Weekly Reading Round-Up

This week wound up being a YA reading week for me. About three trends behind everyone else, I finally read:

— Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games.

I see the point of the hype. Underneath the post-apocalyptic framework, the book is essentially a classic, fairy-tale quest, and very compelling. Something about it reminded me of one of my old favorites, Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword— so I read that next.

— Robin McKinley, The Blue Sword.

In a conquered land ruled from the faraway Homeland (anyone else thinking Victorian India here?), a young girl finds a very unexpected destiny. I love this book.

— Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Another old favorite, although I find, as I get older, I sympathize more and more with Katie. An incredibly moving tale of coming of age in turn of the century Brooklyn. It still makes me cry.

— Florence King, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady.

I’m not quite sure how I got from Francie Nolan to Florence King’s memoir of growing up eccentric in 1930’s Virginia. A brilliant prose stylist with a quirky sense of humor, King doesn’t take much seriously– with the exception of grammar.

What have you been reading?


  1. Georgia on May 27, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    This has been the week for The French Lieutenant’s Woman. I love the shifting narrative structure and the cultural references.

  2. Gina on May 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I loved French Lieutenant’s Woman! My favorite character might be the author, I think. 😀
    I’ve been reading a strange mix lately – I finally picked up The Pillars of the Earth, and I’m also in a volume of Calvin and Hobbes. I love summer and being able to read whatever I want…

  3. Ginger on May 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    For me, the light but hilarious read, Agnes and the Hitman, by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer is carrying me into my weekend. And Lauren, I loved the Hunger Games and it’s sequel Catching Fire. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Mocking Jay finale, unfortunately. It’s odd trying to describe those books to someone though. “It’s a brutal story, but it’s not a bad read, really!” 🙂

  4. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on May 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I agree, Mockingjay let me down, but I think Catching Fire was even better than the first.

    This week I’ve been all over the place reading wise. Finished the new Sookie Stackhouse, which was fun. Finished Jane Eyre, which is always fabulous, had to follow that up with watching the wonderful Toby Stephens, sigh. The a read the new manga A Brides Story, which was quite cute. Finished the week by picking up Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, which posits, any music left in a car more than a fortnight will turn into the best of Queen.

  5. Angela on May 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I’m reading Don Quixote, a recent translation by James Montgomery, which I find to be engaging and accessible. Also reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, about a year in Berlin (1933-34) as seen through the eyes of FDR’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany and said ambassador’s headstrong, independent daughter.

  6. Am7 on May 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Lauren and you think you’re behind the trends?
    I read Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen.
    It came highly recommend from you and people who post here regularly. I loved the side characters. It reminded me more of your pink books more than anything else I have read. Thanks for the recommendation; I will probably read the sequels.

  7. Cho on May 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve been reading Entwined, by Heather Dixon, which is an interesting if underdeveloped take on The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Besides that I read the collaborative novel Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, which I thoroughly enjoyed (two NY teens fall in love via a red Moleskine found in the Strand bookstore-what’s NOT to love?). I also read 1066 And All That, which is possibly the most hysterical book I’ve ever read-it’s a pseudo history of England with amusing chapter reviews asking one to do such things as “arrange in order: a) Henry I, b) Henry II, and c) Henry II”. I highly recommend it to any anglophile with a good sense of humour.

  8. Cho on May 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    *c) Henry III

  9. Sheila on May 27, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I am taking a break from the Morlands and have embarked on yet another Rhys Bowen series : Evans Above. She is really a terrific writer. I also zipped through a few of Kasey Michaels’ older regencies. She has catty ( and funny) things to say about other romance writers in the Maggie series, but her books are very enjoyable, especially the more traditional ones.

    To Cho: I have adored 1066 and All That since I was very young, read it several times and still laugh. But , darn, I have lost that 1st edition….

  10. Sarah on May 28, 2011 at 12:58 am

    I loved the Hunger Games & Catching Fire, although Mokingjay was not as strong as the previous two. Still a great series, though!

    I finished Shades of Grey and The Last Dragonslayer, and really enjoyed both (it’s Jasper Fforde, enough said =D). Currently reading G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, which is interesting so far. I’ve never read anything by Nancy Mitford so I think I’ll try to rectify that next.

  11. Pam on May 28, 2011 at 10:34 am

    The Hunger Games is on my summer kindle list. This week I’ve been reading The Boy who Followed Ripley by Patricia Highsmith and it’s been pretty enjoyable so far. Her writing is wonderfully dark and frank and Tom Ripley’s French wife, Heloise, is hilarious. I definitely recommend the Ripley series.

    Lauren, did you see the review of David McCullough’s new book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris in the Times Book Review? It’s more concerned with later in the 19th century than you are, but I thought of you/Pink nevertheless.

  12. AngelB on May 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Well I’m still in re-reading mode…I need to stop breaking my Nooks. 🙁 I am still working on Wicked as the musical just came through Boise, but then I’m re-reading Julia Quinn’s last series (which are hilarious) in preparation for her new book coming next week.

  13. Virginia on May 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I agree with everything everyone else has said about The Hunger Games. It and Catching Fire were excellent, but Mocking Jay, while still decent, didn’t live up to what I hoped and expected.

    This week I read Water For Elephants and Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo. I thoroughly enjoyed both.

    Currently I’m reading Abandon by Meg Cabot. It’s a YA retelling of mythology’s Persephone and Hades set in the modern world. I’m fascinated to see how she makes it work. 🙂

  14. Amy N. on May 28, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Finished Frankenstein. Couldn’t find Jane Eyre so I’m finally reading Blood Lily since I’ll have a long weekend to enjoy it. Next on the pile is “Montaillou”.

  15. Gina on May 30, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Cho – I just wanted to say that I was intrigued by your description of Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, looked it up, bought it on the kindle, and read it in about 5 hours last night. It was wonderful! Thanks for suggesting it. 🙂

Leave a Comment