Books read in 2014 Q1

Time flies! The first quarter of 2014 is behind us already. I am glad finally there is no snow on the ground, but the pollen in the air is causing some discomfort. Well, spring is coming no matter what! 🙂

I decided to post a list of books that I read each quarter. My goal is to finish (as opposed to start) reading 40 books in 2014. I managed to finish 10 in the first quarter, right on track to reach the goal if I can keep it up!

  1. The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo
  2. The English Assassin by Daniel Silva
  3. Can’t Remember What I Forgot: The Good News from the Front Lines of Memory Research by Sue Halpern
  4. The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono
  5. The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys: The True Story by Dean King
  6. The Litigators by John Grisham
  7. Monster by Frank Peretti
  8. Fingerprints of God: What Science Is Learning about the Brain and Spiritual Experience by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
  9. Nothing to Lose by Lee Child
  10. The Casual Vacancy by J.K.Rowling

I don’t regret spending time on any of these books, but none of them makes me want to highly recommend to others either. All in all, I learned some facts and enjoyed some stories. Hopefully I can recommend a book or two from the next quarter’s list…

Books 2014Q1

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mini book review – “The Casual Vacancy”

…by J.K.Rowling. I, like everybody else, picked up this book because she is the author. I didn’t know what to expect other than that it is a ‘big novel about a small town’, and that it shouldn’t be compared to Harry Potter stories.

The sudden death of Barry Fairbrother left the town of Pagford in shock. Then the slow unfolding of the town’s history helped me understand why people reacted so differently to this tragedy. The empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon became the catalyst for a war – as several candidates prepared for the election, hidden grudges came to the surface, dirty secrets were revealed, and many lives took a downward spiral.

Rowling is a very good storyteller. She successfully built up the rather intricate relationships and conflicts within and among families. I was hooked even though I didn’t like any of the characters (except maybe the dead Barry). I didn’t enjoy this book – the stories were too dark/disturbing and some language was unnecessarily gross, but I did experience it. I wish I could get in there to shake some sense into people, to help them, or to kill them. There were times I dreaded continuing because I didn’t want to see these people doing despicable things to ruin themselves and others. These gossipy, selfish, irresponsible, spiteful people made me cringe, because they felt so real. The war ended at last – some came out of it a better person, some were forever lost.

Even without the Harry Potter books, I would still say J.K.Rowling is a great writer based on this book alone. I couldn’t decide whether I like this book or not, but I do know that I will remember it for a very long time.