I’m doing pretty well – I’ve read a few books I was “supposed” to – or, rather, wanted to – read for the challenge and I’m keeping up my usual pace of a book every two days. (Yes, I realize I’m insane. Though I prefer the term Velocireader, thankyouverymuch.)
So what books have I devoured, and which would I recommend? I’m so glad you asked!
1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. (Knopf, 2008, 590 pgs.) This was a re-read for me as I try to remember what all happened during the stories so I can properly enjoy the new The Girl with… book that was published. I hear it’s just as good as Larsson’s – here’s hoping! My re-read was with my trusty used paperback and it was lovely. I toted it around with me everywhere because once I got going – you know, after I skipped the boring, boring intro with all the financial crap – I couldn’t put the book down. It was just as compelling. Part of it might have been because I remembered key points of what happened, but not the who, so I was waiting for the big reveal as I tried to piece it all together. It was fantastic – none of the anxiety, all of the payoff! Highly recommend. 5 of 5 stars (even with the boring-ass beginning).
2. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances, by Neil Gaiman. (William Morrow, 2015, 310 pgs.) I was lucky enough to get an e-copy from the library without having to wait. Huzzah! I was a little worried about starting it – Gaiman is pretty hit or miss for me, and I wanted to like this so much. Short stories also aren’t really my bag, but short scary stories? YES, PLEASE! I shouldn’t have worried: this was Gaiman at his finest. The stories were sleep-with-a-light-on creepy. I felt like I was 12 years old, sitting around a campfire, wishing I hadn’t started but unable to put the book down. Seriously – that good. Even Gaiman’s intro was better written than most novelists’ stories. I’m definitely buying a copy of this one once the paperback hits. Or I find a signed hardcover, either way. 5 of 5 stars.
3. Serena, by Ron Rash. (Ecco, 2008, 371 pgs.) This was another e-book I borrowed from the library. (Have I mentioned how awesome our local libraries are? So many ebooks!) I was wait-listed for awhile – surprisingly, given how old the book is – but it came up just in time for the challenge. I had mixed feelings about Serena. The voice was compelling; it reminded me a lot of Cold Mountain. Sparse, but intriguing. The story itself was okay. It was plotty. There was enough to keep things moving. But I’m not one for Westerns and this felt like a Western set in Appalachia. So it wasn’t my thing, but I could very much see it working for someone who did go for that sort of thing. 2 of 5 stars.
4. The Book of Jonas, by Stephen Dau. (Blue Rider Press, 2012, 272 pgs.) This was another e-book I got from the library, and hooboy am I glad. I thought from the summary – Muslim boy’s family is killed and an American solider takes him in – sounded compelling. I love psychology stories, I love immigration stories, and I love returns-from-war stories. But this just didn’t get me going. The voice sounded off, the story didn’t draw me in, and I kept wanting things to happen. Show, don’t tell. This kept telling and telling it badly. Oof. Not my cuppa at all. 1 of 5 stars.
So there you go. One week in, and I’m about 25% done and one pace to finish the challenge. 4 down, 11 to go!