Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What I've Been Reading: Winter/ Spring 2014

Awhile ago, I mentioned that I intended to read more books in 2014 and I joined A Beautiful Mess's online book club which has really helped me stay on track. The first book that we read in January was The Interestings by Meg Wolizer which I already wrote about. Here's what else I've been reading lately:

1) The Fault in Our Stars, 2) Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maids Memoir that Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey", 3) Is It Just Me?, 4) The Lowland
 1) The February ABM book club selection was The Fault in our Stars by John Green. There had been alot of hype about this book online and I'd heard that it was being made into a movie, but this wasn't the kind of book that I would read on my own (It's a young adult read and it's got a sad plot point; the main characters have cancer), but I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the witty thoughts of the main character, Hazel Lancaster, and banter with her boyfriend, Augustus Waters. And just when I thought I had predicted how this book was going to end, there was a major plot twist. Though I wasn't a fan before, now I just might go and catch the film in theaters.

2) Since I flew through The Fault of our Stars in half-a-month, I decided to read something from my bookshelves. I had purchased Below Stairs a few years back on a visit to Lawrence, Kansas at my favorite local bookstore, The Raven (mostly because I like to pet their in-store cat) while I was going through some major Downton Abbey withdrawals. Having recently finished the latest season of Downton Abbey season 4 in the UK, I again found myself having Downton Abbey withdrawals and picked up this book about Margaret's own experiences in 1900's England which took her from being a poor country girl from Hove, to being a Kitchen Maid in some of the finest houses in London. Such a fun read!

3) I recently testified my love for Miranda Hart and I was ecstatic when my husband bought me the audio-book of Is It Just Me? read by Miranda. During our recent road trips, one of my husband and I's favorite things to do is listen to this audio book and laugh to quietly to ourselves, like we've got a secret. I loved this book! I'd recommend it to any woman over 35, single woman, tall women, women that shop in the big and tall stores, and fan's of Miranda Hart.

4) The March ABM book club selection was The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, who also wrote the book The Namesake. I have seen the film of The Namesake so I was somewhat familiar with Jhumpa Lahiri's work. This book is about two brother's who grow up outside of Calcutta, India in the 1960s-70s.  One brother grows up and becomes part of a political rebellion group in Calcutta while the other brother goes off to study in America.

I struggled to get through this book by the end of the month as some of the drama was a bit too intense for my tastes. However, I did enjoy the descriptions of life in India and it made me aware of India's turbulent past which I wasn't aware of before.

5) Longbourn, 6) The Goldfinch: A Novel
5) I am currently finishing up ABM's April book club selection, Longbourn. This book describes the lives of the servant's who served the Bennett family from Pride and Prejudice. It's been an interesting modern retelling (although it was kind of slow to start) of the classic novel and I'm just a few short chapters away from finishing it.

6) Up next is the ABM May book club selectionThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It's a best-seller about a boy who tragically looses his mother which leads him down a path full of heart ache, mystery, and friendship. I usually like to curl up with more light-hearted reads after a stressful day at work, so I'm not sure if I'm going to like this one. And it may be difficult to finish in the month of May since it's 775 pages long! I'll try my best, and I'll definitely be reading this on my Kindle for easy travelling.

If you like, you can join the ABM book club by simply following A Beautiful Mess's blog and reading The Goldfinch and commenting on the discussion post at the end of May.

Are you participating in A Beautiful Mess's book club? If so, what do you think of the books so far? If not, what have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments below.

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