July 2019 Reads
Hey everyone, sorry I’m late with this one. I went on a backpacking trip towards the end of July and had a hard time getting my groove back. Below are my reads and reviews for the month of July. Let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments below!
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey | Trenton Lee Stewart | 2008 | Audiobook | *****
Middle Grade, Mystery, Fantasy
This book is the sequel to The Mysterious Benedict Society, and I have to say, what an underwhelming title, haha. A Perilous Journey is what I would expect from most fiction, so it seems a little redundant. This series has been full of dry humor, so this title is perhaps on point, but still seems lackluster. However, the plot and characters are as strong as the first book. The children are once again tasked with saving the world and it was again awesome to see their individual strengths contribute to the group in often surprising ways. I gave this installment four stars for the same reason as the first. The plot had some meandering moments that I didn’t think were necessary. I do think I liked the sequel better as the characters were several different settings, rather than just one, like the first book.
Eldest | Christopher Paolini | 2005 | Audiobook | *****
Young Adult, Fantasy
Either Eldest or Brisingr is my favorite of this series. The action starts to really pick up here and Eragon and Saphira go through the most growth in this book and the next and that’s really enjoyable to experience with them. I also like how the author could have abandoned Roran’s and the other villagers’ story arcs or made it less important than Eragon’s, but instead decides to elevate their stories and make it central to the main plot. Roran quickly becomes one of my favorite characters during this book. However, there are some philosophical questions are brought up during this book that aren’t properly answered. If hard questions are brought up by the author, it doesn’t mean the author has to answer them, but the problem is that he did offer a solution. A flawed one. Besides a few hiccups like that, the plot is gripping and held my attention well.
Brisingr | Christopher Paolini | 2008 | Audiobook | *****
Young Adult, Fantasy
Toward the beginning of this book, I was wondering where the author was planning to take this story. There are lots of political hoops that Eragon is made to jump through and I felt the fatigue and boredom that he felt. Not that politics are always boring, but these scenes seemed a chore to slog through. I don’t think the author was fond of them either, if I had to guess. These are the kind of subconscious moods from the writer that need to be edited out. These are the things that my workshop will never fail to notice in my writing and call me out on it. After these housekeeping events, the adventure continues, and I found myself pulled into the story again. More secrets about the Riders are divulged, Eragon and Saphira gain new skills and insight, and the other characters have gauntlets of their own to endure. Roran and Nasuada are strong, likeable characters with story arcs that are just as intense as Eragon’s and Saphira’s. For that, Paolini gets my praise. A lot of fantasy books I have read have weaker supporting characters, because the author focuses too much on the chosen one and not enough on his relationships. Paolini’s character relationships are rich and multi-faceted, which makes the story that much more rounded. Four Stars from me for Brisingr.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up | Marie Kondo | 2014 | Audiobook | *****
Nonfiction, Self Help
The message and principles in this book were helpful and inspired some changes in my tidying behavior. It was a bit of paradigm shift for me to view objects as having a life and agency (although very different from our own), but it has helped me to see their value and feel more gratitude toward the things that I own. This book was translated from Japanese and may have had more style in its original language, but it is very simple and to the point in English. It makes for a quick read, but not an interesting one. I feel like I would like her Netflix show a little better, because this process could be shown in a little more detail. I do not think this book reveals the entire method, and maybe that is what her other books try to tackle, but I did feel like there were some questions/hypotheticals that Kondo did not answer. I think it has improved my tidying skills, so the book does what it says it will do, but it does not offer much in the way of pleasurable reading. I was glad I listened to it as an audiobook.
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