me. Not a terrible read, but not one I could really recommend.
The View From the Tower, by Charles Lambert
This is more of a quiet novel than I was expecting, but surprisingly I really enjoyed it. Unlike some other slower books, I was never bored, but instead enjoyed the slow reveal of details, some of which are already known to the characters but not the reader, and some a secret to nearly everyone. Some of the politics were lost on me, but there was enough else going on to keep me interested.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
(originally read January 2011)
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first read this, given all the hype, but I really enjoyed it. Some sections were a bit of a slog, but overall I was hooked. Actually, I seem to be in the minority in that the end – everything after the “big reveal” – was harder to get through than all the introduction. I liked it even better on a re-read.
Lesser Creatures, by Peter Giglio
I enjoyed the different take on a zombie apocalypse that turned out not to be an apocalypse at all. But the closer I got to the end, the more I wondered how it was going to resolve in the pages left… and ultimately, I wasn’t satisfied with the way it did. I think this could have been a great concept for a full-length novel, but as-is it just fell flat for me.
World War Z, by Max Brooks
I fell in love with this book in the introduction, with all that talk about not losing the human factor. Unfortunately, the rest of the book just couldn’t live up to it. I guess I’m more of a traditional narrative kind of girl. Human factor or no, it’s hard to feel connected to a character based on a short anecdote. I guess it’s the same reason I don’t usually read short stories, and this felt too much like a short story collection. I still liked it… but just felt let down because I was hoping to love it.
What was your favorite book last month?