Although my eReading app is packed with free books (courtesy of those daily Book Bub emails) and my to-be-read pile has grown to epic-proportions, it has been quite a while since I’ve had time to sit down and read.
Last week I decided to change that, and not just because I was on a business trip and needed something to do.
A New Author
I started out reading Penny Reid’s Neanderthal Seeks Human on my iPhone while I was trapped in the airport waiting for a delayed flight. Those who know me know that I’m not particularly a fan of eBooks, but in this case, having no physical book handy, I made an exception.
Those of you who are paying attention may also recall that I mentioned I had started reading this book in my last “What are you reading?” post back in December. The story didn’t manage to keep my attention then and I wandered off after a few chapters. This time around I’m happy to say I made it all the way to the end of the book. The story is told in 1st person and, as Jilly mentioned in her post on Sunday, that can become a little tiresome. It started off very slowly with a lot of internal dialogue. The copious thinking was a trait of the main character, Janie, so it made sense, but I’ll admit that I did a fair amount of skimming, especially in the early chapters. This was a girl-meets-boy story, with not much of anything keeping them apart. There were also “evil doppelganger sister / crazed criminal” and “obsessed ex-boyfriend” subplots, but they didn’t get a lot of page time.
The thing that saved this story for me was the characters. Janie was quirky, awkward, smart, and relatable. Quinn, the hero, escaped his Sir McHotpants introduction and was interesting and believable. I liked the two of them together and believed their happily-ever-after, I just wish I hadn’t had to wade through so much “thinking” to get to it. This won’t be a read-it-again book for me, but I’m thinking of sampling the next story in the series.
A New Book by a Favorite Author
After spending time with a new author, my next selection from the TBR pile was What I Love About You by Rachel Gibson. I’ve read a number of her books before; See Jane Score is probably my favorite. Sex and hockey – what’s not to like? Truly Madly Yours is another story of hers that I’ve read a few times and What I Love About You is set in the same town (same house actually), ten or so years later, so there is a familiar feel to the book.
Like Neanderthal Seeks Human, this is a boy-meets-girl story without much of anything keeping them apart. Told in 3rd person, the story belongs to Blake Junger, ex-military, who has moved to town to get on with life and get over his desire for Johnnie Walker. There’s an attractive next-door neighbor (Natalie), her plot-device daughter (Charlotte), and a puppy. There are entertaining interactions and a fair amount of sex. What was missing, besides conflict, was anything that made me understand why the two characters were interested in each other (besides sex) or why they would stay together. It felt like there were some missed opportunities in the story and the ending didn’t really work for me. Reviews on Amazon seem fairly spread out, so it seems like I’m not the only one who felt this story missed the mark a bit.
I really wanted to like this book, but I’m afraid this was a miss for me. I’ve got another book of hers – Run To You – in my TBR pile; hopefully that one will be more my style.
Something Thought Provoking
I’m rounding off my current reading session with When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi. Definitely not a light-hearted story or a romance, the book is a memoir written by a young doctor, diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The description on the inside of the book cover says:
“When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.”
The book was recommended to me both by an author friend of mine and by several authors I follow. I didn’t realize when I started to read that I had read about this individual before. It turns out I had read (and saved) a copy of the op-ed piece, How Long Have I Got Left, he did for the New York Times a little over a year ago. I had read the piece as research for a story I was working on and because the doctor-becomes-a-patient scenario is very interesting to me.
I’ve only just started reading the book, so I don’t know if it’s going to be depressing or “beautifully written and deeply meaningful, a treasure”, as one goodreads reviewer put it. I guess we’ll all have to wait and see.
So, what have you been reading (or starting to read) recently? Any recommendations to add to my queue?