Bookworm Diaries

It’s safe to say that I have been a bookworm for the past month.

During school I never had the time to just sit down with a novel. Any reading I did do was from a textbook or assigned supplemental article. In other words, it was nothing I enjoyed.

But school has ended (for good) and suddenly I find my self with an abundance of free time, and half a dozen intriguing books on my summer reading list. Of the half-dozen, I have already blown through four and hereby offer my review (and recommendation) of each:

1. Water for Elephants: The circus has always been a mystery to me. And I mean that in the most literal sense of the word. I am not referring to the modern day circus, aka Cirque du Soleil (which, by the way, you should definitely go see if you haven’t already). I am talking about the real circus – acrobats, animals, “freaks,” ringleader, and all.  I guess I’ve just never understood the appeal of the old fashioned circus. Until now.

Although the circus freaks and clowns still don’t appeal to me, after reading this book I wouldn’t hesitate to go to the circus if the opportunity presented itself.  But only to catch a glimpse of the people that make the show happen – that is where the real action takes place. Author Sara Gruen paints a realistic and engrossing picture of life on a traveling circus in the midst of the Great Depression. She toys with your emotions and appeals to your curiosity through the memories of Jacob Jankowski, the show’s novice vet. Romance and action and drama and suspense – it’s got it all.

I read it twice in a row.

2. The Kite Runner: I honestly cannot find the words to express how this book affected me. It is a tough read and often sad. You’ll find yourself loving, hating, misunderstanding, and feeling sorry for the main character, Amir, all at the same time. The story starts when Amir is a young boy, growing up in a peaceful Afghanistan. His home country is in a state of turmoil when he returns from America years later to search for his long-lost best friend’s son. He is subjected to cruelty and harm, and is forced to face his past and discover unexpected truths. It is a story of family, friendship, and loyalty that you should not miss.

3/4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire: It’s been a long time since I’ve fallen for a series, but Lisbeth Salander and Mickael Blomkvist have captured my curiosity.  These two characters combine to make an intriguing duo. While Salander’s history is a hodgepodge of instability and secrecy, Blomkvist’s is one of journalist controversy and scandal. There is no denying their unpredictability.

In the first book of the series (Dragon Tattoo), the two characters meet under unusual circumstances before working together to uncover the truth about the complicated Vander family and a murder that occurred nearly 40 years ago. The second novel takes you deeper into Salander’s hidden past and leaves you with a sense of foreboding. Both books will surprise you at every turn. It’s an intricate combination of mystery, murder, scandal, and complicated romance that I cannot begin to recap. And it’s well worth the 600+ page read (each).

I will undoubtedly go purchase the newly released series closer, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, in the next few days.

Up next: Something Borrowed and The Lovely Bones.

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~ by Jamilyn Mohr on August 5, 2010.

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