It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 19.0

Happy Monday everyone! I know it’s been a few weeks, but I’m back today to participate in the “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

My thoughts on books I recently finished:

orangeisnewblack

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system.

From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

Although I hope to never go to prison (or even see the inside of one), it was interesting to take a trip there in Piper Kerman’s memoir. From the tales of her “bohemian” post-college days (when the crime was committed) to her feelings during the last moments of her prison stay, Piper tells her story in clear and entertaining prose. It was easy to get swept away, especially since I felt like she could be me or someone I knew (which I think is the main appeal of this book for most of the people reading it).

I think my favorite part of this book was the rich cast of people from all walks of life she encountered during her prison stay. She makes friends with many of the women, and I liked that she didn’t just stick with the ones who were just like her. Despite giving most of their stories a sympathetic telling, she also doesn’t make them out to be saints either, which made her experiences with them more real and believable to me.

In fact I enjoyed the stories of the people she met in prison so much that I was dismayed when the audiobook ended with no epilogue or afterward. The story just ends very abruptly and left me feeling a bit empty after becoming so invested in her (and the other women’s) stories. How does Piper adjust after she gets back to the real world? Does she have a different perspective on prison and her experience now that some time has passed? Did she keep in contact with any of the other women?  After a quick search on the internet it appears that the paperback edition DOES have an afterward, but since I didn’t get to read it I can’t comment on whether or not this would have allayed the unfinished feeling I still have about this book.

Other than the abrupt ending I really enjoyed this book. It gave a rare look into one woman’s experiences in prison, and put a human face on an often forgotten portion of our population. Don’t read this book if you are looking for a serious tome on prison sociology or some kind of “call-to-action.” This is a memoir, and thus although it asks a lot of important questions it does not answer them. 4/5 stars.

Books I recently read:

The_Pact

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty– they’ve grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other’s lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it’s no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily’s friendship blossoms into something more. They’ve been soul mates since they were born.

So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There’s a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father’s cabinet– a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described.

 

Maya'sNotebook

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

Isabel Allende’s latest novel, set in the present day (a new departure for the author), tells the story of a 19-year-old American girl who finds refuge on a remote island off the coast of Chile after falling into a life of drugs, crime, and prostitution. There, in the company of a torture survivor, a lame dog, and other unforgettable characters, Maya Vidal writes her story, which includes pursuit by a gang of assassins, the police, the FBI, and Interpol. In the process, she unveils a terrible family secret, comes to understand the meaning of love and loyalty, and initiates the greatest adventure of her life: the journey into her own soul.

TheNightCircus

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

This Week I am reading:

middlemarch bn

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

Subtitled “A Study of Provincial Life,” the novel is set in the fictitious Midlands town of Middlemarch during the period 1830–32. It has multiple plots with a large cast of characters, and in addition to its distinct though interlocking narratives it pursues a number of underlying themes, including the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism and self-interest, religion and hypocrisy, political reform, and education. The pace is leisurely, the tone is mildly didactic (with an authorial voice that occasionally bursts through the narrative),and the canvas is very broad.

Despite the fact that it has some comical characters (Mr. Brooke, the “tiny aunt” Miss Noble) and comically named characters (Mrs. Dollop), Middlemarch is a work of realism. Through the voices and opinions of different characters we become aware of various broad issues of the day: the Great Reform Bill, the beginnings of the railways, the death of King George IV and the succession of his brother, the Duke of Clarence (who became King William IV). We learn something of the state of contemporary medical science. We also encounter the deeply reactionary mindset within a settled community facing the prospect of what to many is unwelcome change.

This Week I am listening to:

moonisaharshmistress

Synopsis adapted from Goodreads:

It is the year 2076, and the Moon is a penal colony for the rebellious and the unwanted of Earth. The exiles have created a libertarian society in order to survive in their harsh and unforgiving environment, their motto being TANSTAAFL: “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. Looming over them is the Luna Authority, the heavy-handed Earth administration, who trades life necessities to the “Loonies” in exchange for grain shipments to the starving populations of Earth.

As the situation steadily deteriorates the inhabitants of Luna come to realize that they have little choice but to revolt against Luna Authority in order to save themselves from resource exhaustion and a subsequent environmental apocalypse.

A small band of dissidents emerges to lead the revolution. This consists of a one-armed computer jock, a radical young woman, a past-his-prime academic, and a nearly omnipotent computer named Mike. These people ignite the fires of revolution, despite the near certainty of failure.

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What are you reading this week?

It's Monday

Linking up with Book Journey!

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lindsey
    Feb 17, 2014 @ 16:00:36

    I’ve never read Jodi Picoult, but The Pact sounds interesting. I hope that you have a fantastic week and get a lot of reading done!

    Reply

  2. biblioglobal
    Feb 17, 2014 @ 16:19:31

    Orange is the New Black is something that has been intriguing me. I don’t know whether I want to read the book or watch the series though.

    Reply

  3. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
    Feb 18, 2014 @ 08:50:20

    I’m planning to read and watch Orange is the Black eventually. Have a fab week!

    Reply

  4. Jade @ Bits & Bobs
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 05:02:05

    I’ve seen the series Orange is the New Black and knew that it was based off of a memoir, however having seen the series I don’t know if I have a desire to read the book… It does sound interesting though.
    I’d love to know your thoughts on The Pact and The Night Circus – The Night Circus is a favourite book of mine and Jodi Picoult is a favourite author of mine.
    Happy Reading!
    🙂

    Reply

    • exlibrisheather
      Feb 19, 2014 @ 10:45:42

      I haven’t seen the series yet (although I want to!) so I can’t say whether or not it’s worth reading the book too. It was an entertaining and easy-to-read book if that sways you at all. I loved The Night Circus and was surprised by how engaging The Pact was. I plan to review them soon-ish…Hope you have a great week! 🙂

      Reply

  5. 5eyedbookworm
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 05:47:39

    My sister once commented that she did not like the Orange Is the New Black series but I should try the book. I think it will be something I might just read after reading your review. I’d love to read Middlemarch before I read Rebecca Mead’s ‘My Life In MIddlemarch’ 🙂

    Reply

    • exlibrisheather
      Feb 19, 2014 @ 10:48:27

      It was worth the read–I was glad I read it. I’m LOVING Middlemarch so far. Honestly, I’m surprised by how much I’m loving it. I read a review recently for Rebecca Mead’s book and I put on it on my TBR. I agree that I want to finish the book before reading the homage to it! 🙂 Have a great week!

      Reply

  6. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader
    Feb 19, 2014 @ 08:32:58

    I’m wildly in love with the series Orange is the New Black. It’s AMAZING. I keep debating about whether or not to read the book. Hmm…maybe? I usually always read the book first…I broke my own rule this time around, lol.

    Have a great week!

    Reply

    • exlibrisheather
      Feb 19, 2014 @ 10:50:04

      LOL! I have the same rule too! I’m glad to hear that you like the series so much though–I definitely want to watch it. I’ve heard the series is pretty similar to the book so I guess it depends on your other reading priorities as to whether or not it would be worth it…

      Reply

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