Monday, February 3, 2014

January Reads

January is a great month for reading. Freezing cold temps, heaps of snow, and a post-holiday malaise combine to make me crave nothing more than an afghan, a fire, and a good book. {Or a not so good book, as luck might have it.} Here's a peek at what I read last month:

{All images via Goodreads}
Last time I did a post about books I mentioned that, despite my doubts, I would power through the Divergent trilogy. Nope. Couldn't do it. "Insurgent" managed to kill off any interest I had in finishing the series. I just stopped caring about the main characters, the plot got all twisted {in a confusing way, not in a good, suspense-building way}. It was a chore to finish this one.

Thankfully, the new Bridget Jones novel was the perfect antidote to the depressing "Insurgent." I'm a Bridget fan from way back, so I was really looking forward to this book. But then I heard the news...{spoiler alert!} 
my beloved Mark Darcy was dead and Bridget was now a widow. How could I possibly enjoy a Bridget book without Mark?! 
But enjoy it I did. Bridget is her same silly, bumbling self, but now she is a grieving widow and mother  to two young children, trying to navigate a dating world dominated by social media and texting. Bridget's experience with loss adds depth and maturity to a character who often teetered on the edge of cartoonish {especially in "The Edge of Reason"}. Overall, I thought this was a fun and touching way to round out Bridget's story.

Caitlin got "The Book Thief" for Christmas, so she read it before I did and really liked it. In her words, "the characters lived in my head, even after I finished the book." High praise for any novel, and well deserved by this book, in my opinion. "The Book Thief" wasn't at all what I expected, but the characters did indeed come to life in a way that makes you think about them long after you've put the book down. I had the same experience after reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Giver." Zusak's writing is succinct and lyrical; a nice counterpoint to soften the edges of a book that can feel choppy at times, what with the frequent asides and bulleted lists provided by its narrator, Death. We see Nazi Germany through his eyes; a dark time, obviously, but there are rays of hope for humanity shining out of the darkness. "The Book Thief" is the poignant and heartbreaking story of that hope.

In sum: I read a dud, some fluff, and a could-be classic.
What did you read in January?
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