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Book Challenge Update: 8 Down, 16 to Go (part 2)

Winter’s Bone. Set in the Ozarks. About a meth family. It has the potential to be a heart-breaking message about a beautiful area of America that captures the pain and lies a methhead tells himself and brings upon his loved ones.

Instead, I found a tale about a sometimes wiser-than-her-years, sometimes naive teenager who lived in a beautiful world muddled by thick, stumbling prose, often distracting in its put-on complexity. To be fair, there were shining gems of sentences that captured the beauty of winter in the Ozarks, the misfortune of living in an island of interrelated meth families, and the chill isolation experienced by a teenager thrust into the role of parent, caregiver, and bounty hunter.

Unfortunately, the book ends up, for me, being a flat, family feud of a story that doesn’t tell the story of what it’s like for most people who are close to a meth addict (trust me). Instead it follows a daughter around who is searching for her dad among doors-close-in-your-face communities. That’s it.

To be fair, many of the ladies in my book club loved the book, so follow Levar Burton’s advice: you don’t have to take my word for it.

Book Challenge Update: 8 Down, 16 to Go

Irreverent, hilarious, entertaining. This book really feels like character sketch after fascinating character sketch—and boy are the details Real!—until you get to know what we would call the “ensemble cast” with hilarious names like Doc Daneeka, General Scheisskopf, Major Major Major Major, and Major —— de Coverley.  It wasn’t until I’d become acquainted to all the characters that I began to develop a feel for the plot. Before that, it was obscured by all of the quirky details about each character and how he (this is a military story set in World War II, so there are few women in the cast that are more than 2D figures) interacted with others and the world.

Throughout the entire book, it seemed to me that none of the characters took the war seriously. Some were busy scheming and getting rich (Milo Minderbinder, “What’s good for M&M Enterprises is good for the country”). Others were trying to understand why they were being tormented by other bombardiers or their officers (poor Chaplain Tappman was constantly being challenged and undermined by his atheist assistant; Captain Flume was certain that Chief White Halfoat would slit his throat in the middle of the night). Some were falling in love with whores in Rome (Natley’s girlfriend plays a pivotal role in the ending). The book is filled with adventure after dizzying adventure, and many of them epitomize “catch-22.”

I really enjoyed this book, although I think it would be difficult to follow if you read the paper book. I listened to it in audiobook format, and the reader gave each character his own voice. It is an excellent production, and I definitely recommend checking this one out as an audiobook.

Currently Reading

Well, I’ve juggled several books in the last couple months, partially because I started reading Der Vorleser auf deutsch, which is hard for me. So I needed a book that I could read and really relax instead of feeling like I was working. Here’s what I’m reading right now.

I’m going to focus on the first two before I continue with the second two. Oh! I read Winter’s Bone with the book club I’ve joined, so I’ll be writing a blog post about that soon. Preview: I was not impressed, but many of the other ladies in the book club loved it.

Follow my progress in detail here.