OCTOBER 2020 ✩ 14 PAGES/DAY
THE VARIOUS HAUNTS OF MEN, SUSAN HILL (549 PAGES)
I will admit that there are pros and cons to accepting defeat to finishing a book series. The pros include less reading and hundreds of hours not wasted (not that reading is bad… reading is very good… yay reading!). The cons, more specifically the main con I’m currently struggling with, is the fact that many plot-holes are left out in the open. I gained the satisfaction of knowing the biggest spoiler in the book, but I’m left clueless and searching for a lot more answers I doubt I’ll ever figure out. The ending was extremely bittersweet in that sense.
The factor of surprise played out very well in this book. This is a spoiler of sorts, so read ahead with caution if you are interested in reading the novel itself.
Throughout the novel, I kept on guessing who exactly the murderer was. I had vague ideas (a man, probably introduced early in the book under the pretense of an innocent character, mysterious with little backstory, etc), yet the reveal still surprised me. I’m also terrible at guessing – that might be the issue at-hand. The murderer isn’t as flushed-out as I hoped it could be. I wanted to discover backstories and the real meaning behind the tapes (it kills me, no pun intended, how I’ll never figure that out). Yet the cause of my problems has a very simple and sweet solution: read the rest of the series. I won’t be finishing the series for the sole reason that I believe that it isn’t worth it. 10 books and counting for a plot about a lazy town murderer isn’t exactly ideal. Just how much can you write with a plot so minuscule? (Murders arise in a small town, specifically targeting vulnerable women. The plot is based around each of the characters and their eventual demise. The murderer is revealed – the motive is a bit shaky. All of the female characters I cared about have horrible endings. You get the gist). My main issue is how the series is labelled as a “Simon Serailler” series, when I believe that Simon isn’t interesting enough to have a whole series dedicated to him. I would’ve preferred one of the women main characters. (Not sure how that’ll work out though, most of them are probably going to die. How ironic.)
I do like this book, but I won’t be continuing the series anytime soon.
THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, BARBARA KINGSOLVER (543 PAGES)
READ: 143 PAGES
I’ve felt as if I’ve been rarely giving out four-star reviews lately. There’s nothing wrong with the books I’ve been reading, but none of them have moved me. This book has definitely moved me – I’m probably in the centre of China right now with all of this movement. As I stated in my September reflection, I wanted to read a book that was out of the typical genre I would usually pick up. Historical fiction has never been a genre that I thought would pique my interest. I find history to be boring. I like the thrill of murder mysteries and horror; and, with historical fiction so far off from my favorite genres, I was really skeptical, but hopeful, that this book would satisfy my interests. I really shouldn’t have been worried. I would recommend this book to my friends, my family (?), my dog (if she could read), and any passerby on the street that seems like they would enjoy a historical fiction.
Another factor that I was skeptical about upon reading was the religious tone of the overall plot. I’m not religious, far from it. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to understand anything; and, while I’m sure I probably missed a lot of religious contexts, the idea of understanding motivated me to continue. I wanted to understand the whole idea behind Christianity. I wanted to understand the characters, their morals, and their growth in the Congo. The feeling I gained most from reading was the feeling of yearning, to understand as if I am beside them. I’ve grown attached to these characters. I want the happiest of endings for them all (minus Nathan). Lately, I’ve been spending longer amounts of time just glued to the pages and absorbing all of the plot. I genuinely don’t know how the plot will continue, and it intrigues me every single time.
A white religious family gets sent on a missionary to the Congo, with the goal of spreading the wisdoms of Christianity to their impressionable audience. The novel shows the dynamics of their family and the growth they go through within their year in a foreign, new country. There’s a clear struggle between individual growth, expression, and the strong chokehold religion seems to have over their household. It’s exciting to see how each family member (four young girls and two parents) reacts to their life under the Congo. I’ve gained a lot of sympathy for the daughters and the turbulence of their struggling parents.
I do get tired sometimes when I see just how much I have to get through to finish this book (I’m not even halfway through…), but I’m determined to continue.
I was a bit disappointed when I saw just how much I was reading per day, but I guess it makes sense. I’ve been a lot busier this year compared to my previous reading ladders. Regardless, I would like to increase my pages per day (maybe to around 17 pages) and focus more on the books I have at-hand. Once I finish my current read, I’ve been thinking about starting poetry. I’m really trying to branch out of my usual genres. I promised myself that I would read something light and not 500+ pages in length, yet here I am with another 500+ page novel. I don’t regret it… I think.
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