2020 So Far~ In Books, Of Course

Salutations, blogger chums!

Two months of the new year have flown! And so has half of the third one. I feel like the time is being pulled out from under my feet like a rug. It’s insane. Two and a half months.

Good grief.

I’m not sure where all that time went, but I know for a fact that some of it went into books.

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Here are some highlights of my January and February reading:

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages by Trenton Lee Stewart

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So much nostalgia, like meeting with old friends.

This is the fourth installment in The Mysterious Benedict Society series, and the characters are as endearing as ever. I love the author’s ability to create characters that are quirky and often over-the-top, but at the same time extremely relatable.

Kate, Reynie, Sticky and Constance are growing up, which, lo and behold, does NOT mean oodles of romantic drama (thank the Lord). It does mean making big decisions, the possibility of goodbyes, and emotional roller coasters though.

And hugs! I love how much these kids care about each other. They are a family and they are affectionate with each other and it melts my heart.

Also Tai is an adorable addition to the family.

The plot was a little bit weak though. It wasn’t nearly as strong as the plot of the first book, and overall I found it flat and disappointing.

However, absolutely worth reading for the characters.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

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Aside from the 13-year-old romance, I really liked this.

Sal and her grandparents are on a road trip to Lewiston, Idaho. They are going to see Sal’s mom. During the trip, Sal tells stories. She tells her grandparents about what happened when she and her father moved away from their farm, to the town of Euclid, Ohio, after Sal’s mom left them. She tells them about a girl named Phoebe, and what happened to Phoebe’s family.

This story is driven by the characters, the decisions they make, and how those decisions effect them and everyone around them.

I’m not really sure what else to say. But it was good.

First Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

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Spies and cows. What a perfect combination.

Gary has such an endearing writing style. This story is rather ridiculous- with spies, government conspiracies, political intrigue, and whatnot- but the cows are real. The way Cooper’s neighbors look out for him after the deaths of his grandparents is real.

Mrs. Perley is a blessing to us all.

If you’re looking for something, fun, light-hearted, and easy to read, this would be a good bet.

(A random side-note: Does Gary D. Schmidt only know like three last names or something? Because he uses Hurd in almost every book I’ve read, and Hupfer almost as often as that. Just wondering.)

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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I still don’t really know what to do with this.

I don’t even know why I decided to call it a highlight, because it really wasn’t.

But here we are.

I liked this book. I really did. But it also traumatized me. It really did.

Yeah, I don’t know what to say.

How articulate I am.

Basically, this book follows a boy/man named Amir from the 1960s to the early 2000s, and is set mainly in both Afghanistan and America. It centers around his relationship with his father, and his relationship with his father’s servant’s son, Hassan.

If you don’t like stories about protagonists who spend their whole lives riddled with guilt, this book is most definitely not for you.

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet

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East Berlin, guys. But for ten-year-olds.

I actually enjoyed this historical novel pretty well, though at times it felt a little bit heavy-handed in the “THIS BOOK IS FOR CHILDREN” department. That being said, the writing style was quite good at times, and surprisingly thought-provoking. Overall it was a pretty engaging story.

Epilogue

Well, I got the titles down if nothing else.

I could either come up with a snappy closing paragraph for this post, or I could go read.

I think I’ll go read.

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What has your 2020 looked like so far (in books)? Have you read anything that made you laugh out loud, or perhaps something that traumatized you? I would love to hear your bookish news in the comments!

19 thoughts on “2020 So Far~ In Books, Of Course

  1. Hurd and Hupfer…huh. I feel like, if I had trouble coming up with last names, THOSE would scarcely be my go-to. My creativity might extend to reusing “Smith” a lot, but Hupfer? Probably not.
    Anyway.
    Spies and cows do, actually, sound like a perfect combination. In fact I can’t think of anything more perfect. (I’ve REALLY got to read me some Gary D. Schmidt.)

    I also can’t believe so much of 2020 is gone already! 😭 But at the same time, spring is rattling at the door, and I’m SO glad to hear its voice. (Not that ANYONE’S voice wouldn’t sound good, backed up by an overwhelming chorus of robins.) And I have read some lovely books so far this year (a lot of rereads of old favorites, actually…) so I guess I’ve used the time well? Hopefully? Haha.
    I hope the next few months of your 2020 are also peppered with their fair share of good books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, his name choices are oddly specific, but then he uses them over and over. I must be missing something…
      Have you read any Gary D. Schmidt??? If not, you should definitely read some because he is wonderful. I would start with The Wednesday Wars. Holling Hoodhood is a gem. 🙂
      Yes, spring! I love spring. I am excited about that, despite the alarm at the year flying away.
      I love rereading old favorites! I recently reread The Mysterious Benedict Society.
      Thank you, I hope that your 2020 brings good books as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just read The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Riddle of Ages last month as well! Unfortunately I do have to say that I ended up skimming some of it at the end. I think it had to do with the plot as you said. I think my biggest impression from the book is how big brained Trenton Lee Stewart is.
    Hahah, I think only using a few last names repeatedly is a stroke of brilliance on Gary Schmidt’s part. Think about how much time he saves not having to think of new last names for all of his characters! And it also leaves him the possibility of connecting all of these stories in some sort of family reunion if he ever desires.
    Both Kite Runner and Walk Two Moons are books that I feel like are classics that I haven’t read. Was there anything that made you decide to read them now?
    I haven’t been traumatized by anything I’ve read this year, but as you already know, Born a Crime made me laugh out loud :)) Did any of these books successfully make you laugh?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, the plot really wasn’t very engaging, which was disappointing, an with a book that size you really do need an engaging plot. I actually went back and reread the first book after reading The Riddle of Ages because it just reminded me how much I loved the characters.
      Hehe, yes, that is a good point. I do love how there are actually characters in The Wednesday Wars, Okay for Now, Orbiting Jupiter and Pay Attention, Carter Jones that connect them all to each other, but in an understated way. The Swietecks are easy to track. The Hupfers and Hurds so far have no connection however.
      I never quite understand what possesses me to read books at certain times. I’m not really a big “read the book while everyone else is reading it” kind of person, and I hardly ever read new releases (I have done that more since starting to blog, but I still don’t do it much at all). I just go to the library and pick up books and read them, and randomly remember recommendations that I’ve gotten. Someone recommended Walk Two Moons on a blog, so I got that on hold at the library. Honestly I don’t know why I decided to read The Kite Runner. I saw it once at a book store and had no idea what it was. I thought it had something to do with The Maze Runner. Then one day I picked it up at the library, read the cover flap, and decided it looked interesting. So yeah.
      Both The Riddle of Ages and First Boy made me laugh out loud. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Heh, Linus’ face is totally me at the bookstore sifting through all the books trying to find something good XD He just looks so…filled with existential horror.
    I’ve never read any of these books, but I’m very glad you found books you liked. It can be very hard sometimes.
    Traumatizing books can be both the best and the worst, sometimes at the same time. And I echo Sarah’s opinion that if I WERE to recycle two last names to use over and over, Hurd and Hupfer would not be the last names I chose to recycle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe. Gotta love Linus.
      It can be very hard to find books to enjoy! Especially when you are as picky as I am.
      That is true. Traumatizing books CAN be both the best and the worst. They are just downright confusing is what they are.
      Yeah, they’re an odd choice of recyclable names.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the update! 🙂 I haven’t read any of these but I’ve been recommended to read The Mysterious Benedict Society multiple times. Interestingly I usually don’t read historical or realistic fiction. 😛 Tend to prefer to go with classical lit (lots of Austen, Dickens, & Sherlock Holmes), fantasy (usually high fant, read Harry Potter series, working on The Hobbit right now, and also Brandon Sanderson of course), and Sci-Fi (Ender and all sequels and related books including Ender’s Shadow).

    Currently I’m SLOWLY plugging away at DUNE by Frank Herbert. Being a “sci-fi classic” I thought I’d give it a try. It’s slow but rather interesting. Herbert’s writing style is not my thing, which makes it hard for me to get into it long enough to make enough headway (but also life and work have been keeping me too busy) but the worldbuilding and the broad political, social, economic, religious scale is super fascinating. Have your read it?

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    1. The Mysterious Benedict Society is rather wonderful, but it’s definitely a particular style. I kind of want to say it’s a combination of Roald Dahl , Lemony Snicket and J.K. Rowling. If you like any of those, it would be worth a try.
      I want to read more classic literature and more sci-fi.
      I have not read Dune, but my cousin got it for Christmas last year. He read the title halfway and then read the rest sideways (for reasons I am not clear on) so he thought it was called “DUZM.” (The N turned into a Z and the E turned into an m.) That’s about my only knowledge of that book.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. WOW, I haven’t read ANY of these books! :-O I got the first Mysterious Benedict Society book from my library once but never actually got around to reading it before it had to go back. Ooooops. X”D But these all look really good!!! 😀 I’ve been reading a lot of WWII fiction and non-fiction, as well as Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis, some Redwall tales, and the first Harry Potter book (for the first time!). It’s been a good year for reading so far. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should definitely read The Mysterious Benedict Society someday if you get the chance! It’s a great book.
      There is a lot of good WWII fiction and non-fiction out there. I LOVE Till We Have Faces and the entire Harry Potter series! I have read both multiple times. I am glad to hear that that your reading this year has been good thus far! I hope it continues that way!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Keep reading! Those sound like some great books. So far this year I have been reading Heidi, the classic, for the first time and re-reading Percy Jackson.
    Great Post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, nothing could stop me from reading. 😉
      Strangely enough, I have never actually read Heidi. I think I started it once.
      I love The Lightning Thief! It’s hilarious. Percy has such an engaging voice. I think I have read the first book in the Percy Jackson series about seven times. I used to read it aloud to my sisters over and over again. It was a lot of fun.
      Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The Mysterious Benedict Society sounds so fun – I tried to get it from my library once, but their copy was long overdue, i.e. gone. Which was sad. Your blog might have been where I saw first heard about it, actually, Professor X.

    My favourite recent reads are An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (a. has ravens in the title; b. YA fae book with a shippable romance and yet no smut beyond one makeout session?? what IS this and how did it qualify to be YA. xD) and The Iron Trial by Cassandra Claire and Holly Black (YA but read like a fun JF).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is very sad that your library’s copy of The Mysterious Benedict Society is gone! I hope you can get your hands on it someday.
      Hehe, YA that is akin to JF is the best kind of YA in my opinion. 🙂
      Great to hear from you again!

      Like

  8. 2020 is just going by crazy fast and I am not ok with it. I am flailing and desperately behind and feel like my tbr could eat me at any given moment. Anywho I have not read The Kite Runner yet despite it being fabulous. I hope to read it when my tbr allows 😉 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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