Reading Round-Up: Februaryfeatured

February Reading Round-Up {the ponytail diaries}

I feel like I really slowed down this month. This is why I’ve already smashed through my fiction reading goal and have made barely any progress on non-fiction — reading non-fiction takes forever.

Blackbirds by Chuck WendigBlackbirds

Em. Ah. Er. Well…

This book was not for me.

Which is not to say it’s bad, actually I was into the plot — Miriam Black is a 20-something badass who sees your death when she touches you, and one night she hitchhikes and realizes the trucker who picked her up sees her as he dies, but she doesn’t know where he’ll be or how it’s gonna happen. And she’s learned the hard way she can’t stop people from dying once she knows their fate but she feels compelled to help this guy somehow, and…

See? Interesting. Intriguing. Compelling (I finished the book even though I wasn’t enjoying a lot of it because I wanted to see what happened). Miriam is the kind of badass character sort of in the vein of Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

But I couldn’t handle the graphic gore and gratuitous violence. Which surprised, because when it comes to, say, movies and TV, I may not *like* watching violent, gory scenes, but I can usually handle it fine. But in this book? I skimmed entire pages because I didn’t want to read the details of, say, a guy getting his foot sawed off. Yeah.

That said, I’ve been reading the author’s blog (terribleminds) for a couple years — that’s why I picked up Blackbirds — and the blog is very worth reading if you’re into fiction writing in the slightest.

Nicholson: A Biography by Marc EliotNicholson: A Biography

I think, if I’m reading about a contemporary figure, I want it to be an autobiography/memoir (like Open or The Tender Bar) or at least an authorized biography, where the author spoke to the subject directly (like Steve Jobs). While Nicholson was incredibly detailed and well-researched, it sort of read like “Jack got asked to do this movie. He agreed. Anecdotes about filming. The film wasn’t well-received/The film was amazing and Oscar buzz started building. Jack said this about the film after it was released.” It was very factual reporting. Obviously the author couldn’t speculate or say anything that couldn’t be backed up due to possible libel claims, but I don’t feel like I have any insight into Jack’s character or psyche — beyond he’s kind of a sleazy philanderer.

Early in the book, the author claimed that finding out the “truth” about his parentage profoundly changed Nicholson’s self-image, the roles and films he sought, and the way he approached his acting — but aside from being told that, the book didn’t share why or how that happened. Without Nicholson’s first person insights, I would’ve loved some more critical insight and analysis into the differences in his acting before and after he found out the woman he thought was his mother was his grandmother and his much older sister was actually his mother.

I do have a lengthy list of classic movies to see, both Nicholson’s movies and others from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. So there’s that.

*I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Landline by Rainbow RowellLandline

So, I reserved three of Rainbow Rowell’s books at the library after the hundredth or so review I saw of Eleanor and Park. And of course, they ALL came in at once. So I’m on a bit of a Rowell binge at the moment. (And btw, I’m still first in line for Desire Map. FOR TWO MONTHS AND COUNTING.)

It took me a little while to get into the story. Some of the narrative style tics (all the parenthesis) (and more parenthesis) bugged me. Which I know is weird considering how much I LOVE parenthesis, but I guess I don’t feel like they have a place in a narrative?

But. Aside from never really getting why Georgie was so love with Neil (who comes off as kind of a jerk, at least at first), I really loved that a YA novel dealt with a main character who’s around 40 and her nearly 20-year marriage, instead of high school melodrama. And some of the quotes about love and marriage were just right on. By the time I was around 2/3 of the way through, I was feverishly turning pages wanting to find out what would happen.

Fiction 18/12
Biographies 5/12
Non-fiction 4/12

amazon links are affiliate || photo credit // Paul Bence // cc

What have you been reading lately?