the book countdown…

Seven months, 72 books down. 5 months to go, 28 books remain. School begins in three weeks. Can it be done?

I don’t usually pay all that much attention to the page numbers, when I start a book. Especially when you’re reading books off your Kindle, it really throws off your mental tally. I was aware as I read through several Grace Livingston Hill books that at least two of them were some of her shorter ones, but what does that matter?AGiftOfDragons

My intention was not to go on a GLH reading spree, but now I have a sneaky suspicion that some of the mass market paperbacks I grew up on were abridged… though the publisher never admitted to it. Especially the ones that were set before the Civil War. When I get my hands on my storage unit book boxes, I’ll double-check.

I’ve been crunching some numbers, as I’ve realized that July is going to be my biggest reading month of the year, and why not? Once school starts, I’ll have too many important books to read for school, so I’ll have little time for fiction or my own choices of non-fiction. Don’t worry, I’ll include them on my lists, though.

After realizing that I’ve read 16 books this month, I decided to add up the page numbers, to prove to myself (and anyone else that cares) that I’m not skimping by reading short children’s books in order to make50453 up my numbers. The official page count for the month is 4,995 pages, though I can average it down a few for the illustrations in Anne McCaffrey’s A Gift of Dragons, and the occasional skimming that every reader can’t quite help. Still, I would say that 4,500 pages of reading isn’t bad, for one month.

The plan really was for me to tell you more about my latest reads, but as soon as I’ve started a new book, I’ve been less than interested in talking about the previous books.

I began this month by re-reading some of my favorites by Brian Jacques, and I will always recommend that people read his Redwall books. But Mariel of Redwall, The Pearls of Lutra, and The Long Patrol are probably up there at the top of my list of Jacques’ favorites. Especially with Mariel, you can tell that it’s one of his earlier books, and how much more dastardly the villains were, in some cases.

Somewhere along the line, I picked up a free e-book copy of Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and started to read it before going on my July 4th vacation in Georgia. I was so hooked on the story that it was hard to thdrag myself away from it, in order to spend time with my friends. Fortunately, our vacation time allowed us both a little time for catching up on reading and internet stuff.

For those interested in certain famous young adult novels, at present, I’ve read Ally Condie’s Matched (enjoyed it), Beautiful Creatures (it’s dull and uninteresting), The Hunger Games (awesome, as is the movie), Twilight (enjoyed it, get over it), and I tried to read Graceling. Really I did. Absolutely abhorred it, couldn’t get past the first chapter.

Just trying to put it in some context. If you’re looking for a story that’s almost as interesting as The Hunger Games, then I recommend the Divergent trilogy, while I’m waiting for the library to get a copy of the second book for me. Matched was enjoyable, but nothing as fun and fascinating as the characters in Divergent.

Perhaps I should be giving you more details about the stories themselves, but why give anything away? If it’s for you, you’ll allroadsget hooked on the first chapter, and Amazon usually offers a sample of that.

To switch things up, I started another free e-book, and for every Jane Austen fan, All Roads Lead to Austen is a winner. This true story follows a college literature professor as she spends a year in Central and South America, as she tries to find out whether Jane Austen’s stories translate well in their culture. Not just whether they’re readable in the language, but do the inhabitants of each country get caught up in the characters, and argue over them as if they’re real? Are the situations that happen in Regency England just as true in our modern day, because she wrote such real characters?

I kept hoping that the author would have a reading group about Northanger Abbey, though she never did. But when I found out that Northanger is her favorite book, too, that made up for it. She had stuck with the most popular of Austen’s books, during her travels, but to know that a college lit prof has the same favorite as me… that made up for that little detail.  : )The-Name-of-the-Wind-373x560

Jumping back into fantasy, I finally opened an e-book that I bought before going to Australia, but never took the time to read. But just as my mom had told me then, Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind is a winner of a tale. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy, even if I have to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas in order to do so. And for those interested, at about 660 pages, it’s the heftiest book that I read this month, but completely worth it.

Then, of course, I headed back into my childhood and teenagerhood, by reading my way through all the free e-books available of Grace Livingston Hill books. I’ve heard all the different complaints and compliments over them, over the years, and I have a particularly hilarious memory of someone asking about an 51W59CmTN+Lold-fashioned word. But in this branch of Christian fiction, they’re either for you, or not, and I love how they throw me into the early 1900’s, as well as the pre-Civil War era, depending on the book… and yet, they’re not really defined by the year they’re set. I love the characters, especially Miranda.

While I was wading through the GLH books, I watched a trailer for the upcoming movie Austenland, starring Keri Russell and JJ Feild. Also, Bret McKenzie, if you’re a LOTR movie fan. He was the unofficially named “Figwit”, at the council of Elrond, in FOTR, and Lindir in The Hobbit. I know, I know, randomness…

Anyway, I’ve heard of the book Austenland, but hadn’t gotten around to reading it. But if they’re going to cast Keri Russell in it, then I need to go read it. And it didn’t hurt that they cast JJ Feild, who plays my favorite Jane Austen herograce-livingston-hill-the-obsession-of-victoria-gracen in Northanger Abbey, as one of the lead guys. I borrowed the book from the library, and stayed up until midnight reading it. You can ask my mom, I was giggling over the start of the book, as few books ever cause me to do. You’ll understand when you first “meet” Elizabeth Charming, and her attempts to speak and be British Regency.

After that, I found out (marvelousness!) that I could download Midnight in Austenland from our library’s website. So, I had read that by the end of the following day. Yeah, it was that good, and that fun. Who doesn’t want to play Regency dressup, and then wonder if they can live without their cellphone?

Now, I know that I can reach my yearly reading goal by reading about 5-6 books a month, so I think that should be pretty do-able for me, don’t you agree? In the  meantime, I’m going back to my Thomas Sowell book…

2 thoughts on “the book countdown…

  1. It’s so interesting to read about what others think of books that I’ve recently read, especially when their opinion differs from mine. I, too, enjoyed the “Matched” series, and agree that it wasn’t as good as “Divergent” or “Insurgent”. I actually liked the first “Beautiful Creatures” book but got bored during the second one and then didn’t continue on. And while I also had a little difficulty getting through the first couple chapters of “Graceling”, it ended up being one of my favorite books I had read that year.
    I love Shannon Hale’s books, especially her Books of Bayern series, and ESPECIALLY “Book of A Thousand Days”, which is fantastic. I bought an eBook of “Austenland” a couple of years ago but have yet to read it….though I suppose I should now that the movie is coming out!

    • Well, I didn’t completely dislike Beautiful Creatures, but it got dull, after a while. I liked the main characters, but I thought the portrayal of the South to be stereotypical… or maybe just canned. Something didn’t quite click for me. I think it had potential to be better.

      Well, maybe some day I’ll have to try Graceling again. I did, after all, buy it on e-book. But I was highly annoyed, so I’ll give it a few years. 🙂

      I love Shannon Hale, too, but I only learned recently that somehow, The Goose Girl is a… series with Enna Burning and River Secrets? I haven’t read the latter, but I’ve read GG, Princess Academy books, and Book of a Thousand Days.

      So, reading her Austenland books were a fun twist. If you’ve ever watched Lost in Austen, I think the same appreciation of the modern world colliding with Austen’s world will follow you here.

      Happy reading!

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