December was a relatively slow month (though not as slow as certain months up ahead are sure to be) and not all that exciting either. Here’s what I read last month:
Raise the Titanic, by Clive Cussler
I’d call this the best of the Dirk Pitt novels I’ve read. It wasn’t quite as bloated as the later ones, it wasn’t quite as ridiculous as his first one… it was just right. Nothing amazing, but entertaining. And the Titanic just has that particular mystery about it that it’s hard not to enjoy this story (even if parts of it – specifically, the idea that it was lying on the ocean floor still intact – have since been disproven). I still doubt I’ll pick up any more from this author, but I am glad I read this one.
The Firm, by John Grisham
This is my second John Grisham novel, and I liked it even more than my first. It’s not so much a legal thriller (which are very hit or miss for me) as it is a conspiracy thriller that happens to center around a very Stepford-esque law firm. It sucked me in early and, despite getting a bit heavy on the details in spots, kept my attention through to the end.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
I know. I know! One of my definitely-want-to-read-this books and I DNF it? Well, I got halfway through and I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s not bad, but I wasn’t as invested in these characters or their stories… despite spending more time with them than those in And the Mountains Echoed. Ordinarily it wouldn’t have been a DNF, but I feel like I can be pickier right now than I usually am.
NOS4A2, by Joe Hill
Too much hype? Too big in scope? I’m not sure, but I was disappointed by this one… not because it wasn’t a good book, because it was, but so many people have said this was their favorite of all Joe Hill’s novels, and for me it was just the opposite. I did like it, but I liked both Heart-Shaped Box and Horns better. I’m not even sure what my expectations were for NOS4A2, but I still feel like they weren’t quite met.
The Escape, by David Baldacci
Puller’s family has always intrigued me, and the story in this book (not this exact story, necessarily, but one like it) is something I’ve been waiting for since the start of the series. Unfortunately, because it was so anticipated, it inevitably wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. It was entertaining, and it really picks up toward the end, but most of the book felt like just another formulaic thriller… not a bad way to pass the time, but nothing special either.
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind, by Zack Whedon & Georges Jeanty
I wanted to like this more than I did, but given that comics aren’t my format of choice, I shouldn’t be surprised that this one fell short for me. I haven’t read any of the other Serenity comics, and though I enjoyed the series and the movie, I don’t consider myself to be a huge fan… maybe if I was, I would have gotten more out of this. As it is, I could take it or leave it.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
This novella has a lot of interesting ideas – obviously, since it’s been the inspiration for countless stories since – but the story itself is rather lacking. I tried going into it with an open mind, wanting to appreciate it for what it is rather than wishing it were something it’s not. I am glad to have read it, but it wasn’t all that entertaining or enjoyable to me… and I don’t know if that’s the Victorian style, or the story itself, or some combination of the two.
The Stand, by Stephen King
(originally read August 2010)
I originally read the first edition… and at the time, I couldn’t imagine reading the Complete and Uncut Edition. But now, having more King under my belt, I thought it finally time to give it a chance. I could appreciate the story more this time around, but I stand by my 3-star rating. I like it… enough to be glad I read it, and even enough to want to read it again someday. But not enough to give it that extra star.
What was your favorite book last month?