Monday, February 18, 2008

Project 40: January

I set a goal this year to read 40 books by year's end. I figure this is as good a place as any to keep track of them all. I'll post them by month, so here's January's:

“Salvation: Scenes From the Life of St. Francis” by Valerie Martin
I admit it, I cheated a little with this one. I started it on December 31st, 2007. I had started reading “The Little Flowers of St. Francis” and found it sweet but a little uninteresting. “Salvation” turned out to be an intimate, dramatic recounting of similar events in “Franceso’s” life, starting with his death and moving backward in time. Martin’s style really drew me in, and I’m glad I read this version of the saint’s story. A

“Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I cheated a lot. I started this one early in 2007, maybe even before, read a lot over Spring Break, then put it down for a long time. I shouldn’t have done that because I lost a lot of momentum and picking it up again was difficult. The first part of the book was really intense and sucked me in, but after a bunch of characters got added to the mix, I had a hard time keeping all the Russian names and nicknames straight. It also dragged quite a bit in the last quarter of the book. I don’t think I got what people are supposed to feel about Raskolnikov. I just like books where people go crazy, and this was one. B-

“God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater” by Kurt Vonnegut
“Slaughterhouse Five” is one of my favorite books, and a fellow English major recommended this one. It was a good read, without much of a purpose, but that worked well. The tangent bios about related characters were sometimes funny, sometimes sad. There were a couple of parts that made me chuckle out loud. It’s a quick read; I read all of it minus 15 pages in a Saturday after I’d finished “Crime and Punishment.” A-

“Where Have All The Flower Children Gone?” by Sandra Gurvis
Written by a former flower child (apparently). It contains interviews with Vietnam era radicals, hawks, doves, vets, squares, and anyone in between. The author makes an attempt to show all sides of events like the Kent State killings by interviewing National Guard Members, students, and faculty, for example, but she stuck in a few snide personal comments that I found kind of annoying and cheap. I liked the many perspectives that she offered and that she included “Where are they now?” paragraphs. B

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