My reading still hasn't picked up to where it was when I was commuting, and I've accepted that. Even though it takes me longer to get through my books, I've read some really, really great ones lately (some of which won't make it onto the blog until the November OSR post).
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shanghai Girls opened my eyes up to a world I didn't know much about. I found Pearl and May's Shanghai life fascinating as well as their flight from China and their entry into the United States. I didn't know much about Japan's invasion into China or about the Chinese refugees in America. I found it sad and interesting how the immigrants found ways around the system so that they could protect their families.
The relationship between Pearl and May is simple, yet still hard sometimes. They're sisters and share a bond unlike any other in their lives. At the same time, they fight jealousy and bitterness while still remaining inseparable best friends. I just love stories about sisters.
The most meaningful part of this book to me was the message that tragedy doesn't have to define your life. It's never too late to make a fresh start, and while your life may not turn out as you expected, you can still find happiness. Shanghai Girls is a great book that I'd recommend to most people.
Rocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam, Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
September 2011: Rocket Boys is just as enjoyable the second time around as the first. As you turn the last page, savoring each final word, you leave not wanting for any more or less. You come away perfectly satisfied. This is a book about a boy, a father, a town, and their dreams, a book that gives you exactly what you need, even if you didn't know what you needed to begin with.
Note: My Rocket Boys review is amended from its full Goodreads version. The full version includes the review from the first time I read this book in August 2009.
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was an interesting book that introduced me to a world I hadn't known much about. Not only was the insight into 19th- and 20th-century leper colonies interesting, but the character development and depth was compelling. The protagonist, Rachel, was a strong and beautiful woman whose character drove the plot and its emotion forward.
While not making it to my top-favorite lists, Moloka'i is still a well thought-out novel full of lovable characters and emotional plot lines.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Could there be a more perfect book to read in October? No, there isn't. Dracula was the perfect Halloween book.
Stoker creates the quintessential horror story, one built on suspense, on uncertainty, on the fantastic supernatural. Dracula introduces an eerie elegance to vampire lore, and I found myself captivated by the spookiness of it all.
Dracula combines spooky with literary finesse; it doesn't contain gratuitous gore or violence, but is rather replete with subtle and carefully crafted build-up.
To be completely honest, I loved this book. The only thing that stops me from giving it 5 stars is that it's not life-changing. Dracula just really is an excellent story, one that far surpasses modern horror stories.
View all my reviews
I'm three books, or seven percent, behind in my annual reading goal, and even though the end of the year is approaching fast, I'm holding out hope that I'll finish strong.
What have you been reading lately? Did you also read a spooky book in October? Are you on track for your 2011 reading goals?