Year 2, Book 69

69. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
I pretty much blew this book off as chick lit ever since it came out. I never really had any intention of reading it until I saw a preview for the upcoming movie adaptation of the book. Although I’m generally anti-chick lit in my reading I enjoy a good romantic comedy for my movies, so the movie looked better to me than the book ever sounded. At any rate I decided if I was going to eventually see the movie I might as well read the book and thus ruin the movie for myself. I’m crazy like that. The book was actually a bit less typical chick lit than I was expecting. Most of the characters were older. The book was mostly divided into chapters each detailing the life of one of the members of the book club with kind of an overarching storyline. The book was ok, but I didn’t feel like I got to know any of the characters well enough. It was almost in a way like 6 short stories kind of welded together. I’ve never been a fan of short stories because they never included enough for me. I always feel like I am left wanting more when I read them. Also, the way the story was narrated was kind of bizarre. It seemed like it was being narrated by someone who knew all the characters and attended the book club, but in reality it wasn’t. It was really weird and I didn’t care for it. I give it a 6 out of 10. I have a feeling this may be one book that’s actually better as a movie.

Year 2, Book 68

68. New England White by Stephen L. Carter
A really long murder mystery involving a prestigious black family living in a mostly white town. I was fairly engaged while I was reading it, but it wound up dragging on too long and the end was extremely anti-climatic in my opinion. I give it a 5 out of 10.

Year 2, Book 67

67. Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
The book discusses the reasons why some ideas are memorable and some are easily forgotten. Using examples from advertising, urban legends, and other things they break down the method for coming up with ideas that people will remember. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 2, Book 66

66. Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout
I didn’t know anything about this book when I picked it up, but I really enjoyed the author’s first book Isabel and Amy. Unfortunately this book does not even come close to living up to her first work. This book follows the lives of a minister in Maine and his 5 year old daughter after the death of her mother. It also draws in stories of other people from the town as well as some of the past before the mother dies. I didn’t really care for any of the characters. I didn’t feel like the author really made us like them or identify with them. The plot or what little of a plot that there was lead much to be desired. I give it a 5 out of 10.

Year 2, Book 65

65. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
The story follows the lives of a boy who shoots up his school, his family, and some of the other people affected by the shooting. It’s a good book that kept me interested. But given that I know Jodi Picoult tends to have twists to her endings I was kind of expecting it and figured out basically what it was about halfway through the book. It still enjoyed it though. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 2, Books 63 & 64

63. Evensong by Gail Godwin
The story of a female Episcipalian preacher and her husband. It delves into their past lives and their their current life together. I really enjoyed it and liked the theological issues discussed in the book. I give it an 8 out of 10.

64. Father Melancholy’s Daughter by Gail Godwin
I liked Evensong so much I decided to read another book by Godwin. I discovered this book, which was actually written first and involves the same characters. I liked it much less. I don’t know if I would have liked it anymore had I read it first, but I don’t think I ever would have liked it as much as Evensong. Pretty much everything that happened in this book was addressed in Evensong, so I didn’t feel like I was getting anything out of the book and I already knew everything that was going to happen. Plus it didn’t have any of the good theological discussions that I liked in Evensong. I give it a 5 out of 10.