Friday, April 25, 2008

How bad am I?

Since my last post, I've completed all of two books - Belly Laughs and Baby Laughs, both by Jenny McCarthy. They were both very fast reads, and they were both fair. Amusing, funny, and a little crass (of course, I like crass), but still not quite as good as I was expecting from the reviews I've read.

Otherwise, I have not finished any other books. I've been working on Insomnia by Stephen King, but for whatever reason, I just haven't been into reading lately. I'm hoping my purchases last night will help pick me up - I bought a bunch of books at HPB, including Tuck Everlasting (which I remember reading as a kid and really liking) and the second book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, The Golem's Eye. So, now all I have to do is finish that Stephen King book, and hopefully I'll be back on a roll!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Many DNFs

Whew. I finally finished updating the last four books I read. I knew I was slacking, but I hadn't realized that I had that many to catch up on. Of course, it didn't help that I was on a reading tear and read them all within a few days.

In the past month or so, I have also given up on quite a few books. I know I'm missing a couple, but a few I've recently quit are:

Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot - This was seriously one of the worst books ever. I don't always love chick lit, but I didn't expect to hate this book like I did. It was so freaking repetitive - I can't even tell you how many times the main character repeated "Size 12 is not fat!!" (really? Is that the title of the book or something?)
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin - I loved the only other book by him that I read, so I thought I'd try this. Not so much.
I Loved You All by Paula Sharp - I've wanted to read this for a long time. I actually ordered it from a couple of years ago, but then it was out of stock and I cancelled the order. I found this book in the dollar bin at HPB, and was so excited. I think I made it 5 pages into the book - for some reason, I just could not get into it. I'll probably try reading this some other time, when I'm in a different frame of mind.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - A children's classic that I never got around to reading as a kid (because I thought it looked boring). Turns out I was right. It started out good, but I completely lost interest about a third of the way through it.

I think there are a couple of more, but those are the only ones I have handy. I was going to start Anna Karenina today, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready for it, so I'm going for an old stand-by...yes, ANOTHER Stephen King book.

The Trial by Robert Whitlow

The Trial by Robert Whitlow
464 pages
Finished 4/3/08

This book ended up being a huge disappointment for me. It's about a trial lawyer whose wife and sons had died in a car accident years ago. In the beginning of the book, he's considering ending his life when he gets a call from a judge, asking him to represent a man accused of killing a local heiress of a powerful man in town.

I had quite a few problems with the book, one of them being (and I'll admit this isn't a huge thing) that the book is called The Trial. The trial only takes place in a few chapters of the book - it's covered pretty quickly. There is a lot leading up to the trial, and more following the trial.

My biggest gripe has to do with religion. I don't mind reading Christian novels (I've read most of the Left Behind series), but no where on the book did it mention that it was a Christian novel. When the main characters started quoting scriptures (including the lawyer to his client!), I started rolling my eyes. Almost every single main character in the book had a deep faith and were constantly expressing it, and those that didn't have a strong faith in the beginning did by the end. Really? I didn't read the book to be preached to, I wanted to read it for the "court room drama." I was really disappointed in the book, and the fact that it was not promoted or explained on the jacket as it should have been. I probably wouldn't have bought it if I had known.

Two stars.

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Anthem by Ayn Rand
272 pages
Finished 3/31/08

I had no idea how short this book was when I first picked it up. I didn't realize that the copy that I bought included the short story, as well as (to quote "a facsimile of the British version, which bears Rand's handwritten alterations for its American debut."

I'm a pretty big fan of dystopic novels, and this was no exception. The main character is named Equality 7-2521. He lives in a world where there are no individuals (the word "I" is not in their vocabulary - everything is plural "We"), there is no electricity, and you are assigned your job and housing after some schooling.

It was a fast, thought-provoking read. I really liked it. I also really liked seeing Rand's original version, and the edits made to it for distribution in America. It was pretty cool (although a little hard to read at times).

Three stars.

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz

Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz
496 pages
Finished 3/31/08

On the day Jimmy Tock is born, his grandfather predicts that he will have five dates in his life that will contain terrible events. His grandfather even predicts the dates of the said events. After detailing the incidents surrounding Jimmy's birth and his grandfather's predictions, the book basically follows these five days (all falling between ages 20 and 30).

To be honest, I thought the book started out really good. The circumstances around his birth, along with other things that happened at the hospital, made me really get into the book. Unfortunately, the book pretty much fell off there. I think the main characters (including Jimmy, his parents, his grandmother, and wife) were supposed to come off as quirky and funny, but they just came off to me ridiculous and annoying.

The five events were present in a weird manner as well. The first two were incredibly drawn out. There was a car chase that seemed like it was 23 chapters - I had to start scanning because it wouldn't end. It seemed like the last 3 were thrown in there in the last few chapters. It seemed really disproportionate.

It was too bad the book went downhill, because it had started out so good.

Two stars.

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
689 pages
Finished 3/30/08

I've always wanted to read about this book - I've heard so much about it. I discovered it at Goodwill one day a month or two ago and bought it. Of course, I didn't take a look at the book until I picked it up late last month to read it...and discovered that my book starts on page 11. So annoying. Why don't I check these things out ahead of time? Luckily, that was all that was missing, and it was pretty easy to pick up on the book there.

Helter Skelter is the story of Charles Manson and the Sharon Tate murder. The book is authored by the prosecutor in the book. I think he does a really good job of telling to story - the book is long, and it took awhile to get through, but there is so much detail needed that I couldn't imagine the story being any shorter. It was very interesting, in-depth, and chilling.

Four stars.