I figured I’d better get caught up before I get too bogged down in a backlog.
Lots of books for the count: (fyi – these may not be in the actual order they were read, but hopefully, it’s pretty close)
#32 – #36 Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series, by Rick Riordan
There are 5 books in this kid-lit series, recommended to me by Michael’s sister. I really enjoyed the series. It follows the adventure of Percy Jackson, demigod, as he and his friends try to avoid the end of the world. The series starts with the basic premise that the Greek gods, being immortal and all, are still kicking it on Mt Olympus (now located in NYC). The gods, much as they were in the original myths, are still needy, volatile, manipulative, and proud. The demigods, or the heroes, basically have to do all the work to avoid disaster. I’d give the entire series an A-. The books are (in order):
The Lightning Thief
The Sea of Monsters
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Titan’s Curse
The Last Olympian
#37 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
This book is DAMN hard to get into, but once you do, it’s great. It’s got mystery, intrigue, murder, sex, Sweden. The best part of the book is the middle for sure (the end, like the beginning, is a bit more tedious, but easier to get through). The whodunit part of the book surprised me and I really enjoyed the main characters. We read this for my book club and are reading the second book for the month of March. It’s really long, but, like I said, once you get past the first 100 pages, it flies by.
Grade: A (almost an A+, except for the boring bits in the beginning)
#38 Grave Secret, by Charlaine Harris
This is apparently the last of the Harper Connelly books and it’s too bad – this was really the only Charlaine Harris series that was actually pretty good. This book is really disappointing. It rolls along at a good, enjoyable clip until the end just hits you like a Mac truck – everything wrapped up, neatly, with a bow, all at once. It’s ridiculous. It’s like Harris just woke up and was like, “Yep, done with this character. Time to move on.” I was really frustrated by it. I thought there were plenty of other ways to take the character and lots of room for character development. I mean, come on – the main character had just started shacking up with her step-brother! Right now I’m reading the second in Harris’ “Shakespeare” series (name of town, not the Bard) and it’s HORRIBLE. As soon as that one is finished, I think I can take Ms. Harris off the shelf.
Grade: C (because of the crap ending)
#39 Shakespeare, by Bill Bryson
I love Bill Bryson. He’s a great comic writer. Most of his books are travel books, but he’s written a few serious ones as well (e.g. A Short History of Nearly Everything. After I finished this book, I developed my fear of the Yellowstone Caldera exploding during my lifetime. Thanks Bill.). Anyway, this book is a biography of Shakespeare without all the supposition. Bryson basically strips away all the hypothesis and guess-work and gives us the actual facts that exist about Shakespeare – not a lot, as it were. He also takes on the naysayers who say that Shakespeare wasn’t actually Shakespeare and does a pretty convincing job of explaining why all those theories are actually crap and have little to back them up. I thought this book was really interesting and very well written.
#40 The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follet
I debated adding this one because I actually listened to the audio book. But hey, that thing has like 32 CDs, so I decided, I make the rules here, and it totally counts. I’m not counting the other audio books I listen to while I’m trying to sleep (because I almost always sleep through 90% of them) but this one I listened to in the car while driving for work, and heard every word. I’ve read this book a couple times too. It’s been around for 20 years or so now and is still enjoyable. For those who haven’t read it, it tells the tale of a cathedral built in the 12th century – from start to finish. There’s a large cast of characters and it spans at about 50 years. The story is great, although the book, honestly, is not a work of literary genius. It’s repetitive, predictable, the characters are rather one-dimensional, and the dialogue is pretty silly sometimes, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a great story and it’s gripping. Sadly, his follow-up, World Without End, which I read a couple of years ago wasn’t nearly as good and I haven’t touched it again. This one though, I’m sure I’ll continue to come back to.
On my list, I’ve got Kathy Griffin’s Official Book Club Selection, which I am trying to read in a hurry before I go and see her perform next weekend with Coralea. I also am going to finish the HORRIBLE Charlaine Harris book, since I’m almost done. Michael is nagging me to finish After the Prophet, a non-fiction account of what happened after the death of Mohammed, by Lesley Hazelton (I want to read this one as well – not just because of M’s nagging. I read her book Jezebel a year or two ago and it was great. Michael and I are talking about reading the Koran and blogging about it as a pet project, so this would be a good introduction).
Looking over my Kindle, I’m realizing that I have failed to finish a lot of books as well. When I finally hit 100, I’ll make a list of these as well. Until then, there’s always a chance I might get to them (it’s not looking good though …).