Reading Wrap-up April 2021

Last month was a pretty busy one for me with college finals, but not only did all my finals go well, but I was also able to read 12 books. Even better, I had only two one and two star books, and several five star reads, which is rare for me! So, without further ado, let’s get into the books I read.

1 Star

Book Cover
  • The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee (released 2016)
    • If you like things like Gossip Girl or any teen angsty drama with no rationality and every teen sleeping with every other teen, this is the book for you. However, if you were hoping for a compelling dystopian mystery about unraveling why a girl fell a thousand stories to her death like I was hoping for, just skip this book. Not only could I not stand any of the characters because they each felt like teen angsty tropes, but pretty much nothing happened in this book besides characters participating in drama. I was really disappointed in this book.

2 Stars

Book Cover
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg Larsson
    • I have a feeling that my thoughts on this book are going to be less than popular, because I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. And part of the reason I wasn’t a big fan was because of just my personal taste in books. But that didn’t stop me from being disappointed. The mystery was interesting enough, and I enjoyed the darker nature of it. However, I disliked both Lisbeth and Mikael so much. Lisbeth is a horrible human being. You can understand partially why because of the abuse she suffered, but that doesn’t make her more likeable. Mikael sleeps with pretty much every girl he meets…which was great. In fact, I can probably pick only two characters in this book I actually enjoyed and both of them were more background characters. Concerning the mystery, while it wasn’t bad, I won’t say it was the most unique conclusion I’ve read. Without giving away spoilers, I found it a bit predictable and the twistedness not really hinted at well earlier in the book. Not a horrible mystery, but because I didn’t like the main characters, I won’t be continuing on in this series.

3 Stars

  • The Case For Christ by Lee Strober (released 1998)
    • I had extreme mixed feelings about this book. I’m a Christian myself, and one who loves researching this Historical Jesus vs. the Biblical Jesus. I say this, because I feel like this book should have been an easy win for me, as it simply reaffirms my Christian beliefs. However, I honestly didn’t find it all that convincing. I’ve read many better books analyzing the arguments for and against the existence and divinity of Jesus Christ, and this was one just mediocre. It is organized into a bunch of interviews Strobel had with different Christian experts. In this I felt was the weakness of the book, because not once does the book take serious consideration for arguments against the general Christian beliefs. Strobel himself, even though he was an atheist, was never an expert in ancient and Biblical teaching, so many of his questions to the experts felt surface level. I guess I just wanted a deeper dive instead of a shallow analysis of the historical reasoning in believing in Jesus Christ. It wasn’t a bad book for someone who knows nothing about religion, but it wasn’t a great book that I can see, if I had not been Christian, convincing me to become Christian.
  • The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix (released 2020)
    • On one hand, I loved the more realistic, but gritty view of a vampire in this book. This depiction of vampires is much more akin to a modern Dracula as opposed to sparkly, idealized Edward. Saying that, this book was also so frustrating with the stupidity of many of the characters, especially the male characters. In fact, pretty much every male character is either stupid or evil. Because of that, even if I loved the idea of a book club having to take on a vampire who comes into their town, the execution at times was just plain frustrating and unrealistic. However, the building of tension was done well.
  • Colonial American History edited by Kristin Fischer and Eric Hinderaker (released 2002)
    • This is a collection of essays and short primary sources about topics surrounding the colonial era in America, including things like Indian wars and Puritan religions. While it was interesting enough, it is more of a specific reference book if you are writing about a few colonial topics, instead of a history of the colonial era. The topics are pretty narrow with clear biases.

4 Stars

  • Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton (released 1948)
  • Russian War Films: On the Cinema Front, 1914-2005 by Denise J. Youngblood (released 2006)
    • I was assigned to read this book for a college class I had on Russian War Films, and I really enjoyed it. Not only does it take a deep dive in how film changed over the 20th century with the rise and eventual fall of the Soviet Union, but it also breaks apart specific themes and styles in Russian movies which mostly centered around WWII, known in Russia through the 20th century as the Great Patriotic War. The book touches on government censorship, different types of war films, and changing norms in Russian films. While I didn’t always agree with Youngblood’s opinion on specific films, this book is highly informative if you’re curious to learn more about the history of Russian films.
  • Sewing Made Easy by Mary Lynch (released 1951) (no cover picture available)
    • This is a very good reference book if you are interested in old-fashioned sewing. I’ve been sewing for two decades, so most of the things contained in this book were things either I learned through trial and error and through my mother’s teaching. So if you find a copy of this vintage sewing book and want to get into sewing, I highly recommend it!

5 Stars

  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (released 2007)
    • This is a beautiful but horrific memoir about Beah when he was 12, forced to become a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone in Africa. It’s a pretty horrific story to read, with a lot of descriptions of violence, but it is also incredibly important. This civil war took place in the 1990s, which is far too close to our current times. It documents Beah’s psychological loss of innocence and how he was high on drugs as a soldier to be able to kill people. It’s a horrific story, but I also found it beautiful and moving to read. And, unlike so many child soldiers who fought alongside him, Ishmael Beah was able to escape.
  • The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings #2) by J.R.R. Tolkien (released 1954)
    • I cannot gush about this book enough. I had mixed feeling at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, because it does start off a bit slow. But this book is engaging from beginning to the end. I grew up watching the movies, and I loved to notice so many details with in the books which weren’t in the movies, as well as complexity in characters not seen in the movie. Saruman is a much more complex character in the book, where you can see him teetering between good and evil. A brilliant book filled with power morals, and I adored it!
  • The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings #3) by J.R.R. Tolkien (released 1955)
    • Such an amazing conclusion to this great trilogy! Unlike the first two books, this one is perhaps the one which is missing the most from the movies. I loved Eowyn and Faramir’s romance, and the fight for the Shire near the end. There is so much to love about this book, both on a moral level and a fanciful level. The world is brilliantly done, though I admit that so much of the names for things were impossible to pronounce. The characters were complex for being such an epic story of good and evil. A must read for every fantasy or classic reader! And I’m glad I finally got around to reading it.
  • As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes and Joe Lyden (released 2014)
    • Being a massive fan of The Princess Bride since childhood, I adored this book! It is filled with so many cute stories of the pre-production, filming, and reception of The Princess Bride. There are not only so many interviews with other cast members as well as Elwes’s story, but the narrative flows well as I got to understand the behind the scenes so much better. I also listened to this on audiobook and most of the original cast actually read their interviews from this book, making listening to it even more meaningful. If you love The Princess Bride, and I highly recommend you read this book!

So there are the books that I read this month. Even with finals, I think it was a really good reading month. Have you read any of these books? Do any of them look interesting to you? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, thank you so much for reading, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Anne

7 thoughts on “Reading Wrap-up April 2021

  1. Great wrap up! I felt the same about The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. The characters were incredibly frustrating. The moment I lost it was when she signed on a bank account with a complete stranger. I mean really!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s