1 Followers
27 Following
jbalch

Jeffrey Reads

My name is Jeffrey. I used to read all lot, but the past few years I've slacked off. As my 2018 New Year Resolution, I decided to make it a point to read more this year. This blog is to motivate me and keep track of all the books I read.

Dear Evan Hansen by Scott Levenson, Justin Paul, and Benj Pasek

Dear Evan Hansen (TCG Edition) - Steven  Levenson, Benj Pasek, Justin  Paul

Whoops! I forgot to post about this when I read it. I wasn't sure if I was going to count it towards by goal or not, but I think it counts. 

 

I first listened to the (glorious) soundtrack of this musical and was so intrigued that I decided to read the script.

 

Having read this, it helped me understand the musical so much more and really served a gut-punch, even more so than the soundtrack. It's written beautifully. I'm not one to normally read plays, but I'm so glad I did this one, just in case I never get the chance to see it live. Perfection.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage - Tayari Jones

I started this book at the beginning of February, but it was a super busy month, so I'm just now finishing it!

 

I took a couple of days after finishing to write this review because I really didn't know what to say about it. I still don't but I needed to post something. SUPER SPOILERY BELOW.

read more »

A Single Man

— feeling love
A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood

I am just FLYING through books this year! I can't believe I've already finished my fourth book of the year. Granted, 3 of the 4 were pretty short so I have to take that into account, and should probably start reading some longer titles. Anyhow...

 

A Single Man was a stunning novel. Absolutely beautiful. I'm in love with the writing style and the way it almost reads like an inner monologue of George, despite being in 3rd person. 

 

The narrative is simple, following a typical day in the life of our protagonist, George, an English professor at a college in Los Angeles in the 1960s. His lover, Jim, has recently died and deals with the aftermath of that, as well as him interacting with his friend Charlotte and a student, Kenny. 

 

I vaguely remember watching the movie several years ago, but I don't remember enough of it to know how it compares to the novel. I'm certain the movie amped up the relationship between George and Kenny more than the book does, but I can't be certain. 

 

The ending is heartbreaking. The writing was subtle but beautiful, and Isherwood doesn't let a single word go to waste. I think this is probably my definition of the perfect novel. This is definitely being added to my list of favorites. HIGHLY recommend. 

A Wrinkle in Time

— feeling happy
A Wrinkle in Time (Time, #1) - Madeleine L'Engle

I read this book a long time ago, probably in 5th or 6th grade, but I felt like I needed a refresher before the movie is released later this year.

 

All in all, I really enjoyed it. It is obviously written for kids so it was a very quick read and easy to get through. Some of the science of it is more complex than I remembered though, so it's definitely still a good read for adults. 

 

It is definitely a book of the 60s. The language and phrases used were things that would never be said today, but I think that's part of the charm of this little book. I adore the characters, especially the Mrs W's and Aunt Beast. 

 

I'm definitely glad that I reread this. Now I can't wait for the movie version, and I can't wait to see what Ava Duvernay and the cast do with it!

Annihilation

Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer

I first picked up this book last year, after I saw the trailer for the movie. I was very intrigued. The movie looked really great. 

 

But when I first picked it up, I could not get into it. I got about 40 pages in and gave up. But I decided to give it another chance this week, since the movie comes out next month and I wanted to know what to expect going in.

 

But the truth is, even after reading the book, I’m still not sure what to expect. I feel like so much of the book is left to the readers’ imagination that I don’t know how it’s going to translate to film. But that’s not important.

 

I really overall enjoyed Annihilation. Slow at first, but after about the first third of the book, I got really interested in it. But I wish it would’ve given more answers. So much was left open-ended. Too much, in my opinion. I really don’t know much more about Area X than I did when I began reading the book. Maybe that was purposeful. Sure, I know the biologist’s thoughts and theories about what she saw, but that gives the reader no solid truths about Area X and what’s really happening there. (I do NOT understand the Crawler at all and was very confused about the descriptions of it and what it was doing, even though I feel like those were very important to the story.)

 

Maybe the other two books in the series continue to explain things better, so I guess I’ll have to read those to really grasp what went down in this book.

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

— feeling smile
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder - Caroline Fraser

Over the past couple of years, I've been getting more and more into non-fiction. However, I'm still not one to usually just pick up a biography and read it in its entirety. I usually stick more to memoirs as far as non-fiction goes.

 

So I don't have much experience with biographies. The only other one I've read all the way through was Neal Gabler's Walt Disney bio. So this was basically new territory for me.

 

I have to say that at first, Prairie Fires was a little slow for me. It's been years since I've read the Little House books... I think I read them in 3rd grade, so a long time. (But I was very into them at the time. My family even went to Rocky Ridge during a vacation because I was so obsessed.) So that meant that I didn't completely remember the stories all the way through and reading this was a little challenging to remember the books and compare them to the actual events. But I really enjoyed it once I got into it, and it made me remember the series and why I loved it back when I was a kid. (Speaking of that, I should re-read it now... We'll see how this year goes.)

 

This book was obviously very well researched and written with passion by the author. I could tell by her writing that she was genuinely interested in bringing forth the truths of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life to the reader. 

 

As for the contents of the book, well.. Some things were devastating to say the least. Reading about when Wilder and her husband left her family in South Dakota to move to Missouri nearly brought me to tears, and then again when both of her parents passed away and Wilder's responses to those events. A lot of it made me despise Wilder's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane (though at one point I found myself identifying with her. Does that make me terrible? Probably.)

 

Overall, I really really enjoyed this biography. Though it's not typically something I would read, I loved learning more about Wilder's life and remembering what I loved about her stories when I was younger.