Monday, February 8, 2016

What I Read in January

Well, January was a strong, beautiful start to my read 52 books this year challenge with five marked off the list in no time. I actually managed to work my way through 2 and a half audiobooks (one that'll be reviewed for February because I've still got a large chunk to listen through).

I feel like I'm more critical this year -or at least this month. I struggled with boredom and lack of depth in several of the books. Maybe I crave poignancy after the emotional few months filled with big life events over the last three months. Regardless, here's my thoughts and reviews about January's reads:

This was hard to make it through. I know that sounds the opposite of three and a half stars, but -truth be told- this was one of those books that is so sad, so tragic, that you can't stop reading despite your deepest desire to do otherwise. You read because you need to know that it's going to be better, to end well, to be more than just a really, deeply sad story. You read so you can sleep with the knowledge of someone's happily ever after. 

And it did. It came out at the same time James Frey's A Million Little Pieces made it's entrance onto the reading scene, but I'd never picked it up. I knew there was going to be talk of drug addiction and alcohol dependency. But I wasn't aware of how tragic a single person's life could be. I had no clue I could hold such hope for a woman I don't know, a woman who's life resulted in a bestselling beautiful book, but I did. Oh how I did.

I couldn't make it through this one. I've tried twice -once from our local library, a second I purchased from Amazon. While the language is beautiful -I was introduced to new words that I loved-, the writing confused me. I found myself reading pages over and over again in an attempt to understand who was talking and what in the world they were talking about. I wanted to understand, to slowly gain an awareness of Wilbanks' writing style but no. No beans or better understanding for me.

And so, I put it down after a lively Twitter chat about how many pages you owe a book before you toss it by the wayside.

Goodness I wanted to love this one. I wanted to be deeply invested in Kitty and her recovery from the list of tragedies that life served her in a single swoop. But Ahern just couldn't get the story moving fast enough for me. The characters weren't deep and rich, so I hoped the plot could pull me into the depths of caring. It couldn't. I just didn't connect or care, but instead worked to get through the book.

The redeeming value was Kitty's conversation with another character about the death of his wife. A few poignant lines resulted. Lines that were applicable and beautiful in the context of my own life (and the loss of my dad), so I couldn't drop below the half way mark. This is an easy read and maybe would have ranked higher if I'd been lounging poolside in my bikini. Alas, I was not and the book ranks middle of the road.

I read this one for #Collaboreads. You can check my feelings out over here. Did you see that February's challenge is to read a classic novel?

When I saw this book in Blogging for Books listings for review I was thrilled. First, I hadn't heard of it. Second, it is PERFECT for my month of February goal. So, they kindly sent it my way for review and what a wonder. This isn't your typical watercolor for beginners publication, but is, in fact, a gorgeous collection of art for you to peruse. Each piece credits the artist and covers a skill or tactic used to apply the paint to paper.

I found myself thrilled at the turn of each page because I had no clue watercolor was so diverse (seriously, I've always thought it couldn't be clean, tight lines on watercolor pieces.) The beauty and practicality found throughout the book kept me turning page after page. I don't know that this would be for everyone, but it's certainly for the bible journaler, the painter, the art lover in your life.

Why'd a dock it half a star? Because I wanted this to be bigger so I could keep it on my coffee table as a conversation piece. It's too small for that, more of the size of a picture, and that's just not big enough for my coffee table book goals.

* I received this book from the Blogging for Books program for review.

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