• Ryanne Harper

Reading Challenge: May Reads

The Goal: 52

Current Count: 22

Current Reads: 3

DNF: 1

Mad Librarian, Michael Guillebeau. 2 Stars.

I read this one because I work at the library and I thought this would be a fun read. The problem is, the scenarios were too far-fetched and the book itself dragged a bit. That said, some of the points the author made about libraries and how critical they are to the communities they serve were really well made and accurate. The author also did an excellent job describing the different types of patrons who visit the library and rely on the library's resources. So, overall, I liked the idea behind the book, it just fell short on execution for me.

Force of Habit: Books 1 & 2, James Scott Bell. 3 Stars.

James Scott Bell is a pulp writer who I admire immensely. His books on writing pulp-style novels and how to structure plot have been inspirational and educational to me over the last year. I have personally used many of his tips and tricks and applied his methods to my own writing. Lynx & LeRoux owes a lot to James Scott Bell; the Lynx half, anyway.

Force of Habit is a quick, pulp-style series featuring a vigilante nun. It's as if Lindsey Lohan became a nun rather than getting that weird beach television show. Nuns in and around L.A. are being attacked and Sister Justicia is not having it. She begins confronting those who would do harm and, lucky for her, she was training for a Steven Segal film when her life went way south, so she has all the martial arts training you would ever need to take down neighborhood crooks. These books are witty, fun, and stupid; tree of my favorite things. I mean, with subtitles like Nun the Wiser and The Nun Also Rises, what's not to like?

Cujo, Stephen King. 5 Stars.

The Summer of Stevie has officially begun and it has started off with a bang. Cujo might be in my top three King stories. I did the audiobook and, let me tell you, I was on the edge of my seat for the back 75% of the book. I thought I knew what this book was about, and I did. But I didn't realize the mom and son were trapped in the car for, oh, I don't know, 60% of the book. It is TENSE. And frustrating. I kept expecting someone to go help them...and then they didn't. I expected the mailman to show up, but then he didn't. When the police had an inkling of a suspicion that the woman might be at the Cambor place, I expected them to go look, but then they didn't. I was practically screaming at my phone that they were only seven mi les away, why didn't they go look? So, yeah, I needed a nap by the time it was over. I also felt really bad for Cujo; hims was the best boy until be got bitten by a bat.

Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris. 4 Stars.

This was my book club selection for May. Unlike other WW2 and Holocaust books I've read, Tattooist wasn't full of sadness and despair, but rather hope and love. Sure, there were sad moments, how could there not be, but there were also really lovely moments. There were moments that straight up infuriated me, but they were surrounded by moments of friendship and community. Tattooist changed the way I think when it comes to certain aspects of the camp. I have always operated with a hard zero tolerance policy when it came to anyone and everyone who worked in the camps. And I still feel that way about most of them. Tattooist is the story of Lale, a Jewish man who is taken to the camps and forced to tattoo identification numbers on his fellow prisoners, thus making him one of those workers I previously had no tolerance for. He finds love in a hopeless place - shout out to Rihanna - he forms bounds with other prisoners; he steals and barters to make life in the camp just a little more tolerable for those around him. Based on true events, Tattooist follows Lale through his journey to the camp, his struggles while in the camp, and his journey to freedom after the camps were liberated - also not as simple as I originally thought. So, why isn't is five stars? It's written in present tense and I just cannot deal with that, so it got docked a star.

Okay. We have to talk about my DNF this month. Women Talking is based on a true events. A religious community is devastated when the women and girls are attacked in the night by demons. Y'all, we all know who the demons were. The men in the community were drugging them with animal tranquilizers. So, anyway, this book sounds like an important read about a real life event people should be aware of. Tell me why the narrator of the story is a man? The women in this community don't know how to read or write...I assume they needed to be kept in their place or whatever - so the story is their meeting minutes. During their secret meetings, they, like The Clash, are deciding whether they should stay or they should go. The dude taking the meeting notes is real quick to throw in an opinion, which is not how meeting minutes work. Anyway, I really wanted to like this book but I cannot for the life of me understand why a female author gave such a female story a male voice. Like, ditch the minutes and just have, I don't know, the women talk...literally the title of the book. So, I didn't finish it. I won't and I shan't.

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