February Reading

February is a short month, but I was still surprised by how little I got read – only three books:

  1. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson (440  pages – finished 2/13/11)
  2. 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley (570 pages – finished 2/25/11)
  3. Good Faith by Jane Smiley (417 pages – finished 2/26/11)

That comes to 1417 pages – not much after what I did in January.  But that’s OK, I guess.

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment was a very enjoyable book.  My son had recommended the series to me, but I never got around to reading this one until my husband read it and told me I would like it. I had to read it then because there is no way my husband should have liked that book!  But he did.  And I did, too. It is about a group of children who have been subjected to experimentation and, among other things, have wings and can fly. This is a young adult novel that appeals to adults as well. Or at least it did to this adult!

Jane Smiley’s 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel was probably one of the best books I have ever read about writing.  She read 100 novels and then wrote about what made them work or not work for her.  There are chapters on applying what she learned to your own novel and essays about each of the 100 novels she read.  This book has given me some real insight as to how my son and I can improve the novel we are writing.  It was not an easy book to read, but it was extremely valuable.

Good Faith is the book Smiley was supposed to be writing when she began 13 Ways.  She got stuck on it and decided to undertake the project of reading 100 novels.  In the process of that, she finished Good Faith.  She discusses the writing of Good Faith in 13 Ways.  I read the book because of its connection to 13 Ways.  It was also a difficult book for me to read — concerning the S&L fiasco of the 80s.  It isn’t anything I am really interested in, and I found myself wanting to yell at people in the book not to be so stupid.  But I read it and, in the end, I thought it was a good book.

I should mention, by the way, that 13 Ways is a book I was given by Darynda Jones, author of First Grave on the Right.

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