I read somewhere …

Oh, the reading continues. I’ve actually been pretty productive this past week or so.

8. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah’s Key takes place in Paris. For the first half of the book it jumps back and forth between Paris, 1942 and Paris, 2002. The story revolves around the round-up at the Velodrome d’Hiver (Vel’ d’Hiv) which occurred in July, 1942, and was organized by the Vichy government. As the book describes, French police, not Nazis, were responsible for rounding up thousands of Jews, including many thousands of children, who were then eventually sent to Auschwitz. The book jumps between story of a little girl who was caught up in the Vel’d’Hiv round-up with her parents and the story of Julia, an American journalist living in France, married to a boor of a Frenchman. As the book continues, the connection between the little girl and Julia’s in-laws unfolds. That there is a connection, and what the connection ends up being, is fairly predictable, but that didn’t spoil the story. I preferred the third person voice that carried the narrative of the little girl’s story to the first person voice used by Julia, but found the entire book enticing. I thought that the ending in particular was rather brave, considering that it doesn’t end as happily as it could of, but rather much more honestly. In general, I thought that the quality of the writing was not exceptional, but it was a pretty good read and provided an honest, brutal look into a rather shameful part of French history (which you can read more about here).

Grade: B+

9. Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Series) by Charlaine Harris

It seems a little wrong to follow-up a review of a book about the Holocaust with a review of a book about vampires, but I can’t help the order that I read things. So, here we go.

Dead Until Dark is the first in the series of Sookie Stackhouse books. As I understand it, the series True Blood is based on the books. I’ve never watched the show and basically bought the book because it cost $6.00 on my Kindle.

To be honest, I don’t really get the whole vampire thing. Sure, I read the Twilight books, and I liked them (as I mentioned before, only grudgingly), but that had less to do with being into vampires than kinda hating Bella and wanting to see what she would do. (Again, grudgingly.) Anyway, Dead Until Dark had some things in common with Twilight, but mostly its version of vampires was at odds with Twilight’s (for example, vampires in Dead Until Dark melt in the sun, are averse to garlic and silver, and can be killed with stakes vs. none of that being the case in the Twilight books). Also, the main character, Sookie, is way less of a clumsy, annoying pushover than Bella. She isn’t falling all over the place and kicks ass when she needs to.

What they did have in common is the fact that I did not like either of the vampire characters (Edward in Twilight and Bill in Dead Until Dark). Both books present far more attractive alternatives to the vampire loves, who generally come across as needy, possessive, and old-fashioned. At least Bill isn’t as frigid (both in temperature and in the bedroom) as Edward.

Anyway, I thought that Dead Until Dark was an okay read. Unlike the Twilight books, it’s not all about the vampires. It’s also a bit of a murder mystery. I don’t know if I’ll keep on reading the series, but it wasn’t a total waste of time.

Grade: B

ALL RIGHT. And now, A TERRIBLE SECRET.

The problem with counting the books I read is that I have to count all of them. And since I am blogging about it, that means I no longer have secrets. (At least about fiction.) So here it is:

Some times … I like to read Nora Roberts books. I know, I know. It’s embarrassing. But in my defense, they are totally guilty pleasures. Romance novels are RIDICULOUS, which is part of the attraction. I mean, in every Nora Roberts book I’ve read (and, honestly, I’ve read a fair few) it’s almost the always the guy who falls head over heels in love first and then makes a huge profession to the girl about it (but usually in a kind of pissed off way). THAT NEVER HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE (as far as I can tell). Also, the people say THE DUMBEST THINGS. And they never, ever seem to use a condom, but also never get STDs. AND they ALWAYS get married. After like 3 seconds. People, I have been dating the same man for 2 1/2 years.

All right. That said.

10. Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts

All right. All the things I said above apply here. This is the first in a series of 3. I read the second one a few years ago. It was a cheap Kindle purchase. It’s totally ridiculous. The plot involves a ghost, a mansion, muscles, and babies. It’s totally, totally ridiculous. I secretly loved it. SECRETLY.

Honestly, I don’t even know how to grade it. I guess it needs its own “Nora Roberts Grading Scale.” Which in that case:

Grade: B+ (seriously, compared to some of her other mysteries/trilogies, it is a bit lacking).

OKAY EVEN WORSE:

11. Red Lily by Nora Roberts

THAT’S RIGHT. I READ THE THIRD BOOK. GOD.

The third book is EVEN MORE ridiculous. I actually liked it the least, I think. Also, the main character gets pregnant, which makes me jealous.

Grade: B-

What’s next? Perhaps I will finally finish Man’s Search for Meaning. I also have the fifth Septimus Heap book, Syren, 5and Lamb, by Christopher Moore, in the kitty.

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