Reading Progress…

15Jan12

Reading progress so far has been positive!  I finished my second book last night, and honestly, both books could not be more different from one another.

I started the year off with something light, mostly because I had a long plane ride ahead of me … and I didn’t want to have to focus TOO hard.  I selected Maneater by Gigi Levangie Grazer, who wrote The Starter Wife, which I read a few years ago.  Maneater is the perfect kind of chick lit that you want, when you don’t want to think.  It takes place in LA, the characters give the illusion of being “women of leisure”, but base most of their leisure time based on other people’s money.  In this case, Clarissa Alpert, our heroine, is living life through her father’s money, and is on the hunt for a husband.  She finds it in the dashing Aaron Mason, but of course, he is not what he seems.  This book was an easy read, but beyond that, it was really FUNNY.  Levangie Grazer does a great job of skewering the life that she certainly comes from (she is married to producer Brian Grazer), and gives a great insider perspective to the outside reader.  Of course, this book is certainly not one that I would put on any college syllabus – nor am I SUPER proud that I read it, but hey, you have to start off somewhere, and for me, this book made sense, as it is a perfect one for travel.

The second book of the year was When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.  Jordan wrote one of my more favorite books in the last couple years, MudboundMudbound and When She Woke could not be more different, though.  Where Mudbound is a piece of historical fiction about race relations in the deep South in Mississippi after WWII, When She Woke is a dystopian novel, set in America in the not-so-distant future.  In this America, Church and State have no separation, and criminals are dyed or “chromed” to match their crime, so that the world is able to distinguish them from other citizens, and shun, abuse, rape or kill them.  The main character of When She Woke, Hannah Payne is a Red, and has been chromed after having an abortion, the result of an affair with her married pastor.  Hannah refuses to reveal the father of her baby, and is sentenced to 16 years as a chrome.  The novel takes her through her time in jail, her time at the Straight Path Center (a placement given to her by the pastor that impregnated her), and her harrowing escape to Canada, where she hopes to find her freedom.

When She Woke really was a departure for me, as far as reading styles go.  I normally try to stick with realistic fiction, but because I enjoyed Jordan’s last novel, I decided to give it a go.  I did really like the book, even though it’s not my normal style.  This book is a not-so-veiled retelling of The Scarlet Letter, which certainly made it more interesting, especially considering that age old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”  Technology and environmental landscape may have changed vastly since Hawthorne’s time, but the casting out that Hannah Payne received rivals that of Hester Prynne’s.  I’m not chomping at the bit to read any more dystopian fiction, at least not in the near future, but I think that it was certainly worth it, for a step outside of the norm.

 

Reading Progress for 2012:

Off the Shelf Challenge:  2/15

Personal Reading Challege for 2012:  2/43

 

3/5 stars

3.5/5 stars

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