mockingjayThe wait for Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, seemed interminable, even though it was only a few months since I first read the first two books. When I realized I would have to wait until the end of August, I smugly thought I would exercise my limited power as a book blogger and get my hands on an ARC. But to my dismay I soon learned that no ARCs would be issued for the much-anticipated series finale; I would have to wait along with the rest of  its readers. In the meantime, I so vehemently endorsed the books that I was able to get a few friends to read them and become fans as well. As the publication date for Mockingjay grew ever closer, we bandied about what would happen to the citizens of Panem, but more importantly – who would Katniss choose, Peeta or Gale?

It ended up that I was actually out of the country when the book was released. I put myself on the library holds list and resigned myself to an extended wait, but luckily one of the aforementioned friends had purchased her own copy, so she lent me hers. I brought it home that night and had it finished by the next morning. I will admit that although I was hoping for more Katniss and Peeta time (which is probably a big reason why The Hunger Games was my favorite of the three books), I wasn’t disappointed in the story Collins chose to tell for the final book. Mockingjay firmly places the trilogy in the YA dystopian genre, which I think does the series better justice than having it lumped in with Twilight as just another teen romance. Ultimately, while I would have enjoyed more scenes like the ones in the cave, I think Collins did her fans a favor by perhaps not giving them exactly what they wanted, but something more.

Applicable Reading Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge

Book Rating: 4: Good, solid book that I would recommend to others.

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from a friend. 

reliable

I will sometimes include books that I haven’t personally read on my book club’s list of reading options. These are generally books that I’ve read many positive things about, have had personally recommended to me by people whose reading tastes I value, or they are books that are making the book club rounds and everyone is talking about. Robert Goolrick’s debut novel, A Reliable Wife, was all of these, and it was chosen by my library book club as its September selection. Of course, there is always some risk involved with choosing an unread book. The risk with A Reliable Wife was that there was some, shall we say, risque subject matter. More than one review had referred to it as a pot boiler, and in fact, I read of one male librarian who would not include it in his list of book club books because he was uncomfortable discussing certain elements with the club’s all-female membership. I admit that I was a little wary myself, since you never know how people are going to react; plus, we have both men and women in the book club and I wasn’t quite sure how people would feel discussing such matters in mixed company.

Well, it turned out to be one of the best book club meetings in our 2+ year history. While reaction to the book was mixed, from lukewarm to love, everyone felt there was plenty to discuss and no one was held back by the subject matter. As for my own reaction to the book, I was somewhere in between – while I don’t think it’s going to be one of my favorites this year, and some parts stretched a bit too long for my liking, it was one of the few books I’ve read this year that I simply could not put down. A novel of obsession laced with suspense and wrapped in a historical setting, A Reliable Wife is sure to elicit strong emotions from its readers.

Applicable Reading Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, RIP V Challenge

Book Rating: 4: Good, solid book that I would recommend to others.

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from a friend.

night-bookmobileEven though it was practically universally loved, The Time Traveler’s Wife was one of the biggest reading disappointments since I began blogging about books. In fact, part of the reason it was such a letdown was that so many people I knew felt it was a wonderful book and hopes were set high. Once bitten, twice shy, and so I’ve yet to even crack open the cover of Her Fearful Symmetry, since Niffenegger turned me off so much with my first experience of her writing. Still, when I saw The Night Bookmobile on our new books shelf, it was with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation that I picked it up and began reading. Since it was a graphic novel, I justified my actions by telling myself that at least if I had the same reaction to this one, I wouldn’t have invested that much time in reading it.

The Night Bookmobile is the story of Alexandra, a young woman who, while out walking the city one night, comes across a strange bookmobile, one that appears to have a very select inventory. Alexandra (get it?) becomes obsessed with the bookmobile and its contents, with dire consequences. Rather than an ode to reading, it’s more a cautionary tale about how even books can be a deadly obsession. Although I was initially taken aback, the more I thought about the book and its message, the more I liked it. So much so that I think I will give Her Fearful Symmetry a try.

Applicable Reading Challenges: Support Your Local Library100+ Reading Challenge, 2010 Pub Challenge, Graphic Novels Challenge, Bibliophilic Books Challenge

Book Rating: 4: Good, solid book that I would recommend to others.

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.

foodrulesMichael Pollan is one of the preeminent writers of the ‘clean eating’ food revolution, and his short treatise, Food Rules, is a compilation of his views and recommendations for how to eat well. While there’s nothing really new in here, what I liked was the simplicity of the message and how it was delivered. By now, we’ve all heard the many benefits of eating local, whole foods, with an emphasis on vegetables. And Pollans’ previous books delve into the how’s and why’s of that movement, so he didn’t need to rehash that here. For those of us who are already on the bandwagon, this little book provides a common sense map for our journey.

Applicable Reading Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Support Your Local Library

Book Rating: 4: Good, solid book that I would recommend to others.

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.  

runningWhat Michael Pollan is to food, Jeff Galloway is to running. Co-authored with his wife, Barbara, the Women’s Complete Guide to Running is written for women new to running, and I read it thinking I would probably learn a thing or two. Covering such topics as the nutrition, clothing, and health issues of running, the Galloways demystify running as a sport and encourage women to just get out there and do it – but they provide you with a structured plan to make sure you don’t overdo it. I probably would have gotten more out of this book if I’d read it a year ago, and I think if you’re going to read other books on running, most of this info is covered elsewhere.

Applicable Reading Challenges: Support Your Local Library100+ Reading Challenge

Book Rating: 3: Decent, but didn’t grab me in a big way.

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.