Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rocking the To Be Read Shelves in September

The month of September was a very good reading month for me. I read 10 books during the month. It helped that I got a horrible cold that has hung on for weeks and made me not want to leave the house.

I'm also pretty excited that I managed to read off my overflowing To Be Read Shelves.

I bought a copy of Sarah Water's The Little Stranger for myself for my Mother's Day gift. (I know my husband and kids love me and I'm never disappointed when I just get my own gift. Honestly, I'd have bought the book anyway but I just excused it as my Mother's Day gift.) Anyway, as far as my To Be Read Shelves (aka the Black Hole for Books) this book has been on my shelf for a relatively short time.

The Little Stranger is suspenseful and atmospheric. Though it takes place after World War II, the crumbling old manor lends the house at Gothic feeling. Dr. Farraday is called out on a house call to administer to the sick maid but become embroiled in the strange and mysterious happenings at Hundreds Hall as he befriends the family trying to maintain their estate.

I love a good ghost story and I enjoyed The Little Stranger. It's frightening and violent yet lacking gruesome descriptions. It's more of a psychological thrilled a long the lines of Jane Eyre or Rebecca. It's nice and spooky for this time of  year.

I figured out that I can read while on the elliptical if I read an ebook on my phone. My phone is the perfect size to fit in my hand comfortably so that I can still exercise. I get so darn bored on the elliptical so being able to read has definitely encouraged me to work out more. I would have read more ebooks if the cold hadn't curtailed my work out plans.

Anyway, I read Labor Day by Joyce Maynard as an ebook. I had heard good things. It was made into a movie and I rather enjoyed Maynard's After Her. Henry and his mother become the hostages of a man escaping from the hospital of the prison. Over the Labor Day weekend, Frank hides out at their home.

A quick and easy read, I was initially taken in by the characters. The plot was interesting and I was intrigued to read of the budding relationship between Frank and Henry's mother. His mother was a unique character, lost in grief and strangely brought to the surface by her kidnapper. I had expected more action and drama.

Ultimately, this is a coming-of-age story and Henry's preoccupation with sex (normal for his age) is often overwhelming and at the same time integral to the way he observes and interprets the relationship between his mother and Frank. The emotions that Henry feels during this period of his life are confusing and contrasting. Maynard excels at creating the conflicted young boy.

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta was the choice of the month for my local book club. Admittedly, it's pretty different from most of the books we read at book club--an interesting change of pace. The Leftovers follows the people who are still left on earth after many people simply disappear in a  Rapture-like experience. 

While I was taken with the writing and was intrigued by the story, overall The Leftovers was dark and cynical. We're going to discuss it next week and I'm curious to see what others thought about it.

Serena by Ron Rash has been on my radar since it was published in 2008 but I didn't get a copy for myself until a few years ago at the Salt Lake City Library Used Book Sale. Ever since then, it is the book I look at longingly whenever I'm in the middle of another book that I'm not loving.

Serena has all the elements that appeal to me. I am a sucker for stories that take place in Appalachia and during the Depression. The characters are strong. It's violent, dark and tragic. (As I'm writing this, I can't explain why these stories appeal, but they do. They really do.)

Serena and her new husband Mr. Pemberton are the owners of a logging operation in North Carolina. They are ruthless and powerful and greedy. Yet, they employ many men who are desperate for a wage. Serena did not disappoint. I was enthralled and disgusted. I've been wanting so much to talk about it with Rand but I don't want to spoil the ending. While he probably won't have a chance to read the book, the movie version is releasing soon. I am very anxious to see it. I love the casting already so I really hope they do the book justice with the movie.

I am still coughing and not in the mood to get out much, so maybe October will be a great reading month too. I'm already planning a spooky stack of books that hopefully I'll get to this month.

What are you planning to read in October?

1 comment:

Julie said...

I read The Leftovers when it was released and enjoyed it. Knowing Tom Perotta goes for the darker aspects, I wasn't surprised by that factor.