Monday, April 20, 2009

Currently Reading

Before I start writing about my most recent reading I should announce my newest efforts at I've been on hiatus for several weeks now, but my return installment of The Finicky Reader, which will run for the next two weeks, is titled "Reading Advocacy."

I'm finally on to a bit of pleasure reading! Between hanging out with the family, grading scarily huge stacks of essays, and playing with Miss Daisy (some things never change), I'm finally reading for fun again! Yippee!

I read Claudia Gray's teen vampire novel, Evernight, a while back after receiving it in a Halloween package. I have to admit that my expectations were low given the overwhelming popularity of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga. I love Twilight, mind you, and I was sincerely afraid that everything released so soon afterward might be a knockoff. I was thrilled with Evernight (click on the title on my sidebar to see the review) and found it original, fresh, and Gray's writing is quite a bit better than Meyer's in some regards.

Stargazer, the second novel in the Evernight series, so far, is not as great as the first one. That's not to say that I'm uninterested or turned off--it's pretty fun--but it hasn't grabbed me as thoroughly as the first book. Main character, Bianca, is a student at the boarding school for vampires (Evernight Academy), and she's weathering the torrid teen emotions associated with her loyalty to vampire hunter boyfriend, Lucas. The two are separated in this book, and it's kind of a bummer. I really enjoyed his character in the previous novel, and only having short snippets of him takes its toll on the story thus far. Given, I'm only about 100 pages in, so there's plenty to go, and I'm looking forward to whatever else Bianca might get into. I'll report back on this one later.

While Stargazer is my bedtime and early morning book, my between-times book (when I'm fully awake) is Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild. I'm sure everyone on the planet has heard of it by now given the film release and the true story having gotten a lot of press, but here's the super-short blurb: Child of well-to-do family, Chris McCandless, gives away all his possessions and heads off into the wilds of Alaska. He's later found dead. This is the story of his journey.

So far I'm really pleased with Krakauer's research efforts, and his storytelling is superb. I'm especially fond of the quotes that begin each chapter--snippets of books and bits of writing found in McCandless's journal, etc. It's hard to imagine what the guy could've been thinking, and I haven't yet decided if he's a visionary or extremely selfish for heading off into the wilderness with hardly a word to anyone. I wasn't sure how Krakauer would stitch such a vague story together, but so far he gets two thumbs up.

What are you reading, bloggy friends? I still haven't managed to carve out the time for all the blog hopping I used to do, but that's high on my list of stuff to get back to in the near future!


  1. I haven't read Into the Wild yet, but I did like his book Under the Banner of Heaven about Fundamentalist Mormonism. He's a very vivid writer.

    Glad you are able to find the time for pleasure reading... it is so important! I would go crazy without it, that is for sure :-)

  2. I acually really liked Into the Wild and I didn't think i was going to. He is an excellent writer (unlike me)

  3. I read Evernight awhile back and really enjoyed it. Didn't know the sequel had come out! Must look it up.

    As for what I'm reading? I forget what fun reading is! I'm up to my neck in reading and research for school, which is enjoyable in its own way, but I can't remember when I got to kick back and read a book for fun, not because I had to write a paper on it. Ah well, the end of the semester is fast approaching, and then I think I'll dive headfirst into some Poppy Z. Brite. :)

  4. Jon Krakauer is one of my favorite authors -- I'm in the middle of Under the Banner of Heaven right now (as a daytime read, it's too creepy in places to read before bed). Into the Wild was a very good book; the story is fascinating, but I mostly love how you can see Krakauer putting together the story and you get taken along on that. I hope you like it!

  5. i think it's awesome that you haven't had time for blog reading. :-) admirable indeed, since it means you have a life (i could be envious. ;-))

    i'm rereading the no. 1 ladies detective agency series...i wanted to feel grounded and read something really feel-good and mma. ramotswe always does the trick.

  6. I really want to read Into the Wild...maybe one day I will finally get to it!

  7. I'm in between books right now, but continue to read like a mad woman. There are several books waiting for me at the library, so I'll see what grabs me.

    I liked Into the Wild, but really wanted to throttle the central character. (I won't give anything away.) The movie was a great adaptation.

  8. Kim, I really want to read Under the Banner of Heaven. I think my mom might even have it on her stacks. Will have to check on that!

    J, good to "see" you!

    Jen, I'm SO glad you said Poppy Z. Brite! I have a Half-Price gift card and need to spend it! I want to read something of hers and I think Chuck would like her stuff. Good luck getting back to your fun reading!

    Kim, couldn't have said it better re: Krakauer's ability to piece things together and carry the reader along. Great stuff!

    Jules, this having a life thing is very strange! I'm not used to it, but I think I love it! I read #1 Ladies Detective Agency a couple of years ago and liked it! Need to read more.

    ObsessedReader, I hear ya. I have such huge stacks, there are books I won't get to for YEARS.

    KnittingReader, I can't wait to see the movie! I've bumped Stargazer to the top o'the stack because I need to get it finished for a review, but I can't wait to get back to Into the Wild.

  9. Krakauer did a very difficult job piecing together events to write Into the Wild but I loved it. I only saw the film recently and thought it was good, but nothing like the book. Certainly not as moving or beautifully written. Though several people had a tear or two at the end of the film! Glad you are enjoying the book.

  10. I have Evernight out from the library. I just need to find time to read it! I read Into the Wild, though, and really enjoyed it! Yay, for reading for fun. :)

  11. As you know, lol, I loved Evernight, too. I finished Stargazer a few weeks ago and I have to admit that at first I felt the same way...not sure it would live up to Evernight. Keep reading. Ms. Gray's going to throw you a big surprise (again!). I'm firmly in Balthazar's camp now. :) Check out my blog...the review post is still up.

  12. I've got a copy of Evernight on my stacks, I think thanks to your recommendation.

    I'm reading 2 non-fiction books: The Blood of Lambs - memoir of a former PLO terrorist (scary stuff) and
    So Long Status Quo - about people who have made a difference and how we can emulate them.

    Both are cool in totally different ways. And, I just returned from Costa Rica, last week. You didn't even miss me, did you? Sigh. Romance has taken over little Andiloo's life, but we're happy you're happy. We just miss ya.

  13. I really liked Evernight too. I haven't had a chance to grab Stargazer yet. I'll be waiting for your review!!

    I'm actually tackling my first 2 graphic novels!! The first Sandman and the first Fables. We'll see how it goes!

  14. Your blog always inspires me to try to get more fiction-reading in; with my love of history and my curiousity about certain subjects (global warming, the Iraq war, politics, etc) I tend to lean way to much toward non-fiction. You always remind me to save room on my plate for fiction.

    I read Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" a few years back-- it was absolutely one of the most riveting reads I've ever had.

    With my entry into nursing school, even my non-fiction writing will be limited. At least I have your blog for the time-being!

  15. Haven't read Into the Wild, though I have given it a couple of times as gifts. The movie was excellent and I like the way they tied his journal/diary into the film. Very well done.

  16. Mariel, I'm looking forward to trying the movie once I'm done with the book. Now if I could only STOP FALLING ASLEEP during my nightly reading time.

    Kailana, I hope you like Evernight as much as I did!

    Tammy, I can't wait for that curveball! Gray is very good at delivering those!

    Nancy, both of those books sound awesome! I did know about your Costa Rica trip! I wanna gooooo!

    Stephanie, I can't WAIT to read what you think of the graphic novels. I love Fables, though sadly I wasn't as big a fan of the first Sandman. Everyone tells me I need to plug away at the series a bit more, though. Apparently they get better.

    Johnny, good to "see" you! I've been leaning toward the non-fiction lately myself. Not sure if it's the bf's inspiration or just a mood thing. Good luck in nursing school!

    Carl, I can't wait to see it! It's high on my netflix list!


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