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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Books of March 2015

I slacked off in March. While I read four "real" books (not a graphic novel or audiobook in sight!) it took me a very long time to get through my last book. In the end, March is a four book month which, while it sticks with my general goal of a book a week, still falls a bit short of my normal progress.

March included my first non-trail 10k, first race volunteer stint, higher weekend miles, no work trips, and some other things I honestly can't remember. It felt like the longest month in recent memory. I guess between not reading much and not being intensely busy, I've had a bit of a chance to recover from my months and months of non-stop stuff and now I'm ready to be a functioning member of society! 

Let's look at the books:

Finished March 6, 2015
by Cheryl Strayed 

Review: 4 / 5 
Made me want to hike the PCT. I'm surely more prepared than the author! It's definitely a pity party, but probably less self-indulgent than Eat Pray Love. I'm not sure I got the ultimate result of her trip (what she quickly summarizes in about five sentences at the end), but I found it to be a pretty interesting tale. 

Cheryl made me extremely mad at times. I could (mostly) overlook her pre-trip recklessness, martyrdom, and drug use, but the thing that drove me wild was her inability to budget. She rarely needs money on this trip. I can remember three examples of her pouting about being broke before her next re supply box, then spending her last few dollars on something she doesn't need. Also, her blind trust in weirdos kind of freaked me out. 

While I'd love to hike for months (and I think I could, even though it would suck most days), I can't get over my fear of The Other. Creepy dudes, creepy chicks, mauling bears. On that front, she was blindly brave and it worked to her advantage!

I'm excited to watch the movie. 

Finished March 12, 2015
by Lois Lowry

Review: 4 / 5 
Once I had time to read, I flew through the last half of this novel. I forgot a lot from book two (which I read in 2012) and had to go back for a refresher. Once caught up, I thought it was interesting how all of the past characters intersected. I never felt like The Giver was very magical when I was younger, but I suppose that was an oversight on my part as this world appears to be slightly fantastical. 

Anyway, another good story. Probably better than book two (Gathering Blue). I'll read book four before I forget anything else! I'd recommend these novels to anyone who loved The Giver and wants a few quick, quality reads.

Finished March 16, 2015
by Lois Lowry

Review: 4 / 5 
Hmm. I didn't like this as much as everyone else, but it was a good story. I've realized I enjoy reading about the original community (found in The Giver) the most and I really flew through the first part. (I'd probably read a billion of these if we could learn just a little bit more about each village, but I know that's not really the point.)

I really loved The Giver in Junior High and I'm not sure the final three books live up to that (they feel like an afterthought, but a well written one!). In the end, I appreciate the series. Much better than the three-novel YA crap I keep getting sucked in to. 

Finished March 31, 2015
by Shirley Jackson

Review: 4 / 5 
I read "The Lottery" in high school, but that's where my Shirley Jackson experience ended. For years I searched Half Price Books for a Shirley Jackson collection and finally came across this book. It's a great set with a mysterious shared character and themes of mental instability, racism, and conformity. 

It took me a long while to get through the entire book as I'd only read one or two at a time to keep them from blending together. Occasionally, I read an online study guide with summary and analysis of each story. I found this helped me verify the deeper meaning (and keep my long-forgotten analytical reading skills in check.) ;) 

While I would recommend the collection, I have a hard time with short stories: I appreciate each story, but unless I go back to each individual entry multiple times, I forget most almost as soon as I've finished.

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As always, these reviews were ripped from my Goodreads

What did you read in March? 
What are you reading now? 

What I'm looking forward to:  I have no idea. I will not be reading another short story collection for a while. I'd like to find something I can't put down. Anything to keep me off my phone at night...  

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