I spent the better part of my high school & college years reading novels for tests or essays, but rarely for pleasure. I missed out on so many good books and decided that my post-grad life would be full of reading books of my choosing. While on the Race last year I did a bit of that, but not enough. This year I’ve decided to read 50 books before ringing in the 2015 year with a bang. I’ll post my personal reviews after every five I’ve completed.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
This series is all the rage these days and I can’t much blame the general population for loving it so much. First of all, Roth started writing these during college – that in and of itself is hard to fathom. Her writing is impeccable, the plot equally as gripping. This first of three is a page-turner, leaving readers with intoxicating curiosity but finishing well.
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The second book in the Divergent series did not disappoint. Of the three, this was my favorite. It is packed full of adventure, suspense, action, and detail, almost to the point of being overwhelming. There was never a dull moment, that’s for sure, and the ending is a cliffhanger. I recommend buying the third one when you start the second to prevent any undue anxiety. (I also loved this one because of the tree inside a circle. So much goodness!)
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
This was a quick read, if only because the first two set it up for success. I wasn’t as thrilled with the writing in this one, but, as a whole, I love how Roth finished out the series. Needless to say, it’s not what you expect and the movies won’t do it justice, but they’ll sure try. This will probably be a four-part film series rather than three.
A History of the Berry Schools on the Mountain Campus by Jennifer Dickey
As a Berry College alumna, I’ve always been intrigued by the Berry story, though it’s been condensed over the years into a few sentences about Martha starting a school for poor kids that turned into a college where students worked a lot and Henry Ford visited often enough to build a castle. When I started work at WSR, I realized there had to be more to the story and, indeed, there is. Jennifer Dickey does a wonderful job of portraying the historical significance of the schools on the mountain campus, including the Berry High School and Berry Academy, which are so crucial to the history of the college. This read is packed full of interesting stories and details that are lost on most current students and young alumni. I was fascinated and read this in one weekend. My only desire would be to have a larger detailed map of the buildings on the main and mountain campuses that are referenced as many of them are no longer standing or go by very different names. I recommend this to all recent alumni and current students. This will give you an appreciation and understanding of the schools’ history without all the creative liberties of other adaptions on the Berry story.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
This book was wildly popular in 2003 when first published – so much so that its film adaptation was released in 2007. Since most of these events happened during my high school years, I didn’t jump on the boat. After finding a copy at Goodwill for next to nothing, I sat down to read and within minutes had my heart broken. This is no light read, to be sure, but is an incredibly moving story. Hosseini does a wonderful job of explaining the cultural aspects of the novel – I could practically hear the rickshaws and taste the biriyani and naan – as well as the relationships and experiences of the characters in the novel. He is a truly talented writer.
Any book suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated! I would love to know what you’re reading and what you recommend.