Last month we introduced the reading challenge from POPSUGAR that several of the DG book babes have committed to for the year 2015. Check out the progress we’ve made in month two of the challenge! You can also use this post for ideas of books to read for each category if you are doing the challenge yourself.
A book published this year- Trees by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard — I loved this! See my full review here.
A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet- The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber– again, a book I’ve already reviewed. My full review is here. I love Ms. Hieber’s Magic Most Foul series, and I’m very intrigued by where this new series is going to go!
A book with antonyms in the title- The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani– This book surprised me quite a bit. I totally thought I had the plot pegged, I was wrong. Parts of this book were really slow, but it was interesting enough to keep me going. I’m listening to the sequel right now, and it’s definitely better. I have many thoughts on this series, but I’m going to wait until I’ve read both all the way through before I write an article on them.
A book with bad reviews- A Grimm Legacy by Janna Jennings– I read an ARC of this book on Netgalley, or what I hope is an ARC, because the editing was awful. If this is the published book (it came out two years ago), the bad reviews are wholly deserved. Basically, kids are magically abducted from our world and brought to a fairy tale world that is anachronistic and bizarre. The story was too disjointed for me to be a big fan.
A book with magic- Unwritten Volume 2 by Mike Carey and Peter Gross– If you read our January update, I was on the fence about this series. At the end of this volume, I am decidedly uninterested in continuing. It wasn’t bad, and it’s super cool that there’s a comic book series based on literary references, but it just didn’t hold my interest.
A trilogy — Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth — I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first book in January, and read the next two this month. Insurgent felt a little predictable, but Allegiant still managed to surprise, so I have no regrets about reading the whole trilogy. In some ways I appreciated the final twist in Allegiant because it wasn’t what I’m used to in YA series. There was no happily ever after for all of our heroes, and that’s powerful, and real.
A book that came out the year you were born/A book by an author you’ve never read before — How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez — At the time of writing I haven’t quite finished this, but I will be done with it before the end of the month, so I’m including it in the February update. I’m enjoying the backward storytelling, following the four Garcia girls from adulthood back to childhood. While initially I struggled the tell them apart, their voices have become clearer as the novel progresses.
A book a friend recommended — Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady by L.A. Meyer — this is the second installment of the Bloody Jack series about a young girl who passes herself off as a boy to work on board a navy ship and gets up to all sorts of timber-shivering adventures. Back in September when I wrote up a list of pirate books, I asked a friend of mine who leads a secret life as a pirate queen for some nautical suggestions. She told me of the Bloody Jack series that she loved as a kid and recommended them with enthusiasm. These books are geared towards a mid-grade audience, but I enjoyed them as an adult nonetheless. The main character is spunky and likable and the plot is compelling. I especially suggest listening to it on audiobook so you can get the full experience of the Cheapside accent and musical sailor ditties.
A book based on a true story — People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks — I was looking for a happy book about the Jewish people for my grandmother who enjoys reading about her own heritage, but has the unfortunate tendency to gravitate towards Holocaust memoirs and nonfiction books about the history of anti-semitism through the ages. This was not the happy book I was looking for, but still an interesting read. It is a work of historical fiction based loosely on the true account of a book called the Sarajevo Haggadah. This mysterious book is an illustrated manuscript of the text used in the Passover ceremony, and it was created in a time when it was believed that Jews did not employ human images in their art the way their Gentile neighbors did. In the novel, rare book expert Hanna Heath is called on to prepare the book for display in a Bosnian museum, and unravels the amazing story of the many hands and settings that allowed the book to survive through centuries of violence and disorder.
A book you can finish in a day — Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice by Kathleen Benner Duble — I did not, in fact, finish this book in a day, but I could for it is only 200 pages. The plot wasn’t quite compelling enough to glue me to my seat long enough to finish it in one sitting, but it was a cute story. It tells the story of a French revolutionary girl with a talent for art that ends up apprenticed to Madame Tussaud of the famous wax museum. Her work brings her into direct contact with the politics of the French Revolution and while she once dreamed of overturning the societal structure that failed her family, she is repulsed by the violence of the revolution, which she is forced to depict in her art. An interesting piece of historical fiction about a time I knew little about, it was a good way to quickly knock another book out on my pledge to read 100 books in one year.
A graphic novel — Tomie Volume 1 by Junji Ito — I read this manga for a project in a class on Japanese ghosts and monsters. It is a horror manga by Junji Ito, which documents the victims of a murdered school-girl-turned-ghost/monster, who bewitches young men to do her bidding and brings death to those around her. Ever since her dismemberment at the hands of her schoolmates, she has the uncanny ability to come back to life and regenerate from smaller pieces, infesting the world with numerous dangerous little Tomies. I’m used to reading romantic shojo manga or adventurous shonen manga, so this introduction to the horror manga genre was an interesting experience.
A book that was originally written in a different language — Lust, Caution by Eileen Chang — I first came across this work while doing research on qipao, the iconic traditional Chinese dress. Apparently the movie adaptation is known for its costuming. It is long for a short story, short for a novel, at about 100 pages or an hour of audio book. The author, Eileen Chang, is one of the most famous modern Chinese authors in the West. A literary prodigy, she published numerous works beginning at a young age, in both Chinese and English. Lust, Caution was one of those originally in Chinese. It recounts the experience of a young female spy during the Japanese occupation of China. Wong Chia Chi works her way into the confidence (and bed) of Mr. Yee, a powerful man in the Japanese occupational government and enemy to the resistance movement. Her job is to set him up for an assassination attempt. But after such intimacy, can she condemn him to his death? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
Got any suggestions for books in our remaining categories? Or maybe just words of encouragement? Want to share your own progress? Please talk to us in the comments below!