Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


Yup, it’s the Steinbeck classic. I’m not sure what has piqued my interest in the classics but I’ve managed to make to adulthood without reading what many would refer to as the basics. This year, I will play catch-up. Up first, Of Mice and Men.

The book tells the story of George and Lennie.  George looks after Lennie whose mental development seems to have stopped at childhood. They are blue collar workers who can’t seem to get ahead.  George has a dream and a plan that one day, he and Lennie will and save enough money to buy a house and land. This can only happen if George can keep Lennie out of trouble which has already caused them to lose jobs. 

I didn’t like the way the book started and I almost didn’t read it. The narrative opens by describing the setting but it seemed excessive to me, too long. But I learned after reading Brothers (& me) that the first page is a bad place to draw a conclusion on a book. Plus this book is a classic. So I figured I'd exercise a bit of patience which is a feat for me. 

It didn’t take long for the pace to pick up. And then I discovered something else I disliked about the book, I felt like pages were missing. It has a tendency to jump ahead and a few times I looked back to make sure I didn’t miss anything. 

The book certainly did not lack suspense and came to a climactic ending.  I was eagerly anticipating how the book would end but then I found myself disturbed by the ending. It was kind of disheartening actually. I feel like I should've liked the book but I'm not sure I did.

I skimmed the surface with this review and a book with such clout could certainly use much more analytical insight from a reviewer. Many of you have probably read it so I'd like your insight to help flesh out this review. What did you think about Of Mice and Men?

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Monday, January 14, 2013

January 2013 Books Galore!

I’ve confessed before that I always try to catch a glimpse of book covers when I see someone reading. So I decided to share the titles that I've managed to get a clear view of on my weekday commute thus far. I’ve actually added a couple of them to my TBR list.

50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Private London by James Patterson
The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq by George Packer
The Gangs of Chicago: An Informal History of the Chicago Underworld by Herbert Asbury
Lincoln: A Novel (The American Chronicle Series) by Gore Vidal
En el tiempo de las mariposas by Julia Alvarez

Book Recommendations I’ve Received in January
Fall of Giants by Ken Follet
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
The Known World by Edward P Jones
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson

Books I’ve Purchased in January
I made it 12 days in 2013, and then I couldn’t help myself. I bought 3 books....

The Art of War by Sun Tzu
The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life by Glenn Beck
The Most They Ever Had by Rick Bragg

  I will make Books Galore a recurring series here at Reading Has Purpose.

What books have you purchased or added to your TBR list?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Final 2012 Reading Update!

I’ve finally compiled the list of books I read in 2012. Turned out to be 7 less than I read in 2011. I started to do a summation similar to the 2010 wrap up but to be honest, I didn't feel like thinking. So here is the 2012 list for the record:

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Being Anti-Social by Leigh K Cunningham

The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

The Meaning of Life by Esquire Magazine

Our Black Year by Maggie Anderson

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, MD

The Maria Paradox by Rosa Maria Gil

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey

A list of my 2012 reading challenges can be found here. I've decided to forgo any reading challenges in 2013.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

One Maryland One Book


I LOVE my state's One Maryland One Book initiative created by the Maryland Humanities Council! It's a statewide reading and discussion program focused on one book each year.

An open call to the general public for this year's book nominations under the theme “a pivotal and impactful moment in time” along with other criteria generated a list of 140 titles. I'm eagerly awaiting the final selection of one of the books by a convened committee! Those that are in the final running follows:

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman 
Jarrettsville by Cornelia Nixon
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks  by Rebecca Skloot
The Other Wes More by Wes Moore
That Night by Alice McDermott
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan 
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel 
Home by Toni Morrison
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

This is the 5th year of the One Maryland One Book initiative. Here are the past selections:
2008 - A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind
2009 - Song Yet Sung by James McBride
2010 - Outcasts United by Warren St. John

2011 - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Does your state have any reading initiatives?