Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I relish the opportunity to read. Since I am generally the type who can't put a book down once I start (though I really am working to get better about it), I don't read much when school is in session. One priority of the summer, among all the other things that I let go, was to read as much as possible.

I've done just that. I'm proud of myself, though, because I haven't read only thriller/mystery or romance novels. Yes, I've read a few of them, but I've tried to expand my horizons and read tomes that the "experts" consider "classic." (insert mild sarcasm here - such a categorization is rather subjective, don't you think?)

Here is a sampling of what I've read. Likely I've forgotten a few, and some I won't admit to reading. :)

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I was once assigned to read this book. I think it was for a scholarship application my senior year. I picked up the book from the library and never read it. Fifteen years later, I saw it on the cheap rack at the bookstore and decided to try again. I hadn't the slightest idea about the plot of the book, and was wildly surprised. Rand paints a picture of a world gone mad, but gone mad under the guise of the so-called "greater good." In an attempt to give equal opportunity to everyone, America and Europe manage to drive themselves into utter economic death. It's a fascinating book, and well worth the read. Given the current political climate, it is also a disturbing picture of where we are headed. There is, however, a great deal of foul language and sexual content that, while somewhat necessary to the plot, could have been toned down considerably. It made me glad I hadn't read it in high school. My parents would have been mortified.
Score: 4 of 5

1984 by Orson Wells
Another classic that I'd escaped reading in my high school and college years, this proved to be even more disturbing than Atlas. (Incidentally, I read them back-to-back and fretted for days afterward.) I was surprised to see how many of our catchphrases came from that book. Ever heard the term "thought police?" It came from 1984. While I can't say I enjoyed the book, I do consider it one that everyone should read. If we ever get to the point that intelligence and thinking for oneself is considered evil, then we have long passed the point of being in serious trouble. Though it's an older book, it is not hard to read. At times, though, it becomes tedious and even boring.
Score: 4 of 5

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I can't say enough good things about this book. It was recommended to me by my friend, Lauren, and I am so glad I took her advice. It is the story of a mysterious but famous author nearing death who asks a young woman to write her biography. I have read few stories that were so cleverly crafted. The twists and turns keep you guessing with every page, and even the ending leaves you wondering exactly what happened. I don't want to reveal any more for the risk of spoiling it, but do read this book. It's easily one of the best I've ever read.
Score: 5 of 5

More reviews to come...


Anonymous said...

Do you like historical fiction? Francine Rivers did a trilogy (though I really only liked the first two -- the third was only loosely tied to the others, more of an "offshoot".) Check 'em out:

A Voice in the Wind

Echo in the Darkness

Amanda Mac said...

I really like Rivers' stuff, but I haven't read those. I will check them out.