Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Reading List

I am an avid reader and when I'm not busy with school I like to indulge in as many books as I can. Here is a list of the books I've read so far this summer and a short, simple review.

The Art of Racing in the Rain
Garth Stein

This book was a very fun read. It's a story of a young man, Denny and his trials and tribulations with family and work. Denny is an upcoming race car driver who has to deal with balancing his family and his dream, the loss of his wife, and a heart wrenching custody battle for his little girl. The story is narrated by Denny's dog Enzo, who feels he is more human than dog. This book will make you think, cry, and laugh out loud. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. 

Water for Elephants
Sara Gruen
I LOVED this book! It takes you back in time (the 1930's) to when the circus traveled by train across the country. The story is told from two perspectives. The first from a young, nearly veterinarian in his early 20's who lost everything and joined the circus, caring for the animals. The second from a grouchy old man, stuck in a nursing home and hating every minute of it. Although this book is fiction, Gruen did extensive research on the circus of this era and many of the situations that occur in the book are stories from people who actually experienced working for the circus in the 1930's. This is a love story and an interesting insight to how difficult it was to work in a circus, especially if you weren't in the show. I highly recommend this book! 5 out of 5 stars! 

Emma  Donoghue 

Apparently I love books with unusual narrators. Room is narrated by a 5 year old boy, Jack. Jack lives in Room with Ma. At first this book is a little difficult to read. Jack sometimes doesn't use pronouns or adverbs. Instead of "the" room or "a" room, it's written as "room". Jack's Ma is being held captive by "Old Nick". They live in a shed in Old Nick's backyard which is what they call "room". This book is about what it is like for them to live in such a small world and what happens when their world expands. This book is very tastefully written and although the subject matter is a little tough, it isn't one of those books that constantly makes you cringe. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. 

Flowers in the Attic
Virginia Andrews

I read this book after I read Room because in a interview at the end of the book Room Donoghue references Flowers in the Attic. This book was very hard for me to read. The book is narrated by the oldest girl, Cathy. Cathy has a very happy family life. Mother, Father, older brother Chris and younger twin siblings Corey and Carrie. After Father dies, Mother whisks the family off to live with their rich Grandparents in hopes of mending a broken relationship and getting back into the will. The dying Grandfather does not know about the children and cannot know about the children because if he finds out, he will definitely not put his daughter back in the will. The children must hide at their Grandparents house in a small room with an attached attic. Although their Mother assures them they will not be trapped in that room for long, as the weeks turn to months and the months turn to years they begin to realize they may never get out. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. 

Something Borrowed
Emily Griffin 

I am always a fan of reading books they turn into movies. I have seen this book on the shelves for years but it wasn't until I saw the previews for the movie that I decided to give it a try. This story is about a girl (Rachel) who is very smart but very forgettable. Her best friend (Darcy) is one of those girls every guy wants to date and every girl wants to be. Rachel has her life all mapped out. She went to law school, got her degree, and is working at a firm she hates. Her life starts to slip off track at her birthday party when Darcy's fiancée (a guy she went to law school with) goes home with her. Rachel thinks it was just one big mistake but Dex, Darcy's fiancée, makes it clear that for him, it wasn't a mistake. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It is funny, witty, and very entertaining. 

A Stolen Life: A Memoir 
Jaycee Dugard

I choose this book mainly because of the hype. I think it is terrible what Jaycee Dugard went though and I really wanted to hear what she had to say about it. Her story is touching but it wasn't a great read. Her life literally was stollen from her when she was 11 years old and she spend 18 years doing absolutely nothing in her captor's backyard. Her life soon revolved around animals and her children. I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars. 

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is set in the future. There was a world war that divided the world into districts. Everyone is very poor and it kind of has a "Big Brother is watching you" feel to it. There are strict rules that must be followed by each district or the "Capitol" will punish you. When the children of the districts turn 12, and every year thereafter until they are 18, their name gets dropped into a raffle. A boy and a girl from each district is chosen from the raffle drawling to fight in the hunger games. The children must fight each other to the death until only one person remains. The story is about what it is like to live in this time and experience fighting in the hunger games. It is hard to write a review for this book without giving to much away. It's a great book and a three part series. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. 

The Help
Kathryn Stockett

I really enjoyed reading this book. This is another one that I've seen on the shelves but didn't buy until I saw the previews for the movie. The story was a great one. It tells what it was like to be a woman in the early to mid 1960's. This books has many perspectives and really tells a great story. I would have given this book 5 out of 5 stars had it not been for the ended. It wasn't that I didn't like what happened in the end, I just felt like the author had a solid story the whole way through the book and it felt like at the end of the book she kind of gave up and got lazy. It didn't feel as strong towards the end of the book. I do recommend reading this book and I am excited to see the movie... when it comes out on DVD. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. 

I hope you like my extremely amateur book reviews and if you have any suggestions for my next summer read I would love to hear it! Also I would love to hear other peoples opinions of the books on my list so if you have read any of these books, tell me your thoughts. 

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