Book Report | 01

Two of my favorite things in the world are books and reading. You can take away my TV, my internet, my music, but I cannot live without my books. So, naturally, I'm going to do a bit of talking about them around here. 

One thing I am not much of is a critical reader. I read mostly for entertainment, enjoyment, and leisure. And the storytelling, oh! How I love the storytelling! But as far as picking apart and analyzing each and every little part of a book? Erm... not so much. With that being said, you can expect just about any little book review I do to be pretty simple-

Did I like the book? Yes, Meh, No. On a scale of one to three stars because let's make this visually interesting.
General thoughts on the book, what did I or didn't I like?
Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, Maybe, No Way.

And as a "feeler", I'll probably talk [in certain circumstances] about how the book made me feel. There are exceptions of course, but those will be few and far between. So, before I unnecessarily drag this out, let's get started! Here's what I've read recently...

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt | ★★★
To be honest, I hesitate to say I liked this book three stars worth. If I wanted to get all into this, I would in reality give this more like, two-and-half stars because although I liked the story, holy moly this was a long read. While I usually pay little attention to the number of pages in a book, I think 771 was a little too much and the story was unnecessarily drawn out in this case. But I really enjoyed the story. I was just thrilled when it was finally over, which is the opposite of how I usually like to feel at the ending- I'm weird in that I actually prefer to want more from a book when I turn the last page.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Maybe. Just be prepared for a marathon. 

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins | ★★
Sigh. I love a good mystery. But, this one just did not live up to the hype. I generally try to avoid the hyped-up books everybody's talking about. I do. In my defense, I was in a reading schlump this winter and armed with my B&N gift card, decided to pick this one up so I could find out for myself what all the noise was about. Sigh. I should've known better. Now, it wasn't terrible! It was just really, really... underwhelming. Like I said, I love a good mystery. But, the trick to a good mystery is that you have to keep the reader guessing until the very, very, final moment. TGOTT just didn't do that for me. It was way too predictable and I spent most of the time waiting for something surprising to happen, but it just never did. It was so disappointing because the idea behind the story has such potential, but it just felt like the writer gave up halfway through. Insert anti-climactic ending here.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Maybe. It was a quick read, possibly good for a "beach read" or if you like mystery fiction but Gone Girl was a bit too much for you. [Don't get me started on that comparison. This is NOT GG.]

In the Woods and The Likeness, Tana French | ★★★
Goodreads and Amazon have both been trying to get me to read this series by Tana French for YEARS. But every time I pulled up the synopsis on In the Woods, I just felt kinda "meh" about the storyline. And then I found it for $3 at my favorite used bookstore and thought I'd give it a shot since I was still coming down from the disappointment of TGOTT. Needless to say, I quickly devoured ITW and then went on a rampage looking for a copy The Likeness which, once found, had the same fate. SO. GOOD. I'm now on book three, Faithful Place [which I'm honestly having a little harder time diving into], so I'm basically pulling a Netflix-like binge on The Dublin Murder Squad series.
Would I recommend it to a friend? YAAAS. This is everything a mystery should be, in my opinion. Twists and turns and just when you think you have it figured out? WRONG. 
Note: There is part of the story that remains unresolved in In the Woods that A LOT of readers had a major problem with when I was checking out reviews... It was one of the reasons I hesitated to pick up the book for so long. But like I said above- I'm a weirdo who wants to want more from a story when I finish and Tana French has not let me down in that sense. Surely, somewhere down the road things will come full circle, right? RIGHT? 

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak | ★★★
I love stories of World War II. There's just something about the resilience, the strength of the people who endured that time period that just hits me right in the gut. We actually gifted this book to one of our nephews [both of whom are big-time readers- YAY!] for Christmas and I begged him to let me borrow it. And then, because I have the patience of a toddler, I ordered my own copy before he had the chance! Oops. Anyways- I loved this book. I had a little difficulty getting into it at the beginning because of the way it is written, the narrator's voice and his/her frequent interjections took a little getting used to. But once you get into it- OH MAN. I'm not ashamed to admit this one had me bawling like a baby at the end. I can't remember the last book that had me in tears...
Would I recommend it to a friend?Definitely. The beginning will be a little weird, especially for an adult reader, but push through because it's so worth it.

Bossypants, Tina Fey | ★★
Oh, Tina... I had such high hopes for this book. But I just didn't find it to be as funny as expected. Definitely no Let's Pretend This Never Happened or Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? [both of which had me in tears, waking up my husband because I was laughing so hard I was violently shaking the bed]. I also wasn't a fan of how out of order the chapters were... I had a hard time keeping up with what happened when and it all just seemed really disjointed to me.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Maybe. If you really love Tina Fey, go for it.

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger | ★★
I think what I love most about this book is how passionate readers are about it. Seriously, check out the reviews on any book site and you'll see just how much people either LOVE Salinger's debut novel or HATE it. I'm one of the few who are more or less on the fence about it. This is maybe the third (?) time I've read it and it's fascinating to see how it affects you as you age and mature- from an adolescent identifying with the main character's "teenage-angst", to a young adult being appalled by his behavior and "know-it-all" attitude, to realizing as an adult just how sad and lonely and afraid of growing up he was and being able to empathize with his struggle.
Would I recommend it to a friend?Yes. I want to know what side of the fence you stand on.

I left out the summaries/synopses intentionally because seriously, how long would this post be if I included them?! Ha! But I included links to each book mentioned on Goodreads if you want to get a little more info. And don't forget you can follow me over there, too! Just CLICK HERE to be taken directly to my page.

I'd love to hear your thoughts! If you've read any of these books, what did you think? Or, is there a book you're reading or have read recently that you think I should check out? Talk book-y to me, people!

xo, Steve