In an attempt to make myself get through some of the books that I've been saying "it's on my list!" or "I've been meaning to read that!" about forever, I roped myself into a few book challenges for this summer. Luckily, they overlap—even though as I write this on Tuesday afternoon I haven't even technically started the Literary Ladies book challenge yet. But anyway. (Tuesday evening update: Started.)
Blonder Side of Life. A few weeks back, Kels asked us to set a personal goal number of books to be read in the months of June, July, and August. As I was about to slip behind on my personal goal to read 30 books in 2015 (I'm a slow reader guys, gimme a break), I jumped at the chance.
I placed a conservative bet on myself and said 10 sounded like a nice, round, attainable number. After one month, here's how I'm doing, what I've read, and what's up next:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Kristen recommended this after she read it, and was kind enough to share her audiobook with me. I listened to most of this book during my 17-hour round-trip drive to West Virginia. It was my first ever audiobook! I was hesitant to try the format (I love the act of reading so much) but I think it's a good option for me when I just want to hear a good story. I'll save the delicious experience of reading for those stories I really, really look forward to though.
The narration was dry, and the content was dense. But, this book had a lot of really wonderful anecdotes and principles that we could all stand to incorporate into our lives a bit more. I don't think I would have gotten through it if it weren't for the audiobook (I don't love reading non-fiction), but I'm glad I gave it a listen.
Recommend? — Yes, but probably just the audiobook.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
I honestly can't remember if I started this book before, but I think I had. Good thing I forget all narrative details about 30 seconds after I attain them. I don't know what that's about, guys. Anyway, I gave this a listen on audiobook too, after discovering my library had a pretty decent selection of audiobooks. I love music, but in the mornings I prefer podcasts or, now, audiobooks. This was a good morning listen, and I got through it pretty quickly.
I don't really have anything profound to say about this book. I liked it; it was heartwarming and heartbreaking in parts; it was a well-told story. It didn't change my life or make me feel like I needed to read more Mitch Albom right away. But it was good, and even though it didn't excite me one way or the other, I'm glad I finally scratched it off the list.
Recommend? — Sure, why not? If you like a good fiction narrative, you'll probably enjoy this.
The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
My library had this in audiobook format too, so I grabbed it as soon as I finished Albom. And then it took me embarrassingly long to put two and two together. This author wrote Silver Linings Playbook, which I didn't realize was a book, but whose movie adaptation I love. Like, love. I don't know if I loved this one, but I thought it was great.
It's pretty quirky, and I've read mixed reviews and heard a pretty split opinion about it. It's strange in parts, and also heartbreaking in others, and something about hearing it narrated (in well-employed different voices as well) might have made it more emotional for me. It won't be for everybody, I don't think, and some parts were a little dragged out, but it was easy and I didn't have to think very hard and it was enjoyable.
Recommend? — Not urgently, but sure. Give it a read/listen!
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I've read this before, at least twice. And I've studied it, so I remembered a bit of this, but the details and specifics had escaped me. I have a paperback copy so this is what I'd been working on before bed and such. Now, I remembered the majority of the major plot lines—like, in the way that you know before seeing it that Batman is about a caped vigilante in Gotham city—but I haven't read this as an adult. Seeing things through adult eyes and especially with the lens of what's going on in the world today, I was ready to have a very new reading experience with this book.
If you haven't read it, read it. If you haven't read it as an adult, read it. This book is beyond a masterpiece. It is over 50 years old and is set almost a century ago, and it is still profoundly relevant in America. It is funny in places and in ways you would never expect. It is so elegantly written and yet completely lacking in pretense. The first page is one I've read dozens of times because—well, I can't really express why. The first sentence and the second paragraph just...affect me somehow. That might be because I'm strange and dramatic, but I'm more inclined to chalk it up to Harper Lee's genius.
Recommend? — Yes. Unequivocally, yes. Sometimes, the classics are classics for a reason.
(P.S., Gregory Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch earned the AFI's #1 spot on the top 100 movie heroes of the 20th century. #FunFact)
I'll add that I spent a good part of this month reading, editing, and editing again a novel that I won't list here, but that deserves to be mentioned, I think. A friend of mine has been nursing this manuscript for a few years and I finally—finally!—convinced him to share it with me and utilize my literary fiction editing services. We're bringing it up to snuff and hopefully it will be available as an ebook for any of you interested (it is a really, really good story) in the next couple of months!
*I counted only the books that I started and finished in the month of June, so May holdovers aren't listed.
I'm diving right into my Literary Ladies book list, which you can find here!
Have you read any of these? If so, what's your take?
If not, what's on your 2015 summer reading list?