Reading has been a hit and miss for me, especially in the last few years. I’ve been trying especially hard in the last few months to read since my work has a monthly book club and I want to have something to talk about each month. In April I read five books altogether, which isn’t a lot to a typical book nerd, but that’s a lot for me in consideration to the dry reading season.
Woodsong by Gary Paulsen
This book is a re-read for me, but also not really. I read this book a lot when I was in elementary school and I wanted to read it again because it’s about Paulsen running the Iditarod in Alaska. Reading this book again was fun but I realized it wasn’t as good as I remembered it to be. The writing is very simple and not very in depth. Paulsen usually is, especially considering his target audience is probably around 9-12 year olds but I generally like his books even as an adult. This one didn’t cut it for me as an adult. I was left longing for more and I didn’t get more. I’m not saying you shouldn’t read it, because I think people should read it because you can’t ever go wrong with Gary Paulsen, but maybe this one was one I should have left as a fond childhood memory.
Braving It: a Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey Into the Alaskan Wild by James Campbell
This book was a great counterpart to Woodsong. It was more in depth and immersive than Paulen’s book was. Over a year and a half or so, Campbell takes his high school daughter up to Alaska three different times. The first time was for three and a half weeks over the summer where they helped Campbell’s cousin build a new cabin on their property for him and his Innuit wife, Edna. The second time was in late November/early December for three and a half weeks where the two of them spent hunting and learning how to survive during an Alaskan winter. The third time was more of a fun trip, where he and his daughter went up (again for three and a half weeks) and went canoeing with a couple of other guys down the Hulahula River. I enjoyed this one because it was more focused on the day to day Alaskan living whereas most other books focus on the beauty of the wilderness and the occasional commentary on its rough living arrangements.
Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk: a Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics by Eugene Cho
This one’s more of a guidebook to living. Cho makes the statement that Christians have blindly followed an ideology and have garnered the reputation of being judgmental and narrow-minded. In this book, he attempts to teach us how important it is to engage in politics while keeping in mind other people’s experiences and viewpoints and not hating them for not believing the same things that you, the reader, might have. He tries hard to write with balance and give pointers for people on both sides of the political spectrum, though I get the feeling that he is more on one side than the other. I thought this had some good points, but I also found myself getting bored by the end as he reiterates the same points over and over again. The main point is: Don’t be stupid, stupid. Love everybody and don’t hate on others who have different viewpoints. That’s all.
Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr
This book is the sixth book in the Virgin River series. I’ve been reading them off and on since last fall and I really love the series. I don’t typically read romance novels, but I’ve enjoyed Carr’s books. Temptation Ridge focuses on Shelby, the niece of one of the other characters that have been introduced in the series. Her mother recently died from a prolonged illness and she has moved up for a few months to spend time with the uncle and cousins before deciding what she wanted to do next. Of course, she falls in love with a former Blackhawk pilot named Luke Riordon, who is every bit of a jerk. Well, not so much a jerk, he’s just a loner and doesn’t want to be anything but a loner and even says it to Shelby a time or two. She still loves him in spite of this and the fact that there’s a ten year difference. Nobody likes this pairing, even I didn’t like the pairing. Obviously some issues arise but they end up coming together anyway, as romances do. This one feels rather forced for me and I didn’t like the outcome. I would have preferred to have read about another couple that was introduced in this book (which I’m certain will be the focus of the next book in the series.) This one was a dud, but still a light read.
The Enchantress Returns (Land of Stories series) by Chris Colfer
This is book two in the series, first one I finished at the end of March. There’s several books in the series and are written by the actor who appeared in Glee. I’ve never seen the show, but this might interest those who loved that. The Land of Stories series focuses on twins Alex and Conner and they discover that the fairy tales they’ve read all their lives is actually true when they fall into their grandmother’s book called the Land of Stories. The first book focuses on them exploring the different regions of the kingdom while they try to get out, while the second book focuses on them trying to save their mom and grandmother from the evil enchantress who appears in Sleeping Beauty. They are fun books if you’re in need of something light to read. I’ll probably come back to the series when I’m in the mood for something light, which might be a long time from now (as I rarely read light hearted books.)