I'm posting again so soon because I just finished a great book and I want to talk about it. What book? Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. This book has been popular for a while now, so I'm sure a lot of you have already read it or seen then movie. I've been putting off reading it for a while, mostly because I thought I wouldn't like it. I'm not really sure why I thought that, but somewhere along the way I got it in my head that it wasn't a very good book. But I loved it. Great writing, fascinating story, I could hardly put it down and finished it in a day and a half. I especially liked the framing of the story, the way the narration switched between 93 year old Jacob and 23 year old Jacob. Surprisingly, 93 year old Jacob's chapters were just as interesting as his 23 year old counterpart. Maybe I only liked this book so much because my expectations were so low. Honestly though, I think I would have liked it anyway. Now, if only I could find 111 books this good, I would have been finished months ago.
I've read 2 other books recently that are worth mentioning. One was Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay. I had high expectations for this books because it was a bestseller for a while and the premise sounded really interesting. But I was disappointed. The writing wasn't very good, and yes, the historical events behind the novel were interesting, but the story itself fell flat. A bit of background: The story alternates between Sarah: a 10 year old Jewish girl in France during WWII, and Julia, a present day middle aged journalist who slowly discovers Sarah's story. Really fascinating premise with a lot of potential, but story never connected with me. There are several possible reasons for this. For one, I felt like the book was simply telling me how I should feel, rather than actually stirring my emotions. Also, I never really forgot that I was reading a book. The story didn't draw me in enough. And finally, the present day part of the book, Julia's part, read like a bad chick flick or cheesy Nicholas Sparks novel. It didn't really fit with the gravity of what happened to Sarah and her family. It wasn't an overall terrible read, it just wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be.
book#2: The Death Cure by James Dashner. You might remember that I read the first two books in this YA dystopian trilogy back in January, The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials. I was very excited to read the much anticipated final installment. Overall, I think it was a good book. I was a little disappointed, but mostly because I think I remembered liking the first two books way more than I actually did. Or probably more accurately: I was much less disillusioned with and burnt-out on reading when I read the first 2 books, and so I enjoyed them way more than I would if I read them right now. That's sad, right? Anyway- the third book was good, really fast paced and full of action. I would have liked a little more character development and a little more umm... I don't know... something else that was missing... but considering it is young adult and probably geared toward teenage boys, I'll let it slide. Also I'm not entirely sure I liked the ending, but as a friend recently pointed out, I hardly ever like the endings, so I'll let that slide too. So- if you started The Maze Runner trilogy, go get a copy of The Death Cure, because it is at least a series worth finishing.
So far October has been way more productive than September, but I've still only read 5 books this month. I don't think I'll make my benchmark of 11, which means November and December are going to be verrrry busy. And I'm working now too- So that means even less time for reading. But, I'm very determined to reach my goal. I feel like I have not really accomplished much in this post-college year of floundering and figuring myself out. But reading 111 books, yeah that would be a pretty good accomplishment, right? Plus, when else in my life will I have time to attempt something like this again? So wish me luck and, as always, please let me know if you have any good books suggestions!