Wednesday, March 7, 2012

February Reads

We're already a week into March (can you believe it?) so I figured if I was going to post my February reads it was now or never.
Freshman for President by Ally Condie--Milo Wright is a high school Freshman who is tired of flying under the radar so he decides to run for POTUS with his best friend Eden as his running mate. I got this book for a steal so I gave it to Stretch for Christmas and he really liked it so I read it on his recommendation. Yeah, it was a little cheesy, but I liked it. I was skeptical at first. I know basic civics and I wasn't sure how the author was going to pull off the premise and have the book still be realistic/somewhat accurate. I thought she did a great job and  also addressed some teen issues and inserted some good clean humor here and there. This book was a pretty easy read and I really liked the characters. It was especially fun and a refreshing break from reality to read it during this election year. (*** Three stars--I liked it)

 The Death Cure by James Dashner--The third installment in The Maze Runner trilogy. It was just okay for me, especially when examined under the lens of some of the other post-apocalyptic things I've read (Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart). The ending wasn't exactly what I was hoping for--a little too much Deus ex machina-type tidiness. I still think the first book was the best in the series. (**Two stars--It was okay)

 Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen--You need to understand something about me. I am just liked my Grandma Carter in that immediately after I finish watching a movie or reading a book I love it. I think maybe it is the experience of being drawn into that other world (and making imaginary friends) that appeals to me so much. After I have time to ruminate on the book/movie though, I often change my mind. For books to have a lasting effect on me they must meet certain criteria: 1.) they need to make me think, 2.) they need to be memorable, 3.) the language must be beautiful, the writing well done, 4.) I need to really love the characters, setting or plot. If I love all three of those things, even better.

Initially I was going to give this book four stars. It is a fun read. I liked the characters. I really liked the setting. But when I really thought about it, I realized that reading this book is the mental equivalent of laying on the couch with a bag of Cheetos watching reality TV. Plus it ventures into the realm of cheesy romance a little more than I am generally comfortable with. Entertaining and enjoyable? Yeah. Memorable? Moving? Stimulating? Nope.  (**Two and a half stars--I liked it. Mostly).

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell--I was surprised by this book. Gladwell takes things like marketing, business and statistics and examines them from a sociological/psychological point of view with fascinating results. It isn't all hard and fast truth but he presents interesting and thought provoking ideas and I found myself sharing things that I had learned from it  in many of the conversations I've had in the last month. It is a fairly straight forward read but it isn't necessarily a fast read. It took me the better part of the month to get through it. In particular, I thought the last chapter seemed to drag on. Overall though I really enjoyed the way it got my mind working and how I could relate a lot of the ideas to my own life and things that I've observed in the world around me. I've heard good things about Gladwell's book Outliers as well so I'm moving that up on my to-read list now that I know I enjoy his style of writing. (****Four stars--I really liked it).

That's it for February. What did you read? What's waiting on your nightstand? Share with me in the comments. I can always use some good book recommendations.


Jana said...

Jill, have you read Matched by Allie Condie? It's the first of a trilogy, and it's pretty fun. Other than that, I just finished the first Prelude to Glory book, and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I've read the Tipping Point, and really liked it.

Amy said...

If you liked Gladwell well enough, I bet you'd love Freakonomics. I did!

Aaron Matthews said...

I just started reading Outliers and it is pretty good. I'll put The Tipping Point on my reading list. Thanks!

mctrovato said...

Loved The Tipping Point - and Outliers. Gladwell is fantastic; his ideas and insight makes for fast paced reading. I've read a little of Outliers with my 11 year old - he thoroughly enjoyed the story about the Beatles now that he is learning guitar. Blink is fantastic as well.

If you are a dystopia fan, have you read Into The Forest by Jean Hegland? Our local librarians handed me a copy today and I can't put it down. 5 stars.

Thank you for the recommendation on Freshman For President - not at our library just yet. Hopefully soon!

Predilections said...

It's on my to-read list. My husband got it several years ago (I read the chapter on baby names before we had our last child) but I haven't taken the time to read it all yet. This year for sure. :)

Predilections said...

I've heard lots of good things about Matched and actually looked for it last time I was at our library but it was checked out. I may have to put a hold on it if I ever want to read it. :) How did you like The Last Lecture?