I breezed through this season’s reading list surprisingly fast. Winter isn’t even over yet! I even managed to squeeze a few extra books in. I am proud that all but one of these books were secondhand. From thrift stores to yard sales to little neighbourhood libraries and Facebook Marketplace. I am saving money, practicing sustainable shopping, and keeping books out of landfills. I encourage you to do the same. Here are my thoughts on the books I read over the past few months:
The first book I read I picked up at the goodwill a few months ago. My Story by Elizabeth Smart falls into the genres of true crime and autobiography. I was familiar with Elizabeth’s story of survival through an absolute nightmare, but I have never heard her telling of it. I expected this to be a heartwrenching read and I was right, but it was also inspiring to learn from Elizabeth about how she coped and how her experiences affected her values and beliefs about the world as well as her family, herself, and her captors. Although the subject matter is difficult, the reading itself is pretty easy.
To lighten things up, I started Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks. Most celebrities end up writing a memoir, but this is a collection of short stories. Hanks cleverly weaved vintage typewriters through his stories, making them either part of the plot or implanting little cameos. While this certainly was not my favourite read, there were a few short stories that stood out: ‘Christmas Eve 1953’, ‘Welcome to Mars’, and ‘Who’s Who?’
Room by Emma Donahue was huge around 2010, with the book gaining massive notoriety and then being followed up by a major motion picture. This book was a major letdown for me and it was actually the first book in years that I quit reading. I made it about 50 pages in and could not keep going. The concept of the book is brilliant; a years-long kidnapping, based loosely on a true story, told from the eyes of the 5-year-old child born to the kidnapped woman who had been impregnated by her kidnapper/rapist. However, in my humble and amateur opinion, the execution was poor. I couldn’t stand the childlike grammar and naming of inanimate objects.
Over Christmas, I indulged in the holiday-themed Dashing Through the Snow by Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, Carol Higgins Clark. I consumed this book on one cozy day and was delighted.
My family came to Alberta from Newfoundland to visit over the holidays and brought my brand new copy of Rock Paper Sex Volume 2: Trigger Warning that was only available in Newfoundland at the time I purchased it. Kerri Cull nailed it again by humanizing a provocative and controversial subject. I made it through this whole book on the drive home from Banff– I just could not put it down.
After the excitement of the holidays dwindled, I popped back to the theme of childhood kidnappings and read Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark. This book lacked in what the Queen of Suspense specializes in, but it did have a pretty good plot and satisfying conclusion.
I was able to get my suspense fix with my final read, Stephen King’s ‘Cell’. I loved the characters, the excitement, the buildup of ideas that leads readers to the conclusion without spoiling the ending. This was my favourite read from my original list (‘Rock Paper Sex’ was my favourite read overall). The movie, however, was a major flop. Don’t waste your time!
Have you read any of these books? What did you think?