Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July "Twitterature": starting books, finishing books, and everything in between


Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly Twitterature post in which we share brief reviews of what we've been reading.

This month's highlights:
- I read half a novel and couldn't finish it before the library hold expired.  But I've got it back at last!
- I read three chapters of a novel by one of my favourite authors, quit, and returned it to the library. (Does that make me a bad person?)
- I read a huge, unnerving nonfiction book.
- I read a small, encouraging nonfiction book.


My half-read novel:  I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.  I was thoroughly enjoying this delightful novel (written in the 1940's) about a bright and resourceful teenage girl, her eccentric, penniless family, and the two intriguing young men who move in next door to the tumbledown castle where the family lives.  But my library hold expired and I had to return it unfinished!  (Oh, the trials of the frugal reader.)  I just got it back on the weekend and am eager to finish it off.  Maybe next month I'll tell you how I liked the whole thing.





My quit-after-three-chapters novel:  We are Water by Wally Lamb.  I loved Lamb's She's Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True, and The Hour I First Believed.  I also heard him speak at the Festival of Faith & Writing in 2010 and met him at his book-signing there; I was impressed by his kindness and humility.  But I just hated what I read of We Are Water:  pages and pages of self-indulgent backstory by at least three different narrators.  My sincerest apologies to Mr. Lamb and anyone who read and loved this book -- but I want to be turning pages because I can't stop reading, not because I feel guilty about quitting.





My huge, unnerving nonfiction book:  Five Days at Memorial:  Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink.  This book details how a New Orleans hospital coped during Hurricane Katrina; it focuses particularly on the controversy surrounding patients who died under questionable circumstances.  Very interesting discussion of important issues like disaster response, health care rationing, euthanasia, and societal values in general. 





My small, encouraging nonfiction book:  A Beautiful Disaster:  Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness by Marlena Graves.  I won this book in a draw on Micha Boyett's blog and am very glad I did.  The author writes in a warm and gently encouraging way about how we can encounter and be changed by God in the midst of difficult "desert" times in life.   She draws on her own experiences as a child who grew up amidst poverty and alcoholism, showing how from an early age she placed herself in the Bible passages she read and learned to look for God in whatever situation she was in.  (I quoted a bit from Graves's book in a previous post.)  This is a book I know I'll return to again and again.



Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?  What are you reading at the moment?



16 comments:

  1. I'm just not sure I'm brave enought for Five Days at Memorial...

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    1. Hi Jillian, thanks for stopping by. I think the book might be quite unsettling if you'd ever gone through a natural disaster or had a tough hospital experience of some kind. But it's not graphic or frightening in any way, so if it's a topic that interests you I'd say give it a try!

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  2. Your reviews make me want to add these to my list, except for Lamb. :( That's too bad about his book. I liked his first two as well. And, no, you're not a bad person for turning in something that you don't like. Too many good books for that! You could always try again later. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Anne! Because tastes differ, I always hate saying I disliked a book (or heaven forbid didn't finish it!) because someone else might love it. But hey, that's what Twitterature is all about. And you're right, I may pick the Lamb book up again during a slow reading period.

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  3. I keep seeing Capture the Castle everywhere -- even my best friend just read it -- and it's taken me this long to actually put it on my to-read list! I'll look forward to seeing what you think of the rest of it.

    jennakristine.com

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    1. It's just so fun -- a GREAT narrator. I'm going to try to get the movie before next Twitterature, too, and maybe review both together. Thanks for coming by.

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  4. I've been meaning to read I Capture the Castle too, glad you reminded me about it, I just put it on hold!

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    1. Isn't Twitterature THE BEST, Ana? I get so many good ideas, I'll never get them all finished in my lifetime.
      :-)

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  5. I really enjoyed I Capture the Castle, but all I could think about while reading it was how much more my teenage self would have loved it :) I hope you enjoy the rest of it, now that you have it back from the library!

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    1. Thanks Moira! I'm going to suggest my daughter read it (she's 16) and then maybe we'll watch the movie together.

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  6. I got I Capture the Castle at a used book sale a couple months ago for a buck and I'm excited to see good reviews of it!

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    1. Now, if I'd done that, I wouldn't have had to return it to the library half-read. OK, I'm cheap. :-) Well, I hope you like it. Thanks for coming by!

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  7. I'm halfway through I Capture The Castle, too. Loving it so far! I am so drawn to nonfiction works, but have never heard of Five Days at Memorial. I just placed it on hold at our library. Thanks for sharing! ps--I have to take books back to the library unread often. I think it's a common problem among readers. I always come home from the library with way more books than I could possibly finish in the alloted time. I just never know what genre I'll going to want to read at any given time, or I may not like one of the books and decide not to finish it. It would be horrible to run out before Library Day! :)

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    1. Hi Heidi - thanks for dropping by. My thing with the library is I hear about all these great books (usually through Twitterature!) and put holds on them, and then they all come at the same time. Sigh, what a hardship being an avid reader.... :-) I hope you enjoy Memorial -- my husband's reading it now; he's a nurse so I thought he'd find it interesting. And isn't I Capture the Castle just getting better and better? I love that narrator.

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  8. Your review of Five Days at Memorial is spot-on. Thanks for the tip on Wally Lamb--I keep seeing his stuff prominently displayed at the library; now I'll stop thinking about grabbing a copy. And I'm so glad you loved I Capture the Castle--hope you get to finish it soon!

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    1. Thanks, Anne. I hope my opinion won't sway anyone from reading any of Lamb's other books, because I really am a big fan of his. But this one just didn't draw me in.

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