Anna Maria Locke

books I'm reading

So, being unemployed has drastically improved my reading for fun AND workout habits. Silver lining! Here's a few books I've been inhaling recently.

His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman

Ok I first read these in junior high and The Golden Compass is one of my favorite books of all time. The main character is a twelve year old so it's easy to lump them into "young adult fantasy," but the themes are really intense-- we're talking religion, politics, science, plus the literary quality puts them more on the Narnia end of the spectrum than the Twilight end. And there is no cheesy romance factor, in a good way! I have no idea how I even comprehended these when I was 12. Definitely worth a re-visit. And the movie is pretty good too.

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy

This was my "pretty cover" grab from the library, and it is a typical heartwarming Oprah choice. Two women faced with tough life challenges decide to swap houses. One goes to New England and one goes to Dublin, and they encounter many entertaining and deeply developed characters and ultimately discover great things about themselves and work through their challenges to get to a happy ending. I liked how it was written, kind of in a vignette style like the movie Love Actually that lets you become involved with all the many many many characters without feeling really overwhelmed with sheer number of them. One quirk that I COULDN'T get over though was the inability of the author to create believable American dialogue. So, the Americans talk like the Irish. Good thing that the majority of the book took place in Ireland.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I love love love Steinbeck. And I'm making a big effort to mix some classic quality literature into my fun entertainment reading. The Grapes of Wrath is probably the best novel about the Great Depression that has ever been written. Steinbeck alternates chapters of plot with chapters that describe the land and create the atmosphere of the dust bowl. Our issues these days don't even come close. Confession: I didn't finish this book before it was due back to the library and I gave it up, mainly because it was so vivid that I could practically taste the dust and despair in my mouth and I haven't been in the mood for soul crushers lately. BUT I will finish it someday!

Have you read any good books lately?