The Book List #13

May 26, 2014

I thought May had been a terrible month for reading but seven books is pretty good going, especially since I have now reached the halfway point of my modest target for the year seven books ahead of schedule.

I was hoping Blood Will Out by Walter Kirn was going to read like a modern day In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and I should have known better. Walter Kirn recounts his friendship with "Clark Rockefeller" (Christian Gerhartsreiter), a serial impostor and murderer who is now currently serving a prison sentence of 27 years to life in the United States. The book itself was a tedious affair with very little content and only a few anecdotal events, it felt more like a distasteful humblebrag than a credible account of Christian Gerhartsreiter's crimes. I would be interested in reading The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal to see how the two books compare.

Grain Brain by David Perlmutter was the equivalent of reading a giant advertisement for a fad diet. I wanted to read a book about the health effects of grain not a one-side rant about how eating grains will rot your brains. This is a sensationalist diet book, which spews an onslaught of studies to overwhelm instead of inform the reader. Grain Brain reads like an infomercial, making it hard to listen to what potentially could be rather insightful information about how wheat, carbohydrates, and sugar effect our health. I stopped reading out of disgust, which pretty much says it all.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a fantastically twisted read about a missing wife, a guilty husband, and the devious media. Stories converge to explore the psychology and dynamics of long-term relationships, love affairs, and dangerous character traits. A well-paced story with exceptional plot twists, which had me reading the fastest I have ever read to get to the (albeit slightly disappointing) grand finale. Incredibly enjoyable and the perfect book for a quick read over a spring break.

Rarely do I find advice on blogging helpful and unfortunately Blog Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho was no exception. The advice and personal accounts of "successful bloggers" is geared more to those unfamiliar with blogging and social media with a heavy lean towards arts and crafts. There is little here for those who have worked in the industry or anyone already familiar with the growth of blogging.

I found myself dipping in and out of a couple of books this month; Daily Rituals by Mason Currey and It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden are great books for little spurts of reading while you're waiting for dinner to cook or when you want a burst of inspiration before work. I skipped to the pages of familiar faces in Daily Rituals (Mark Twain, Charles Darwin, Agatha Christie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Franz Kafka, Sylvia Plath, David Lynch) to garner a little insight into how other creators work. While It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be felt more wildly inspirational with its bold quotes, graphic style, and intense layout.

I returned to Gillian Flynn for the final book this month; Dark Places turns its attention to the Satanic cult hysteria that swept the United States in the 1980s, telling the story of a family massacre, the youngest child who survived, and the brother who was found guilty and sentenced to 24 years in prison. Gillian Flynn's writing style seems to pull me in and keep me reading at a fast pace; she weaves suspenseful stories that rocket you through the pages in a frenzied whirlwind of curiosity and expectation.

{ the book list #1-12 }

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  1. Christine5/26/2014

    I love how honest you are with your reviews! So refreshing. I'll definitely check out the last one as I loved the fast-paced suspense of Gone Girl. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I've been a little lazy when it comes to reading! I'm 10 books behind schedule so I need to keep up if I want to accomplish my challenge!
    I might add Gone Girl to my to do read list :)

    Ana Leote

  3. Oh, neverending to-read list! You might just add me few more.

  4. I absolutely hated Gone Girl - it was SO over-hyped when it came out (and I think it still is). I'm just really glad that I borrowed it from my local library instead of paying actual money for it. I'm curious to see how Fincher's movie adaptation will turn out though -- will the film make me like the book/story more or less?

    I'm currently reading Valley Of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann and it's not doing anything for me, quite frankly. I've heard so much about this "pop culture classic" and I've always wanted to pick it up and read it, but it's really not that great. Granted I'm only on page 88, but it's a very vapid, "dumbed down" read so far. I like stories with a little more substance. I suppose that's why I prefer fantasies; the reader really has to focus and pay attention when reading a fantasy novel. Have you ever read any?

  5. I think 7 books is a really good amount of books to read in a month. I have a book blog and I'm currently up to 16 books read this month. I won't mention what I expect my year total to be! :)

    I absolutely love It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be. I still have to read Gone Girl but I think this is going to push it to the top of my ebook TBR pile. I'm currently reading Blog Inc but I'm finding it slow going {it's my third week trying to finish it} but I don't dislike it, but I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's as you said it's geared to those unfamiliar with blogging and social media.

    Hope you have better reads for June!

  6. Hauteclaire.Stassen5/26/2014

    Gone Girl is a really polarizing book--as a librarian, I've heard extreme rants and raves. I actually loved the ending the more that I thought about it. If you like Dark Places, Sharp Objects is also extremely good!

    As someone with Celiac Disease, I tend to avoid the anti-grain books. I know what my body needs and what it (unfortunately) doesn't like. They do read like infomercials and I'm pretty sure that in a year or so, the next big thing will be "eat ALL THE PASTAS!"

  7. Chelsea Leigh5/26/2014

    Loved gone girl, I admit the ending was a disappointment though. Interesting that you didn't like Blog Inc, I had a feeling that it would be too basic.

  8. Rachel Hood5/26/2014

    Great reviews! I read Gone Girl a couple of weeks ago and was ashamed how much I attached to a certain character before the twist was revealed! I couldn't put it down but was definitely a little disappointed at the end.
    I've only read 11 out of my 50 goal for this year, so I need to catch up.

  9. Glad you enjoyed the reviews :))

  10. Yes, I thought I'd read it before the film came out.. I'm curious to see what they've done with the story.

    I read my 'Grain Brain' review back and it's quite harsh, isn't it? But totally honest, I really felt that way about it. I like reading about nutrition and health but this was so forceful and so obviously an advert.

  11. Oops! There is time to catch up!

  12. Oh, fantastic - thank you for coming back :))
    Glad you enjoyed the reviews.

  13. Fair enough. I really want to see what they did with the film adaptation.

    I quite enjoyed Valley of the Dolls, I think the whole point of the book is to express the vapid nature of that culture.. so I can see why that is coming off strong.

    I don't think the fantasy genre makes readers pay any more or attention to the story.. I think a good book from any genre should do that. I occasionally read fantasy but I can't really buy into those types of stories. They often feel rather childish, it's rare I find excellent fantasy based stories.

  14. I think running a business and writing a blog takes up too much time to read that many books. I'm not entirely sure how one can really enjoy a book if one reads quite so much as 16.. I like a little pause in between books to digest what I have read.

  15. Thanks for the recommendation! I haven't read Saving Grandma, I'll take a look :))

  16. I enjoy reading about health and nutrition.. a lot of the books I read tend not to be pushy at all but this book was outrageous. It was really just a diet book.

  17. I have worked in marketing and social media so Blog, Inc. really didn't offer me much insight unfortunately. It would be great for people who are new to blogging.

  18. There's always time! ;))

  19. I hear you: fantasy book and series are certainly not for everyone. They're more like an acquired taste, aren't they? HAHA! The best fantasy series I ever read was Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel Trilogy.

    the characters are frickin crazy! and the twist was SO well done

  21. YES. I thought it was such a great book to read and Dark Places was just as good.

  22. I loved Gone Girl too ... right up until the ending. I've been reading the Secret History on your recommendation from last month and it's amazing! Thanks for the tip :)


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