Friday, February 01, 2013

January Reads

What have YOU been reading? TELL ME and I'll tell you what I've been reading. OK, ok, I will tell you anyway. :-)

Keeping track of what I read helps me in quite a few ways. I've been using a spreadsheet to log all the books I've read for about ten years now. For 2013, I've added a couple new categories to the information I save - number of pages which I wish I had done ten years ago and book format which there was no need for ten years ago since everything I read then was a print book. Nowadays I read books on the Kindle (or on my phone) and in print format, as well as listen to lots of audiobooks. 

Number of books finished in January: 4 (1 print, 2 Kindle, 1 audio)
Number of pages read in January: 2,056
Note: this figure is actually number of pages of books FINISHED in January, but more accurate recordkeeping is beyond me at this point. Besides, I also start new books each month that don't get finished, so it will all even out eventually

The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-Earth for Dummies by Greg Harvey (print) 
Thorough and clear explanations of the creatures, languages, geography, and history of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, setting of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and other Tolkien writings including The Silmarillion. Harvey discusses Tolkien's sources and inspirations as well as themes and morality. 
Excellent - I've owned this for a long time and pulled it off the shelf after viewing the new Hobbit movie in December. If you are a Tolkien geek, you should read this! I learned a lot and now I definitely want to finish reading The Silmarillion!

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, translated by Charles E. Wilbour (audio)  
Convict Jean-Valjean struggles to escape his past and reaffirm his humanity in a world brutalized by poverty and ignorance.
(copied from Amazon)
Excellent and Poor - Such wild inconsistency from Victor Hugo. Novels were just written so very differently in the mid-1800's. Whole chapters on Parisian street slang, the battle of Waterloo and the sewers under the streets of Paris contained no action related to the plot at all. After a while, I skimmed through those types of chapters. The story itself is compelling and well-written. I am glad I read it, but I think I'd recommend an abridged version to most readers. This was our January book club selection.

Walking with Bilbo: A Devotional Adventure through the Hobbit by Sarah Arthur (Kindle) 
A devotional book that guides readers through parallels between Bilbo Baggins' adventures in The Hobbit and our own Christian walks. 
Excellent - This was a Kindle freebie but I was really glad to have it to accompany my reading of The Hobbit (December book club choice. Sarah Arthur draws many parallels between the actions of Tolkien's characters and our Christian walk. 




The Freedom Writers' Diary by Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers (Kindle) 
New teacher Erin Gruwell ends up teaching the most hopeless students in Long Beach, CA, but motivates them through journal writing and parallels to history, such as Anne Frank's story.
Excellent - My sisters and my mom and I decided to read a book together and have our own "book club" at our annual get-together. The Freedom Writers' Diary was our choice. The book consists of diary entries written by real high school students in California. Struggles, triumphs, difficulties -all spelled out on the page. Ms. Gruwell's English classes originally consisted of low-achieving low-income students that the school had given up on. She challenged them to succeed - and they did! We are going to watch the movie of the same name.

So, go read something! I want to hear all about it!