Books I Read This Week

I like to think that I'm pretty good about reading a wide variety of books. However, I will admit that sometimes I love reading and re-reading the same few books again and again. I do the same thing with music and movies. This drives Dave crazy. These familiar things are like comfort food for me... just less fattening. Jane Austen's novels are definitely "comfort books." In the past month or so, I have been on a Jane Austen binge. However, since I know there is at least one loyal reader of our blog who will leave rude comments about Jane Austen, I won't bore you with my thoughts on the five Austen novels I read this last month. Instead, I will just tell you about one... and two other books I read in the past week.

Emma // Jane Austen

I can now proudly say that I have read all six of Jane Austen's novels. I own five of them and had read all but Emma until this last week. It's not that I haven't gotten around to it until now. I have tried to read it before... twice. For some reason, Austen's "comic masterpiece" could never hold my attention. This week, though, I looked at it as a challenge, so I kept plugging along and finally finished it.

I have had a hard time coming up with a reason why I could love all of Austen's other books and not care for this one at all. I paid particular attention this time around to why I was have a hard time getting through it. And I figured out what it was. Some of the characters are ridiculously irritating -- specifically Miss Bates and Mrs. Elton. Every time they started talking, I just wanted to skim over that part and move on. I know they're supposed to be irritating, but that doesn't make those parts any easier to read. Unfortunately for Jane Austen, she did so well with it that I'm not sure that I'll ever read this book again.

That being said, I would recommend Jane Austen to anyone who hasn't read her novels yet. But start with Persuasion or Sense and Sensibility. Don't start with Emma. You'll just get irritated.
"A man would always wish to give a woman a better home than the one he takes her from; and he who can do it, where there is no doubt of her regard, must, I think, be the happiest of mortals."

Ender's Game // Orson Scott Card

After finishing the five aforementioned novels, I still hadn't satisfied my current urge to read. In desperation, I turned to our bookshelf to see what there was that I had not yet read. That's how I stumbled upon Ender's Game. Dave has read this book and recommended it. And so it began.

I started reading it around noon on Sunday. I finished reading it around noon the following day. Yes, it is that good. If you're not familiar with the story, here's a brief summary with (hopefully) no spoilers:

Ender's Game is science fiction -- a story based in a futuristic world where Earth has been threatened by alien life forms called "buggers." In their desperation to defeat the buggers, the government on Earth starts recruiting children to train for the war. One such kid is Ender. The book follows young Ender through the years as he trains as a soldier and the aftermath of his training.

It was an interesting read and I would recommend it to anyone who isn't averse to sci-fi.
"Human beings are free except when humanity needs them. Maybe humanity needs you. To do something. Maybe humanity needs me—to find out what you're good for. We might both do despicable things, Ender, but if humankind survives, then we were good tools."

The Thirteenth Tale // Diane Setterfield

When I finished up Ender's Game on Monday, I didn't know what to do with myself. I perused my never-ending "List of Books to Read" and, with the help of the county library website, figured out which ones I could get immediately. That is how I picked out The Thirteenth Tale. This novel was written just a few years ago and I don't even know where I heard of it. However, once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.

The book tells the story of a woman who is commissioned to write the biography of an extremely famous fiction writer before she dies. This author, Vida Winter, has spent her entire life fabricating elaborate lies about her past, but now she is finally ready to tell the truth. The book is narrated by Margaret (the biographer) and the contemporary scenes are interwoven with the story of Vida's childhood. As Vida tells her story, Margaret begins to uncover more secrets about Vida's life, so in the end, she finally gets the truth.

The story is suspenseful and mysterious, and the end has a great twist. I loved it.
"Everybody has a story. It's like families. You might not know who they are, might have lost them, but they exist all the same. You might drift apart or you might turn your back on them, but you can't say you haven't got them. Same goes for stories."


Christie said...

I haven't read any of those, but I'm always looking to add to my "to-read" list. I'm still trying to get through "The Book Theif" which we discussed earlier this week at my book club.. one day.

Ben said...

I loved Ender's Game and I keep forgetting to pick it up at the library so Becky can read it too. Have you read any of the other books in the series?

robmba said...

I've also been meaning to read Ender's game and its sequels. Another sci-fi one on my to-read list is Neuromancer (and its sequels).

Dave said...

I have read Ender's Game, but none of the sequels. It was one of the few books on our shelf that I had read but Kristen had not. Now I think it's down to only The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty.

Krissy said...

I never seek out science fiction specifically, but when I happen to read some, I usually like it. Maybe when I get tired of reading Dickens, I'll have to read Ender's Shadow.

ScottBoomer said...

I'm assuming I'm the "loyal reader" who leaves rude coments about Jane Austen.

Krissy said...

Yes... that would be you.