Thursday, June 22, 2017

2017 Book Challenge, April and May Update!

As I mentioned in my last post, March, April, and May were hectic months for me, in which I didn't get much reading done. Because of this, I'm combining April and May, since I only read 3 books total.


April was a tough month with a lot happening. I finished the first draft of Wind Singer, the sequel to Thorn Changer (and it is certainly a rough draft, I have a lot of editing ahead of me). My second nephew was born premature, so I spent some days taking care of my toddler nephew while his parents visited his brother in the hospital. One of our cats, Callie, fell seriously ill. And I spent the first week recovering from being sick myself in March. But I still got 2 books read, so at least it was a little closer to my goal.
1. Affluenza*, by John De Graaf, David Wann, and Thomas H. Naylor

Rating: ***

This book studies the "too much stuff" disease (aka "Affluenza"). It tells you what common symptoms are (like "Swollen Expectations"), probable causes, as well as treatments to try in order to rid yourself of this "disease" (including a chapter on political solutions).

It was intriguing how the authors compared having too much stuff to a disease. I'd never heard that comparison before, and they had some good advice. I feel like some of their suggestions are not super practical, but you've got to start somewhere, and being aware of and learning to control your "need" of more things is a good start.

2. The Princess and the Goblin, by George MacDonald

Rating: ****

With her father away much of the time, Princess Irene is under the guard of the servants of his manor house next to a mountain mined for his service. The mountain is filled with goblins, banished only by song. But when the goblins plan to overthrow the kingdom, Irene and the miner boy Curdie must rely on the aid of her magical great-great-grandmother to save the kingdom.

I've read this book several times, and I still enjoy it, even though the writing style is much different than that of books written nowadays. I think young children would enjoy it, but would likely need someone to read it to them in order to understand it. Children 10 and older would be fine reading it on their own, and even though it's written for children, adults would enjoy it as well (I certainly did).


May is the busy season at my work, necessitating long days to get everything done. My second nephew was still in the hospital for part of it, so I had days of babysitting my other nephew. Callie died near the end of the month (a surprise, because she had been doing better). I had to pack up a lot of my things for moving (and I can tell you, after just packing up my personal belongings, I am definitely interested in becoming some form of minimalist). I watched more Netflix than was healthy. Because of all this, I only read one book.

3. The Princess and Curdie, by George MacDonald

Rating: ****

The sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, Irene and her father have gone away to the capital city, and while Curdie was asked to come along, he has stayed behind to help his parents. However, everything is not right in the capital, and Irene's great-great-grandmother tasks him with setting it right. Given the ability to tell by the touch of a hand whether a human is becoming more depraved and animal-like, or whether an animal is becoming less depraved and more human-like, Curdie sets off to the capital city with Lina, a woman who became an animal and is now trying to grow better and become human again. Things are indeed seriously wrong in the capital, and it will take all of Curdie's courage to set it right.

I don't like it quite as much as The Princess and the Goblin (I'd probably rate it three and one-half stars if I could get a half-star), but it is still a very good book. I was very disappointed by the very ending, though (the ending of the main tale was wonderful, the main tale wrapped up beautifully, albeit almost exactly as I pictured so not much surprise in the book). If the last page or so was cut out, it'd be a much better story. If you read it to children, I suggest not reading the last couple of paragraphs, as I don't think they'd really understand why they were tacked on the end. Honestly, I'm not quite sure why they were myself, but I think MacDonald wanted to make an allegory out of this book (although I don't think it suits well for a children's book). The rest of the book is definitely worth reading.

I've counted up how many books I've read from my Book Challenge list, and it looks like I'm almost halfway through it. Granted, there are a couple I didn't finish, and am not counting in my read quota, but I think I've found enough others to replace them. I'm a little surprised that I've read so many of the nonfiction books already, since I usually lean toward Fantasy. But most of that genre I have on Kindle, and it's easier for me to read paper copies sometimes (like if I read before going to bed), so that might help explain it.

I'll also post reviews of these books on my GoodReads Account.

*For the sake of brevity, I have not included the subtitle of this book.

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