Thursday, September 23, 2010

50 Books in 2010--update #4 (38 weeks, 30 books)

Oy! I am really falling behind in this book challenge!

It was harder to get a chance to sit down and read during the summer than I thought it would be. I envisioned lots of lazy afternoons where I could read in the backyard while the boys frolicked around. And the boys did indeed do a good amount of frolicking. The problem? They wanted to me to watch closely while they did it! So after a whole afternoon, I'd usually be only 4-5 pages further along in my book. Hopefully I can play catch up now that I'm getting back into the routine of school, waiting in pickup lines, going to the gym, etc. There are lots of brief, hidden moments for reading, and I just need to capture them. Because finishing another 20 books this year is going to be a tall order!

C already said "It's OK, Mom! You can just do the challenge again next year!" Somehow, I think Baby #3 might be a little disruptive to that plan. While I definitely want to keep reading more frequently, next year may not be the best year for a challenge like this one. We'll see...

At any rate, here are my thoughts on books 21-30.

21. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
I had never heard of this book before, but I picked it up for 50c at the local library's book sale. Can't beat that price! It was an easy but slightly strange read about a band of children who discover a mystical secret.

22. The Summons by John Grisham
I think I've read all of John Grisham's books over the years, and I've found that I don't enjoy them as much as I used to. I'm not sure if that's because I've personally moved on from this genre, or if they aren't as original as they used to be. Another easy read, but not one that was particularly satisfying. Honestly, I can barely remember the plot at this point.

23. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This book was wonderful! An interesting look at the scientific and social history behind the development of HeLa cells, one of the most commonly used cell lines in research today. I think this book would be an interesting read for anyone, not just people with a scientific background like mine. 

24. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
The final book in the Swedish trilogy that I discovered through this year's challenge.  A satisfying wrap up to the series, but I still think I enjoyed the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo the best.

25. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
A fictional account of one English village's experience with the plague. An easy read, but I didn't enjoy it as much as People of the Book, a book by the same author that I read earlier this year.

One of the hardest things about this challenge has been figuring out what to read! There are tons of books that are interesting, but which to choose? When I saw a book list on The Underwear Drawer, a medical blog that I've been following for several years, the problem was solved, for a few weeks anyway! I picked up the next three books on this list based on her recommendation, and thoroughly enjoyed them all. I've always loved medical nonfiction and these are three good ones.

26. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
A fascinating exploration of the clash between Hmong and medical cultures and a good reminder to always be mindful of the many influences that exist in each doctor-patient encounter.

27. Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
Very easy to read, thought provoking, and well written. I will have to look into more of his books.

28. Walk on Water: The Miracle of Saving Children's Lives by Michael Ruhlman
Another great read, delving into the world of congenital heart disease, as experienced by both physicians and families. This book was a particularly interesting read for me as I had a congenital heart defect, and I've actually personally met or heard a great deal about several of the physicians referenced in this book. 

29. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I was so excited for this book that I preordered it, and raced through it as soon as it arrived. I think I need to actually sit down with it again and read it through more slowly to really process it. This is the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, another set of books I would never have discovered if it weren't for suggestions I got through this book challenge.  The Hunger Games remains my favorite of the three, if only for how mind blowing the whole concept was.

30. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Another find for 50c at the library book sale! I don't know much about art, but I have heard of Vermeer and this painting, so it was fun to read this fictional account of how it was produced. I generally enjoy historical fiction, and this was a satisfying read.

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If only I could count all the books I've read with the boys over the last month! I'd be well over 50 by now. We've discovered a new "easy reader" section at the library, filled with all sorts of great books. The boys especially like Cynthia Rylant's series "Mr. Putter and Tabby", "High Rise Private Eyes", and "Henry & Mudge". I'm also having fun introducing them to books that I remember fondly from when I was young like "Miss Nelson is Missing" and "Rotten Ralph." I love seeing the excitement in their eyes when we come home with a pile of new books because I always felt that same thrill on library day when I was a kid!

1 comment:

  1. I loved the reviews. I miss reading. It seems like forever that I've actually mananaged to start and finish a book.

    Oh, and this "And the boys did indeed do a good amount of frolicking. The problem? They wanted to me to watch closely while they did it!" sounds SO familiar!