Recent Reads is a new series I am going to try for 2018. Part of why I sucked at blogging during the last quarter (half?) of 2017 was that I was very overwhelmed by the amount of books I was reading, the lack of notes I took while reading, and the pressure I was putting on myself to review every book I read. One of the reasons I started blogging in 2015 was to remember why I liked the books I did and why I disliked some others I’d read. Writing my reviews for my own reference was very helpful, but I’ve noticed a very import thing in my time blogging.
People don’t read my review posts very often.
Surprising? No, not really. I don’t read review posts very often, unless it’s for a book I’m already considering reading or the cover catches my eye. So why was I expecting other people to read my reviews? And why was I writing them if no one was reading them and no publisher was expecting me to write one?
So…on to my new plan. I am going to write these Recent Reads posts where I discuss the books I’ve been reading lately and my thoughts on them. I’ll still be able to aid my recall of books by having the important points about why I rated a book the way I did, but I’ll only write full reviews for books that I was sent by a publisher – either via mail or NetGalley.
To start because I am so behind on my blogging, I am going to share 4 books each week, and then starting in February I should be caught up and only discussing actual recent reads, so I’ll likely make this an every other week or possibly even a monthly thing depending on how many actual reviews I have to write.
Sound good? Ha. It does to me!
Books I’ve read recently
Artemis by Andy Weir
I loved The Martian, as did my husband, so I bought this book ASAP on Audible, so we could both listen right away. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it like I did The Martian, and I think there were two reasons for this. (1) Jazz wasn’t really in a life or death situation, so the science and everything wasn’t as impressive. (2) Jazz wasn’t as likable of a character, to me. She was a rule-breaker. She was living a life of crime and that didn’t sit very well with me.
This book did have a lot of the same elements of The Martian – space stuff as I mentioned (it takes place on the moon), snarky/sarcastic main character (good humor for such a serious plot), and co-mingled first person narrative along side other types of documentation (in this book it was letters).
This book is definitely worth reading (listening to). It’s what I like to call near-future science fiction, so it’s very approachable. And while the audio performance by Rosario Dawson was good; it wasn’t as wonderful as whoever read The Martian. Seriously, the audio of that book really made the book an amazing read.
The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin
You know I love Gretchen Rubin’s books! This book takes a deep dive into the 4 tendencies, which I have heard people say was just too much information, but I loved it. Honestly, I could have listened to more. I love learning about myself and others. I am still torn – am I a questioner or an upholder? My comments above about Jazz breaking the rules make me seem like an upholder, but I often ask questions of people when they ask me to do something, and I kind of only do something (i.e. exercise, eat a certain way) if I believe in the value of it. The verdict is still out. On me…and on my husband. I cannot place him, and it’s driving me nuts! Anyway, if you love analyzing people, check this book out.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Wow. Just wow. This book is in the same vein as The Hate U Give, but I think I might have liked it even more. I enjoyed being inside the head of a young black male character. And this book is written in many forms – narrative, diary entries/letters, and play-like dialog segments. In an episode of 88 Cups of Tea Nic Stone explains why she wrote the book this way. It’s a really interesting interview. I won’t spoil it; go listen.
Anyway, this book is difficult to read, but it’s so powerful. I loved how difficult things relating to race were discussed. Nic Stone used a high school teacher to ask the tough questions and open the dialog between her characters. I really loved this book.
Click’d (CodeGirls #1) by Tamara Ireland Stone
I read this middle grade book in one day. I got completely sucked in, and then I immediately recommended it to a friend for her daughter. The main character attends a coding camp for girls over the summer (love!), and she creates an app to help people make friends. Most of the story takes place in the first week back to school. It’s fast paced and fun, yet also rather insightful about the dangers of social media type apps for phones. I did not realize that it was the start of a series until I put this post together, so now I am super pumped. If you’re looking for a light read – maybe to cure a reading slump – check this book out. It’s adorable.