My Reading Log for the second-half of January has been filled with stories of disaster – ships sinking, murder, theft, and an alien race taking over the world. Whew! I guess I needed a little excitement on these cold winter nights…
The Host, Stephanie Meyer - Yes, that Stephanie Meyer. The one who gave us The Twilight series. I’ll start by saying that Meyer is not a good writer (sorry, but that’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it). But in this case, she does present an intriguing story line. Meyer enjoys exploring what it means to be human through the eyes of those who are not – vampires, werewolves, or in this case, an alien race called Souls, who inhabit human bodies and take over our minds. Except in the case of Melanie Stryder.
Melanie becomes the Host for an alien named Wanderer, yet Melanie resists the Soul’s control. She remains present in Wanderer’s mind, taking her to a hidden outpost of humans which includes Melanie’s boyfriend and brother. But can the people she loves accept her now that she is a Host? Will Wanderer betray these humans to her own kind? If you can wade through the agonizingly long passages of loss and longing, you will be rewarded with a satisfying ending. I am definitely interested in seeing the movie adaptation of this book in March 2013.
The Dressmaker, Kate Alcott – An fresh view of the Titanic disaster that focuses not on what happened aboard ship, but on the aftermath of the sinking and the issues of class and privilege in the lives of those who survived. Alcott uses real-life testimonies of those who spoke before the US Senate just days after the tragedy to create her tale.
The novel centers around Tess, an aspiring seamstress, who is hired by famous designer Lady Duff Gordon to be her maid on the doomed voyage. Tess and the Gordons survive the disaster, yet rumors surface that Lady Duff Gordon may have saved herself at the expense of others. Are these rumors true? Should Tess tell what she knows and risk her bright future? A must-read for those who can’t get enough of Titanic tales.
A Duty to the Dead, Charles Todd – Bess Crawford is a nurse who has seen the horrors of war on the battlefields of France and has survived the sinking of the the British hospital ship, Britannic. Now recovering in England, Bess is honor-bound to deliver a message from a dying a soldier to his brother. As she carries out this duty to the dead, Bess discovers a web of family secrets that will test her courage and threaten her life. This book is first in a series by the mother/son team known as Charles Todd. Bess is certainly a likable narrator with plenty of intelligence and spunk. I look forward to reading more of her adventures!
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak - Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It’s the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest, and astound me.
Appropriately enough, Death is the narrator of this tale set in Nazi Germany. As he says, we all know the ending (which is certainly hearing his footfalls on our doorstep), yet that does not take away from this powerful little story of Liesel Meminger and her experiences as a young teen during The Third Reich.
Liesel is hungry – for food and for words. Her foster papa teaches her how to read, yet he doesn’t have the means to provide her with much food or with books. It is a time of rationing and poverty for those who live on Himmel Street. So Liesel turns to thievery to get the nourishment she craves. This is a tale of daily life, harsh and cruel, inside Germany during World War II. It is also a commentary on the power of words and their ability to both destroy and heal.
The Racketeer, John Grisham – It’s been a while since I read a book by John Grisham. But I’ve found that reading one of his novels is a bit like riding a bike – once you get into a Grisham narrative, it’s like you never left his world of corruption and crime.
This is the story of Malcolm Bannister, ex-lawyer and current criminal (although he swears he is not guilty), who makes a deal with the Feds after a federal judge is found murdered. He claims he knows who killed the judge, even though he’s been locked up for the last 5 years. This one starts slowly, but picks up after 100 pages or so with a nice twist in the end. Good for a quick, fun read.
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What are you reading? Tell me in the comments below.