Thursday, August 2, 2012

Booking Through Thursday (and My July Book List)

Today's Booking Through Thursday asks two related questions:
Pooch asks:
Overall, what factor most influences your choice of your next read?

Sefcug asks:
What is it that makes you want to read a book by an author you have never read before?
Several blogs I read and enjoy suggest books (for instance: Ordo Amoris or Mental Multivitamin). I order these books from my library and add them to my stack. When I finish a book, I pick up another from the stack (though not necessarily from the top).

These are some things I'm looking for when I choose something to read:
  • strong writing skills
  • distinctive authorial style
  • historical setting (not always, but I do like them)
  • a mystery(again, not always, but I love 'em like chocolate)
  • comfortable rather than graphic (I've made some exceptions to this rule. I generally regret making those exceptions)
  • general value or of historical merit
All that said, here's the list of books I finished in July:
1. Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag. Non-fiction by Orlando Figes. Truly amazing story. Highly recommended. Especially recommended if you enjoy historical fiction (because this book is as good as anything any author could cook up), books of letters, or books with exotic settings.

2. A Dance with Dragons. Fiction by George R. R. Martin. This is part of the highly popular Game of Thrones series. I cannot recommend them because they are chock full of objectionable elements. They do make for compelling reading, though. (And no, I have not seen the tv series. I will most certainly not watch it. Ever. The books alone gave me enough information to make that decision.)

3.The Uninvited Guests. Fiction by Sadie Jones. This was recommended by my library to anyone who enjoyed Downton Abbey. This story is set in 1912 (and I have to point out here that I noticed at least two glaring anachronisms in the book) and features some memorable characters. The best way I can describe this without giving too much away is: A good Downton Abbey episode meets a very strange and supernatural Twilight Zone episode. So, if you're up for that sort of thing, you may enjoy this book.

4. The Underground Stream: The Life and Art of Caroline Gordon. Non-fiction by Nancylee Novell Jonza. A biography about the author of Penhally. While I didn't like Penhally, I did find the author's life made compelling reading. Also, she was born and lived in an area of the country I know well (Elkton, KY and Clarksville, TN). This biography didn't incline me to read anything else by Gordon but I would be interested in reading another bigraphy by Jonza.

5.The Day of Small Things. Fiction by O. Douglas. Gentle, British fiction. "O. Douglas" is a pen-name for Anna Masterton Buchan, sister of John Buchan. The writing talent definitely ran in the family. You might want to check out the Good Reads page about this book and author here.

6. Jane of Lantern Hill. Fiction by L.M. Montgomery. I feel like I forget how wonderful this book is between readings. Jane is one of Montgomery's best, well-rounded, poignant and plucky heroines. When you consider this book against the lesser "Anne" books that Montgomery reluctantly cranked out in the 1930's (Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne of Ingleside), you will marvel at her skill as an author when she had a subject to spark her imagination. Also one of the few works by Montgomery to deal with "After the war" since Jane's dad is a Great War veteran. Highly recommended, and not just for girls.

7. The Fault in our Stars. Fiction by John Green. A story about two teenagers, terminal cancer, and life. Somehow manages not to be saccharine or poignant. Some other reviewers have called it "Raw" or "Electric". Definitely memorable, but not necessarily recommended for all readers.

Totals for July (two weeks of camp sure get in the way of my reading!): 7
Fiction: 5
Non-fiction: 2

How do you choose what to read next? And, if you're willing to share - what did you read in July?
This post is linked to Booking Through Thursday.
This post is also linked to the Saturday Review of Books hosted by Semicolon.
The book covers in this post are Amazon Affiliate links. Action taken with these links could result in compensation for me.


LibrarySnake said...

You have a good idea of the things you like to read :)

Beth G said...

I live in Clarksville, TN so when I saw the book The Underground Stream on your book list, I was intriqued. I'm adding this book to my stack for a read. Thanks.

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