April Reading Challenge Report Card

The Word Nerds’ April challenge was to read a book you either bought for yourself or were given a long time ago but had yet to read.

Bethany: Truth, this was one of my Reading Challenge ideas because I have so many unread books on my shelves at home. I am convinced that they multiply like Tribbles when I’m not watching.

April’s challenge netted me a DNF for a book, a rare thing indeed. My first choice was Matthew Pearl’s “The Dante Club.” I’d picked up two copies of this book from the used book sale. I like Dante. I like historical fiction. I got 40 pages in and was totally bored. The characters were flat and far too numerous. I couldn’t figure out who to care about and as the plot plodded through university poetry publications, I didn’t care about that either. So, with 10 percent of the book read, I invoked my right to put it down and move on.

Choice #2: “Sunshine” by Robin McKinley. My best-est friend gave me this book in 2007 and I’m ashamed that it sat on my shelf so long. This is a terrific book, detailed and rich in ways that it’s hard to pull-off in stand-alone fantasy books. “Sunshine” is a terrific urban fantasy, set in an alternate, futuristic world where humans regularly use magic and try to avoid the bad spots in the world where vampires lurk. Sunshine is a baker and wants nothing more than a normal life until she is kidnapped by vampires and comes into her own power. It’s Beauty and the Beast meets Buffy with a good dash of Harry Dresden thrown in. Sunshine is a powerful first-person narrator, confident in her voice, which is pitch perfect for the story McKinley tells. Watch for a Top Ten pick of the year from this one.

Stacie:  The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene was my Reading Challenge selection, and actually was from Bethany.  There’s a bit of story here (of course.)  Bethany and I have pretty similar tastes when it comes to modern authors, and often have many recommendations for each other in that space.  When it comes to older literature, specifically classics, this is an area I believe will require us to formalize an “Agree to Disagree” agreement.

I read to the end of the acclaimed novel with the nagging question burning – there’s got to be more to this than it seems.  It’s too straight forward, too matter of fact in its passion, too SOMETHING.  I can’t quite put my finger on what that something is, however.

I didn’t dislike the book, and kept thinking that it would be great if I was reading with a few others and could discuss.  Perhaps that would help me figure out what I’m missing here.  I haven’t figured it out yet.  I am glad that I read the novel, but am not sure that I would pick-up another one by Greene.

Next month’s challenge:  A Shakespeare Play.  Stacie is eager to start this challenge and is trying to decide which favorite play to revisit.

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