Book Shelf: February 2017

Reading on the deck of our farm stay outside of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Reading on the deck of our farm stay outside of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Greetings from New Zealand!  February was a bit of a slower reading month for me, partially because we have moved around a lot (7 "homes" this month) and partially because most of what I read this month was lackluster.  I also went through a bit of a chick lit binge as I sometimes do when I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by life, so I'm a bit embarrassed to mention some of these...

The Association of Small Bombs - I wanted to love this critically acclaimed book about two brothers and their friend who are victims of a bombing in a Delhi marketplace, which traces the ripple effects of the bomb throughout the lives of those affected.  I didn't dislike it, but it just didn't grab me and I never developed any strong feelings (positive or otherwise) toward the characters, which led to ambivalence about the book.  That said, the portrayal of how someone might be drawn to a terrorist organization was compelling, as were the evocative descriptions of India.  I love reading books set in India (Beyond the Beautiful Forevers and A Fine Balance are two of my favorites).

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Major Pettigrew is a retired Major who lives in a village in the English countryside.  He is a widower and falls in love with Mrs. Ali, also widowed, who owns a shop in the village and is Pakistani.  This book was a tad predictable, but I throughly enjoyed the two main characters and the manner in which the author described their relationship.  The conversations between the Major and Mrs. Ali were always polite and proper and yet so much was conveyed in their simple exchanges (the writing reminded me of Jane Austen in this regard).  I'd recommend this book despite some truly horrible secondary characters who threaten to ruin the book.  Helen Simonson also wrote The Summer Before the War, which I really enjoyed.

The Hating Game - Umm.. this is 50 Shades of Grey but better written and less graphic. It's entertaining for sure and a good beach read.  I'm blushing.  In my defense, the author is from Australia so when I saw that, I figured it was a good book to read while in Australia.

The One that Got Away - The most entertaining of the chick lit I read this month, set in Austin, Texas, and actually featuring a believable main character.  I'd recommend this for a quick read on vacation or when you just need to escape (this is why I read chick lit - sometimes I just need an escape and an almost guaranteed happy ending).

Finally, two books that were both terrible: Vanity Fare and Bridget Jones Baby.  Both of these I grabbed off the new arrivals shelf at the library in Hawaii and wish I had just left them there. 

I'm struggling to get through The Luminaries right now even though we just spent a few days in Hokitika where it takes place.  Has anyone read it?  Is it worth reading? I've also just finished Commonwealth and I'll write more next month, but I loved it.