I'm lagging a bit behind in my 50 Books Challenge, having completed twelve books this year when I should have completed sixteen. Hopefully the summer months will give me more opportunities to read (and maybe I should throw in a few shorter books). Nonetheless, here is what I read in March and April.
1. The Circle by Dave Eggers
I started reading this one when it first came out but abandoned it for some reason which was probably school related. After hearing that two of my favorite actors--Ellar Coltrane and John Boyega---will be in the film adaptation, I picked it up again. My opinion on this book is complicated. I liked it, I read it in two days. It was certainly compelling and had most of the elements that I love in books. At times, it made me so anxious that I had to put it down. The story is set at a Silicon Valley tech company and deals with internet privacy and transparency issues, which honestly freak me out. It had a very 1984, "Big Brother" kind of vibe. The downside is that I disliked all of the characters so much. The only two that I found slightly redeeming were, in fact, the two who will be played by Ellar Coltrane and John Boyega!
2. Still Life by Louise Penny
After hearing about the Chief Inspector Gamache series from several individuals, I had to give it a try and I'm very glad that I did as it is now an obsession. The series is set in a small Quebecois village and follows its residents as well as the homicide team from the Sûreté du Québec. While it is a mystery series, I would categorize it as a cozy, philosophical mystery but nothing stupid like those food-themed ones.
3. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
Continuing with the series, the second book was just as good as the first. Louise Penny has a way of drawing you into the story with her descriptions of nature and the French food served at the local B&B. The second book was slightly darker than the first, but charming.
4. The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
My favorite thing about the Chief Inspector Gamache series is that all of the books follow the main characters--both detectives and villagers--introduced in the first novel. It's quite interesting to see the characters grow and their storylines develop.
5. Love Does by Bob Goff
A friend recommended this collection of true stories to me based solely on one of the author's anecdotes. Bob Goff, an interesting man all around, essentially turned his children into amateur ambassadors by writing letters to tons of global figures. The family traveled the world visiting these figures and even hosted some of them at their home in the States. And that is just one story in the book.
6. A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny
The fourth book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series took on a slightly different tone and format, weaving in elements of Canadian history that I found really interesting.