Tuesday, July 12, 2011

recently read books

I made a goal for myself to try and read 10 books before the end of 2011. I actually just completed this goal (6 months early too!!) I have to say, I love that I have gotten back into reading as much. I also love that I have a ton more books waiting to be read (which is what prompted Week 5's list).
I thought I might share with yall the recent books I've been flipping through. And if you've read any of them, or have any suggestions, please feel free to comment!!

1. Under a Cruel Star by Heda Margolius Kovaly

I actually had wanted to read this book for a while. It was an assigned book for a history class I wanted to take a few years back, but while shopping at a local book store for used books, I stumbled upon it again and had to get it.
This book was pretty good. It is centered around a women during World War 2 as she searches for freedom, while being hunted for her religion. The book goes beyond WWII though and also talks heavily about her life, her husbands, and her sons during the Cold War under Communist reign. Her accounts are not very detailed, because she is writing after several decades of the incidents; however, she does share a lot of her experiences during a long time period and gets very real.
A great read for history lovers.

2.Surviving the Angel of Death by Eva Mozes Kor and L.R. Buccieri

Another great read if you like learning more about WWII and the Holocaust. It's very sad and tragic, but it is another look at the Holocaust through the eyes of a young child and her twin. The story tells of how life in concentration camps was for she and her sister, living as experiments for the evil Dr. Mengele. A definite tear jerker, but so honest and a true must read!

3. Persuasion by Jane Austen

This one I read with a pen pal/blogger pal of mine. I love Jane Austen books, but had yet to read this one. Truthfully, while I did enjoy it overall, it felt a lot like her other books- same basic story and basic characters. However, the love letter between the two main characters at the end of the story is one of the sweetest things I have ever read. Ever. I think I reread it a million times over and each time it was just as romantic.
If you love Jane Austen books, this is a must read. Just keep in mind that it will be very similar to her others (most notably for me, Pride and Prejudice).

4. In My Hands by Irene Gut Opdyke and Jennifer Armstrong

I borrowed this book from a friend of mine who also loves WWII type books. It's a very unique look of the war. The story is based on a young girl who becomes a nurse and is separated from her family while WWII breaks out, trying to first get back to her family and then to solely survive , her journey leads to an interesting destination. She ends up working for Nazis as a server and house servant, but then learns about the close ghetto jailing Jews. She quickly starts helping and even housing the hunted Jews.
This was a remarkable story and I loved it. Reading about her and her friends strength and courage gave me restored faith in humanity.

5. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I borrowed this book from my sister who loved it. With the movie coming out, I decided to go ahead and read it before seeing it on the big screen (I prefer reading the books first and seeing the movies last). The book had more of an interesting plot than I anticipated, but I still wasn't fully in love with it. I tried, but this just wasn't one of my favorites. Even still, I read the entire thing (because I despise not finishing books). My honest opinion would be to skip it and see the movie...the movie actually (in my opinion) does a better job at telling the story than the actual book.

6. Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler

I should first mention that I don't particularly like Chelsea Handler. She's a litte crude for my taste; however I surprisingly wanted to read her books, including this one (especially because as a kid I read Judy Blume's Are You There God, It's Me Margaret). The book was just like her....random, crude, and yet still funny. Some parts I wish I could have skipped, some seemed to bizarre to be real, and some were so hysterical my ribs hurt from laughing.
While this isn't a book I'd but on my top 10 of favorites, it was a funny (and quick) read. I honestly would suggest it as a summer fun read.

7. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson

The third book of the series, and perhaps one of the best! I loved, loved, LOVED this book. It was extremely long, but I read it quickly because I couldn't put it down. It has more politics in it than the first two, but it nicely puts a nice to end to everything. This trilogy has made Larsson one of my all-time favorite authors. I just hate he is no longer alive to write more.

8. The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman

I was almost embarrassed to admit that I read this one.... Truth is, at first I thought it would be the stupidest thing I ever spent time on. True, my mom and other ladies of the church have liked it and sworn by it, but I didn't think it would be my thing. While it's not the best book I have ever read, it had some really thoughtful and great points. I feel like after reading this book I know more about my and my significant other and our needs. I would really suggest this book (especially if you are a Christian, since it talks largely about Christ's part in our life and discusses Bible topics).

9. I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell by Tucker Max

To start with, I should admit I broke my rule here....I saw the movie first. I wasn't sure I would like the book, but the movie included Logan from Gilmore Girls (seen above) so I had to give it a shot. While it was insanely crude and made me blush just watching it, it was also extremely funny. I then decided to try it out on my new kindle. While the book is even more inappropriate and ridiculous, I enjoyed it for the most part. The talk of sex and drinking makes this book closely rated to X, but if you enjoy that type of humor (or are unphased by it) I'd suggest giving it a shot.
The main idea of the book is a series of short stories based on the craziness that he calls life while taking advantage of easy women and drinking until he can't even see. Definitely different from what I've read before.....
(But try the movie too....cause that was great!)

10. A Million Miles in A Thousand Years by Donald Miller

My all-time favorite author and his most recent book....how could this book not be awesome? As always, after reading a Donald Miller book, I felt completely rejuvenated and inspired. His books (including this one) are so honest and you feel more like you're having a conversation with this 30-something-year-old Portland guy than just reading a book about him. I would highly suggest this book!!! (And for that matter any other book he has written).
The book's main focus is on story- what makes a story and what makes a story good, then applying it to life. Donald Miller does an awesome job of answering all of these and makes you feel like all is possible.



Claire M. said...

I love reading books too!!!! I'll try to find one of these clothes ;)

diane said...

Thanks for sharing your list. I am a WWII personal history lover too and so I will check out these books.

Whimsical Woodland said...

I recently watched "The Angel of Death" on Netflix. I had no idea it came in book form. (It's on instant stream if you are interested in watching it.)

Megan said...

I'll have to check out the books on this list that I haven't read yet!

I love Under a Cruel Star. I like social history more than big event history, and this book really puts into perspective how much it sucked for the satellite states for the Soviets to march in as soon as World War II ended. Survived Auschwitz? Well, sorry, you're not quite done suffering yet. It's harder to understand that when you're just paying attention to what the politicians are doing.

I just read Water for Elephants last month. I'm about to write it up in my June Reads post!

P. S. I have a lot of friends that talk about that love languages book like it is the truest truth out there. I'm not a mushy person, so I think it might just make me roll my eyes. Oddly enough, the person I know that likes it the most is a pagan lesbian. I would have never thought it was a Christian book from the context clues.

Beverley Baird said...

You have given me some great titles toread! Love WWII books that reflect the human side of the war. Have to say I haven't read any yet!
Just finished The Thirteenth Story and The Year of Fog. Loved both of them.

She Traces said...

You superseded your goal, excellent!! I read Water for... and I loved it. But I enjoyed hearing the ´old man´narrate more than anything. It´s great that you stuck with it though.
The 5 Love languages is one of those books that you have to revisit, kind of like a reference book. It´s got so much good stuff.

Peonies and Pennies said...

Well done on completing your goal. I've set myself a goal to read 40 books before my birthday next year!! Half way there :-)


Tiffany said...

Awesome job!! The only one I've read on your list is Water for Elephants~ and I loved it like your sis did!
I am very curious about the Donald Miller ones now though~ I will have to pick one up! :) Sounds awesome!