Year 3, Book 75

75. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
This is the first book in a young adult series about vampires. I normally wouldn’t have picked it up, but I had read about how people were lining up the 4th book in the series when it came out a few months ago, and I’ve been really into the show True Blood on HBO that is also about vampires. Thus I decided to check the series of books out. This first book is obviously setting up the series. For the majority of the first book you’re getting to know the main character Bella, a teenage girl who moves from living with her mom in Phoenix to live with her dad in Forks, a small town in Washington. There she meets Edward, who she later finds out is a vampire and falls in love with him. You get the set up for the particular vampire mythology that is being used in the series and then in the last 100 pages you finally get some real drama based on the vampires. I enjoyed it enough that I’m going to continue in the series. It’s a quick enough read even at 500 pages, that even though I don’t think it’s the best thing ever I’m going to keep reading them. My main problem I think is that so much of the book seems repetitive. I feel like the author says the same things over and over again. But then again its written for a younger audience so that may also be part of an issue. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 3, Book 74

74. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
This book is supposedly inspired by Laura Bush’s life. Like all fiction books that are based on someone’s life I wonder how much is really true and how much is completely made up. There are obvious differences between the main characters in the book and the Bushes, but other stuff really seems like stuff that Laura Bush might feel about her life. I guess there’s no way to know, particularly about her inner thoughts and feelings. At any rate I really liked this book. I started reading it on the plane on the way down to the wedding and then I didn’t get a chance to pick it up again for almost a week, and I was really disappointed that I had to wait so long because it was one of those books that you just don’t want to put down, at least for me. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Year 3, Book 73

73. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
So this is really book 72.5 since I didn’t make it all the way through the book, but since I already have another book that I marked as a half I’m adding them together to get to book 73. I normally would not have picked up a Neil Gaiman book knowing that he’s shelved in the sci-fi/fantasy section. I’m just not into those genres. Although based on what I read I would label this as more supernatural rather than what I think of as sci-fi or fantasy. My book club chose this as it’s book for this month, which is why I started reading it. I was about 150 pages into it and not enjoying it when I found out that I was going to be out of town for my sister’s baby shower on the day the book club is meeting so I decided to quit reading it.

As for the book itself I never got far enough into it to really figure out what was going on, but from what I gathered from the 150 pages I did read was that things like fairies, leprechauns and such that people in “old countries” believed in were brought to America when people emigrated here, but then were abandoned for stuff like television (i.e. American Gods). These creatures then somehow blended into society, but seemed to be heading for some sort of uprising or something led by some mysterious guy named Mr. Wednesday, some guy who just got of prison that he coerced into the cause, and the guy’s dead wife who is dead but still walking around haunting him in the flesh. I could be completely wrong about some parts of this plot, but that’s what I got from it. It did not hold any interest for me at all, thus the fact that I quit reading it. I know several people who are in love with Neil Gaiman, so if you like the type of books he writes perhaps you would enjoy it more than I did.

Year 3, Book 72

72. Swish: My Quest to Become the Gayest Person Ever by Joel Derfner
The book is comprised of chapters basically describing various things the author has done that make him extremely gay like becoming a Go-Go dancer or a gay male cheerleader. He intersperses the main story of the chapter with other vignettes from his life. He very much reminds me of David Sedaris. They both certainly are equally neurotic. It was a fairly amusing read. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 3, Book 71

71. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt examines traffic and why we drive the way we do. He especially concentrates on the psychology of driving and how it relates to our physiological ability to drive and pay attention to our surroundings. He also discusses traffic patterns and how many of the things we think about traffic are actually wrong as the more correct answers seem rather counter-intuitive. I found it to be a really interesting read even though I can’t say that knowing some of the things I learned has made me a better driver. Which is partly his point anyway, so I guess I’m normal in that respect. I give it a 7 out of 10.