I got really behind on writing reviews, so I skipped last month’s update. That means this month is a two-for-one. I’ve read a lot of great books recently, which is one reason why I can’t keep up with the reviews. It certainly takes longer to write about a book I loved than a book I hated.
I’ve started buying and reading Penguin Classics editions as a way to motivate myself to read more classic literature. I love the looks of these books. They usually have a beautiful piece of art on the cover, and the black spines with the thin white band look very nice lined up on the shelf. They’re also inexpensive editions, which makes me feel less guilty about collecting them. The footnotes are very informative and help add historical context to the story. It is nice to go back and read the classics when you don’t have to — when you’re not studying them in school — so that you can really appreciate the story and writing for their own merits.
In August, I read a whopping seven books, including two of the Penguin Classics, and I abandoned one book. We took a couple of mini-vacations in August, so that accounts for a lot of my reading. Four books got four stars: the science fiction classics Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick and Gateway by Frederick Pohl; and The War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (both Penguin Classics). The other three books weren’t bad, each getting three stars: Pao by Kerry Young, an historical fiction novel set in Jamaica’s Chinatown; another sci fi classic, Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, which didn’t have enough plot to get up to four stars; and a somewhat far-fetched but still entertaining apocalyptic novel, Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh. The book I abandoned was Psycho by Robert Bloch, which really should not be read by fans of the Hitchcock movie.
In September I read a more reasonable four books and abandoned one. Every book I finished this month got 4 stars, so I call that a great reading month. Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card is an interesting read for fans of Ender’s Game, although not quite as good. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham is an entertaining post-apocalyptic novel that suffers from a little too much philosophizing at the end. I read the Penguin Classics edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, which gave me a lot of insight into this classic story. Finally, I finished a great book about reading and homage to the gothic novel, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, which I highly recommend to anyone who loves to read. I abandoned Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart because it just failed to capture my interest.
Whew, those are a lot of books. Please read my reviews, linked below, and let me know your thoughts.
Roundup: 11 books read and 2 abandoned over 2 months. Click the titles below for my full reviews or reading notes (some links will take you off this site). My rating scale is explained here.