I am being so slow with my book-reading this year, but there’s good news to report as far as my yearly goals, and I have a feeling things will pick up soon.
Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill
As so many of the Goodreads reviewers mentioned, it did feel sort of like an extended advertisement for the company that Underhill runs that does consulting for all kinds of shopping, marketing and space evaluations. But when he stops being such a self-promoter, Underhill has lots of interesting things to say. Since finishing the book, I have not gone into a grocery store without thinking about how many people are concerned with the layout and placement of items in that and any store. I like to think that now I know what the tricks are to get me to buy extra stuff, maybe I won’t fall for them quite as often.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Boom. That’s my big gun this month. The book that I drop on the table and go, “Yeah – look at that sucker – I finished it.” Which is a big deal because Crime and Punishment is a book that I did not read in high school. Not as in, “We didn’t read it at our school”, as in, it was assigned, and I somehow managed to pass AP Literature without reading it properly. These were the days when SparkNotes were just appearing online, and I managed to fake my way through a whole section of class devoted to this book. I was a terrible student/person. But the good news is that I’ve finally gone back and read the book to atone for my sins. And better than that, I actually kind of liked the book. Yes, it’s the kind of book that spends lots and lots of time focusing on briefest of moments, and so much time on internal monologue that I wanted to punch someone, but the story is good, and considering it’s a “classic”, I’d say it’s definitely worthy of that moniker. Definitely not a short book. Nor “fun and light” reading, but worthwhile.3
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
After C&P, I was looking for something a little lighter and definitely shorter so that I could get back into the swing of reading more rapidly. This turned out to be a perfect palate cleanser. It does take place in the months immediately following WWII, and does discuss a lot of what happened on Guernsey (one of the Channel Islands) during the Nazi occupation, but the second half of the book was exactly the sort of light and fluffy story I had been looking for. It’s written in a fun style – letters and telegrams (this style is called epistolary), and after finishing the book it makes me want to visit Guernsey. Also, I’ve just discovered that they’re making a movie out of it, so that’s fun. Also, the book was read with a large cast doing different voices. I will say that the picture in my head did not quite match for one of the characters, but other than that, having different voices read the different correspondence was lovely.
Is it wrong to admit that I finished my last book for the month hours before this post went live? And that I haven’t really started anything else yet? My Goodreads account may say I’m actively reading 5 books right now, but that’s not entirely true. But I’ll get started on something new soon enough, and hopefully make more solid progress towards my goal of 64 books for the year.