Friday, February 1, 2013

January Book List

Sorry to post two book-review posts in a row, but it's time for the monthly reading roundup. Because IT'S FEBRUARY!!! The blahness of January is OVER!

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Lost meets Miss Congeniality: When a plane of teenage beauty pageant contestants crashes on a desert island, the small group of survivors still see each other as competitors. But as they shed their pageant smiles and learn to love and accept themselves, they become a united force to be reckoned with. That's fortunate, because it turns out the desert island isn't so deserted after all - and the locals aren't friendly. This novel wasn't what I expected. It's creative and funny, and I LOVED the concept. But it's also a liberal treatise on almost every current political and social issue involving women, and gender in general. Some of her points were insightful, but I got tired of being hit over the head with an agenda. I'm all for fiction making a statement, whether I agree with it or not, but for me this was a little too much.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Twisted murder mysteries aren't my thing, and neither are stories with little to no redemption, but Gillian Flynn's amazing prose and plotting make this one totally worth it. This book will keep you guessing and shaking your head until the very end. Aside from that, it's an excellent commentary on the particular depravity of our times. I wish I'd read it with a book club so I could discuss all the shocking moments!

Magic or Madness, Magic Lessons, and Magic's Child by Justine Larbalestier
I'm a longtime fan of Justine Larbalestier, and this trilogy is probably her best known work. It's about a teenage Australian girl named Reason who's been raised by a single mom, on the run from her dangerous grandmother. When her mom has a mental breakdown, she's forced into her grandmother's custody in Sydney. There, Reason opens the back door and finds herself in New York City. What follows is an unconventional, compelling story about friendship, identity, family, first loves, and the ethics and balance of magic. It took plenty of turns I never saw coming. If you like fantasy that's a little off the beaten path, try this trilogy. I recommend Kindle - it's hard to find in print.

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
I reviewed this here.

When The Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait For God - And Joy by John Piper
This little book provides good reassurance to Christians experiencing any level of depression or a "dark night of the soul." It's very short - the notes indicate that it's more like an expanded chapter of Piper's book When I Don't Desire God. He takes a very compassionate tone, while also pointing out some of the uglier root causes of spiritual struggle. Most importantly, he repeatedly states that depression or spiritual struggle is not an indication of unbelief. That can't be said enough in our "positive, encouraging" Christian culture. I'm glad I read this.

Books for January: 7
2013 year to date: 7


  1. Okay, first can I say, I LOVE that bookshelf in the photo. Man, do I want one of those!!

    Secondly, great job getting started this year.

    My books for January: 1 ("Parts," 32 pages)
    2013 year to date: 1

    Sad. But at least it's not zero!

    Oh! I didn't even count the books I've read to the baby - so there have been lots, but most of them aren't over about six pages.

  2. I just ordered that last one. Thanks!