I am going to go ahead and just get this out there: I didn’t really enjoy this book. Our book club chose it because an excerpt from the introduction of the book was used in a literary analysis essay question for an AP Literature exam a couple of years ago. We spend about 3 full days in training going through that excerpt and analyzing student responses. It made us all want to read the book because the excerpt was enough to whet our appetites. There are several members of my book club who thoroughly enjoyed this novel, so don’t assume that it’s a bad book. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. If you like stories with rich, in-depth, realistic, flawed characters then you would probably love it. My biggest issue with this one was the lack of any real plot. There was a clear beginning but no real end. Erdrich didn’t even seem to be leading toward any end. I need a story with great characters, but I also need it to have. . . well. . . a story. Also – and this is just personal preference – I didn’t like any of the characters.
I read this book for two reasons. The first was that it was recommended to me by a friend and colleague. She recommended it based on the fact that I love books like 1984, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451. The second reason I read this is because there is a chance I might be teaching it next year. This is more of a novella than a full-fledged novel. The plot and structure are very simple, but the themes are very in-depth and thought provoking. It was such a quick and easy read and I enjoyed it. This story, like most in the dystopian future genre, deals with the dangers of a society that discourages individuality.
6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I switched gears a little with this one. I decided I wanted an easy read after a couple of deep, philosophical reads. This one has been in my Kindle for awhile and I just never got around to reading it. It’s the first in a series. I haven’t decided yet if I want to continue reading the series. I don’t know if Maas intended to base her story loosely around the story of Beauty and the Beast, but it definitely has that feel to it. “Beast-ish” type male captures pretty girl and takes her to live on his huge estate. Girl falls in love with guy, chaos ensues. Granted, it’s not that simple. Maas ups the game a little with this one. Beauty has to save the Beast, but not in the way you might think. I did enjoy it, but the writing is only OK and there are a couple of slightly racy parts. So, keep that in mind.
7. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
The main reason I read this one is because I want to see the movie. I want to see the movie because it has Emilia Clarke in it, and I love the Mother of Dragons. I will read just about any book in almost any genre, but I’ll admit that sappy romance drama is not my favorite kind of book to read. I grew out of Nicholas Sparks-type novels a long time ago. It’s why I’ve never read anything by John Green. However, I decided to give this one a try and I’ll admit I’m torn. I liked the book. I devoured it in just a couple of days, but the more I think about the storyline the more I question whether or not I really did like it. First of all, I figured out the ending by page 5. I can’t really get into much else without giving away spoilers, so you’ll have to read it and decide for yourself. If you do, let me know and we can have a chat about it, because this book definitely fosters some intense conversation.
That’s all for now. The next book club book is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I’ve read that book before, so it probably won’t make it on this list series, but it’s worth the read, trust me. Everyone I know (so far) who has read it has liked it, regardless of the genre you prefer. My husband strictly reads non-fiction when he reads at all and even he loved it. Plus, there is a movie coming out soon.
I’m about to start East of Eden by John Steinbeck. It’s a big one. Keep checking in, and if you have any book suggestions leave me a comment!