Book Challenge: Part Two, First Half
(I like how my titles have no consistent formatting for this particular blog series.)
A Book That Was Published This Year
- Judah’s Wife: A Novel of the Maccabees (The Silent Years) by Angela Hunt
I’ve read a lot by Angela Hunt and have gotten into some of her Biblical fiction, though that’s not usually a genre I particularly enjoy. This is the start of her new series about characters in the Maccabees, something that I know absolutely nothing about, so I can’t say anything on the accuracy of her fiction. (Accuracy of her fiction… that feels like it’s an oxymoron?) It was fairly interesting, but not great. It definitely had some good elements to the storytelling, but it dragged a bit too much for me to really get into it. I’ll keep up with the rest of the series, but not very adamantly.
A Book You Can Read In A Day
- Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat by Gary Paulsen
The Time Hackers by Gary Paulsen
The Schernoff Discoveries by Gary Paulsen
I randomly picked an author who had multiple short-enough books that looked interesting. The only one I read in a day was the first, but I’ll give a brief review of each one!
- SIX KIDS: A very short book about quirky kids who get caught in a bathroom during a false alarm storm; a new kid, the narrating kid, and 4 others who don’t normally hang out. They have conversations, ask questions, bond and eventually leave the bathroom as friends. It’s silly but quite fun, and it has a play version of itself in the back of the book!
- TIME HACKERS: This had a more complex plot and right now I can’t remember most of it, but the world set-up is interesting and it’s also a good and entertaining read. I think I was a little confused by the ending but not in a bad way, just in a “time is confusing” kind of way. It had a satisfactory last few pages.
- SCHERNOFF: The longest of the 3, this follows two awkward teenage boys from years ago and their wonky adventures together because of the crazy one’s imagination. This was one of those where you know every chapter is going to end ridiculously and they’ll probably “learn a lesson” about things not to do, but they’ll have fun along the way. This one had a slightly more mature tone to it, as if the author was describing his real life with a slightly adult perspective on it. It was pretty good.
A Book You’ve Been Meaning To Read
- Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
I loved The Reckoners Series by the same author and have been meaning to read this because all my non-reading brothers love it. Book 1 was definitely enjoyable. It has a great premise with fun characters, even though there were a few that I don’t care about yet. But Alcatraz is a great narrator, like a less sophisticated, more sarcastic Lemony Snicket. (I was going to say “more cynical”, but I don’t think that’s possible.) And the story definitely has potential to have a lot of growth as it goes on. It was a great opening book and I look forward to finishing the rest of it.
A Book Recommendation From A Librarian
- Bunnicula by James Howe
Recommended by Beth, this is a kids book that was also one I read in a day. I didn’t know how dark it was going to be (the cover pictures are kind of scary!) but it was just the right amount of “almost-darkness” followed by a good wrap-up that made it just right for me. It’s silly, clever and the narrating dog is quite fun. I would recommend this to several of my siblings.
A Book I Should Have Read In School
- Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
I vaguely remembered visuals from the movie as a child but I didn’t really remember the plot. This turned out to be an easy read with a good main character and a touching story. I’m usually not that into animal stories, but the author did a good job of getting into the head and heart of the kid and showing just how much the dogs meant to him. The ending was, of course, quite sad; I was a little thrown by the way the parents comforted him at the end of the book. It felt a bit insensitive at first, but I think that’s because I’ve had so much discussion with people around me about how to handle people who are grieving, and for this kid it’s possible that what he DID need was a reason to believe why what happened happened, rather than thinking that it happened for no reason. So I guess it worked out.
A Book Recommendation By A Family Member/Friend
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
This was recommended by my friend Jami. As soon as I started this, I knew it was going to take some work to get into it because the dialogue was written out SO slangy that it was really hard to follow. I can hear and understand this kind of talk all right when it’s in a movie, but seeing it on paper is just a harder process. But I eventually got used to it, and for the most part I enjoyed the rest of the story. It was set in the 30’s about a young woman named Janie who is pushed into marrying for convenience and her regrets and mistakes and eventual happy endings that follow as she starts making decisions for herself. It’s set in the black community so there’s not a lot of content about division between different races (though there are one or two scenes about it), but it has some strong examples of some prejudiced mindsets amongst the community itself and the division between upper and lower classes. It was a very interesting read, although there was a scene that caused an angry rant on Facebook from me about how to treat women. I don’t think I’d read it again because it was so difficult to get through, but I’m glad I have read it once.
By the way, here’s an example of the slang writing: “All day Ah’m pickin’ beans. All night Ah’m pickin’ mah box and rollin’ dice. Between de beans and de dice Ah can’t lose. Ah’m gone right now tuh pick me uh job uh work wid de best man on de muck. Before de rest of ’em gits heah. You can always git jobs round heah in de season, but not wid de right folks.”
A Book That Was Published Before I Was Born
- Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I had not realized that this was written back in 1979, so I was excited to do a lighter book for this category. And for a non-romantic adult book, you don’t get a whole lot lighter than this! Unless everything in here has some deep, double meaning, this was pretty much a Wayside School-style story of just silly jokes, fun sci-fi-ish plot without any real conclusion (did he plan on making the sequels originally?) and him just having fun making stuff up. I laughed out loud a few times. It felt fun but pointless; not in an “why would anyone ever waste their life on this?” way (though some may still ask that question) but more of an “I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mean anything dramatic in there, I think he’s just enjoying whatever’s coming off of his typewriter” way. Anyway, I might have to go find the sequels because while I’m not exactly falling off the edge of my seat to find out what happens next, it was definitely enjoyable and I am curious.