2015 Reading Challenge: Books 1-3

In 2014, I completed my last semester of college, spent four months in London, got my first job post-graduation, and read 25 books. It was such a busy year that I’m sure I only completed my goal thanks to my required reading for class (and because I read in airports a lot). This year, I’ve raised my goal to 35.

So far, I’ve read 13 books. I started with Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill, which was given to me for Christmas by my dad. It was a quick read (demolished in one sitting), but a little too vague for my taste. I wanted something concrete to latch on to, but this book was mostly “musings.” I found the narrator insufferable at the beginning and it stayed with me through the rest of the novel. With longer novels, I have more time to get over my initial impressions of characters, but this was so short that I couldn’t forget how much I didn’t like her at the start. Part of me wonders if I would like this book better if I were older and possibly had more in common with the character.

The Cuckoo’s Calling was my last book of 2014 (I finished it on January 1st, to be honest), so my second book of the year was The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. I think I preferred The Cuckoo’s Calling, but I still enjoyed the sequel. Rowling has taken on the mystery genre well and I have been pleasantly surprised by these books. The ending to The Silkworm was satisfying without having a huge twist and I enjoyed seeing Robin and Strike fleshed out more than they were in the first book. My only complaint is that I found the descriptions of Bombyx Mori to be hard to read. That kind of literature does not appeal to me, but it was only a small part so it wasn’t much of an issue.

My third book was The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman, which I borrowed from the library because I liked the cover (though the cover had little to do with the book). I keep comparing this book to The Night Circus, which had everything I wanted from The Museum of Extraordinary Things. Both feature a girl trained since childhood to develop a skill, a romance, and an exhibition (circus in one, freak show in the other). However, The Night Circus was better executed than The Museum of Extraordinary Things. I didn’t think TMoET’s romance was believable. Coralie and Eddie had too few scenes together and should have met much sooner. I had issues with the pacing, in that the beginning dragged on and the end was somehow both rushed and bogged down with description.

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