Recent Reads

My goal is to read at least 52 books this year.  I just made it to 50 last year.  More than the number, I would like to read a little more consistently rather than in huge reading jags every so often.

I’m already on track since I’ve finished two books!  I really like literary fiction.  The last few years, I’ve read a lot of newer books that have won awards so two sub-goals I have for the year are one non-fiction book a month and reading a few classic classics (no set number for this).  The first classic I want to read is Dr. Zhivago.

A Bend in the Stars by [Barenbaum, Rachel]

Ok, so, the first book I read was A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum.  It falls squarely in the WWII fiction canon.  The book is fine but not nearly as good as Fire In the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky or The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  The second half picked up after some clunky writing in the beginning.  The main character (a woman surgeon) had the habit of making incredibly stupid decisions repeatedly in the book. While I can assure you that women surgeons can make stupid decisions multiple times, it seemed more like an awkward plot device and interrupted the flow of the novel.

Wow, I’m really selling this novel.  Look, it’s ok.  Not a waste of time but there are a lot of other, better books to read.  I read it for a book club.  3 stars out of 5.  The end.

But wait!  It’s not the end because I have a second book to discuss!

My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One by [Ferrante, Elena]

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante should almost count as a classic classic since worldwide, it’s an incredibly successful book.  I have heard this is the slowest of the four books and I certainly hope so.  The book was amazing in writing from the completely believable perspective of a child/pre-teen/teen as the narrator grew up over the time course of several years.   Remember when you were a kid and you understood the world but were ever so vaguely aware that there were a lot of things you weren’t getting but your world was still complete?  This book captures this perfectly.  4 out of 5 stars, but I’m going to keep going with the series.