A couple weeks ago some friends and I were out at dinner. We spend a lot of time with these friends, and our conversations run a myriad of subject areas. By this point in time, we know each other pretty well.
But a large part of our dinner conversation on this particular night revolved around a new topic: our reading habits and the books we were currently reading. We talked about preferences related to audio books, series of books, books turned into movies or television shows, our inclination to reread books or not.
I’ve often said that if we were all the same, the world would be a very boring place. This dinner conversation among five friends highlighted just how different we all are when it comes to books and reading, and I thoroughly enjoyed passing the time as we touched on a variety of aspects related to reading.
Being surrounded by book-loving friends who can carry on a conversation about the topic for hours on end makes my heart warm. It reminds me that I’ve chosen well in finding people who speak my proverbial language.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (5/5 stars)
Three-line review: From the very first sentences to the final page, I loved everything about this book. It hit all the emotions: touching and humorous, lighthearted and heavy, happy and sad. Even if aspects of the story are a bit of a stretch, the author did a stellar job of balancing all the nuances of a high-quality book including character creation, pace, plot, and point of view. Highly recommended for all readers.
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey (3/5 stars)
Three-line review: I’ve been meaning to read this book for years, and perhaps it was the anticipation of what I hoped and thought it would be that ultimately resulted in my disappointment. Though considered a classic of sorts, I found Desert Solitaire to be fairly disjointed and yawn-worthy boring at times. When Abbey’s writing was engaging, I was thoroughly engaged, but too often I found myself dragging through the pages of what I thought would capture my love for the desert.
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (4/5 stars)
Three-line review: This fast-paced, easy-to-ready book is entertaining and well-written with the precise voice of the story’s main character. The plot is far-fetched at times, but that is to be expected as conflict is a necessary element in a story like this, which has the potential to be a snoozer. Four stars instead of five because of the predictable ending.
Mongrels: A Novel by Stephen Graham Jones (3/5 stars)
Three-line review: I powered through this complex, non-linear, coming-of-age story for my book group, and I’m glad I did. Though I didn’t care for the story, found the writing to be scattered and littered with copy errors, and wasn’t particularly fond of any of the characters, my group’s conversation about the book elevated my ranking by an additional star. If there’s more to this story than a surface-level read, then it is impressively well written and worth spending time with, but it’s still not my cup of tea.
Sacred Sound: Discovering the Myth and Meaning of Mantra and Kirtan by Alanna Kaivalya (3/5 stars)
Three-line review: My final textbook for my yoga teacher training, this book was laid out well and hit on a lot of common themes found in most mainstream yoga texts but was very readable. However, because chants are an integral part of this book, a lot is lost when simply looking at text in an unknown language. Kaivalya has a tendency to fall back on a lot of similar cliches, which can make reading books like this one more mundane and unimaginative than it could be.