Thursday, March 3, 2011

February Reading

I'll be right up front with you and say that I read 11 books in February, but five of those books were the the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series by Jeff Kinney. Being the diary of a middle-school boy, this is certainly not something I'd normally pick up, but at work next Monday I'm helping lead a 4th/5th grade book club on that series. I will also say, the books are funny; funnier than I anticipated. For a laugh, just pick up the first book. You won't be disappointed.

The book I'd like to highlight this month is Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. I actually started this book back in December and read it off and on (it's a hefty almost 700 pages), but my slower reading is in no part a reflection on the quality of the book. It is excellent.

Gaskell was a contemporary of the Bronte sisters. And even wrote a biography of Charlotte Bronte. She writes with depth, developing her characters through normal life circumstances. This is the second Gaskell I've read (Cranford being the other title) and I find them gentle books, but not fluffy or overly romantic.

Wives and Daughters follows the maturing years of Molly Gibson. At the start of the book she lives with her widowed doctor father. A stepmother is introduced before too long. And while she's not the "wicked stepmother" type, she is definitely a manipulative, self-centered woman. She brings along a daughter not much older than Molly. Molly is a kind-hearted girl who is trying to figure out her place with her father, her stepmother, her stepsister, and two brothers who are friends (but could they be more?).

The book wasn't filled with tragedy or comedy, though both were wielded with a gentle pen, but rather the day-to-day joys and confusions of a young girl coming-of-age.

Even if you don't pick up Wives and Daughters, I'd highly recommend you acquaint yourself with the works of Elizabeth Gaskell. And if you aren't enticed to read one, then perhaps you'll at least enjoy watching one over her novelized mini-series put out by BBC.

Without further ado, my complete February reading list:

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley's Journal
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Last Straw
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Ugly Truth all by Jeff Kinney
Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath (also children's and read for work)
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
52 Loaves by William Alexander
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider


jeremy said...

i'm a few months behind you...I still have yet to read the Hunger Games trilogy...but for those "guys" who might be reading this blog, i recommmend similar and darker book originally written in Japanese entitled "Battle Royale". (Don't make the mistake of picking of the manga version). The book is amazing. Children in communist Japan are taken to an island with great promises only to find that they must fight each other til only one is left standing. Each is given a different random weapon and not necessarily one of equal value to another. One gets a knife, another a machine gun. Highly recommended. Sorry for hijacking your blog, sweetie~ Also, the movie based on it is pretty far out, too. (Subtitles)

Lana Joy said...

So, I haven't read any Gaskell, but I must say I've watched ALL of her BBC mini-series and I really liked them (even if North & South wasn't my favorite). I heart the Cranfod series. Wow.

Jude said...

Thanks for the review of Wives and Daughters by E. Gaskill. I always appreciate your book reviews and suggestions. I recently read Mary Barton by Gaskill and enjoyed it very much, you might give it a read.
Love U Both

Evan said...

I just bought The Weird Sisters for Emily. I hope it is worth the read!

Jeremy, Thanks for the tip. I loved the Hunger Games trilogy, but I'm kind of a book novice and also very easily pleased!

stephanie said...

Lana: Once you have time to read for pleasure, you should definitely pick up Cranford. You'll love it!

Aunt Judy: Glad to hear you've read Gaskell. I'll have to read Mary Barton sometime. Hope you are well!

Evan: The Weird Sisters was an enjoyable read. I picked it up because it had Shakespeare elements in it. I don't know if you would like this book or not, but The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak is an amazing book! And, I forgot to respond to your comment about FriendFace a couple weeks ago...a hilarious IT Crowd episode! Love it!

jeremy said...

I just got started on the Wimpy Kid books...HY-larious!

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