Thursday, November 13, 2014

October Reads

Sadly I only read 4 books in October, though two of them were quite long. Diana Gabaldon is a great storyteller, but she isn't exactly concise in her writing... I think that's why I love her books though! 

5. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
The second in the Outlander series, Dragonfly in Amber was just as thrilling, romantic, and captivating as the first. I had the hardest time putting it down, and ended up reading every spare second that I had (and even putting off things I needed to do just because I really wanted to keep reading). I was a little confused in the beginning because the time period shifts and I couldn’t figure out what had happened (I mean I could… but it didn’t make sense with how Outlander ended. In the end though it all makes perfect sense.) I love the deepening of Claire and Jaime’s relationship in this book as well as the further development of historical events. While I know not all the events in the book are true to history, there’s enough historical fact in it to make me feel like I have a better understanding of the time period. Prior to this, my only historical understandings of the 1700’s involved the American revolution- so clearly I had a lot to learn.

6. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyle
I’ve seen the movie before, but for some reason I still decided to read this even though I knew the depressing ending. I honestly don’t know how I feel about this book. It’s depressing and hard to digest, but so well written and historically significant that I can’t help but see the beauty of it as well. The main character, Bruno, is just so young and na├»ve that at points I wanted to shake him for being so clueless, but at the same time I wanted him to keep that childish innocence that protects him from the horrors of his father’s involvement in the Holocaust. The use of a child’s perspective for this book was both a risky move, but also a significant one. The author wrote a note in the end about how it was the only way to write authentically about the time period since he was not a part of it.

7. Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon
While I was waiting for my turn with the 3rd Outlander book, Voyager, I stumbled upon a mini-series also written by Gabaldon about one of the minor characters that appears in Voyager. Since I hadn’t read the book yet, I really had no idea who Lord John was, but I decided to read anyway. Clearly I should have probably waited until after reading Voyager. While it’s explained on Gabaldon’s website as being able to stand alone, there are several parts of this book where it was clear I was missing something in not knowing Lord John’s background. It was an interesting enough book, but didn’t make total sense to me until after I read Voyager. That said, there are several other of these shorter books available that I plan to read along with the rest of the Outlander books.

8. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

This is the third book in the Outlander series and very different from the first two. **Spoiler Alert** At the end of Dragonfly in Amber, Claire ventured back through the rock circle and back to the 1960’s. In the beginning of the book it has been 20 years since Claire left Jamie. She begins the search to find out when and where Jamie passed away. She then has to decide whether or not she should go back through the rocks and try to find Jaime again, 20 years after she left him right before the battle of Culloden. At first I didn’t love this book. It was so sad and lonely seeing where Claire and Jamie were during the 20 years they had spent apart. The second half of the book was more interesting, though things got really complicated and in some part confusing. Without the impending battles that were prevalent in the first two books, the story took a very different turn and that affects the writing style and the focus. I enjoyed it a great deal, and had trouble putting it down for the second half, but I wasn’t as enthralled by this as I was with the first two. That said, I have the 4th book waiting for me at the public library to read! 

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