Running Out of Pages Reading Challenge January Update!
I’m so excited to be checking in with my first update on the Running out of Pages Reading Challenge! If you missed what’s going on, you’re not too late, check it out here.
I tackled the category “A book set where you live” and actually read two books set in NYC (although both are from past time periods).
When Janie’s brother Bayard is found with a knife in his chest, and his wife Annabelle presumed drowned in the Hudson, she is sure that her brother isn’t responsible as the papers suggest. With the help of a reporter, Janie begins to dig into the past of the brother she wasn’t close with and his mysterious English wife. The more she learns about their pasts, the more Janie realizes she might not have known them at all.
I love a good historical mystery, and this book did not disappoint. The story sucked me in from the start, and I couldn’t put it down (ask Jeff). The story is set in NYC in the 1890s and begins with the murder. From there, the story alternates between the present, with Janie and her family trying to come to terms with what has happened, and the past, showing Bayard and Annabelle’s lives up until the murder. I gave this book a 5/ 5 – it was a great historical mystery, with plenty of juicy family drama, twists and turns, and witty writing.
In New York City in 1896, a string of horrific murders have begun to take place. A young boy’s body is found mutilated and left on the Williamsburg Bridge. This young boy was not the first victim and, sadly, will not be the last. Crime reporter John Moore teams up with Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, an “alienist” or psychologist, along with several detectives from the police force (including one woman who is determined to be the first woman officer in the NYPD), to try to solve these murders with never-before-used criminology methods.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Although a longer story, the pacing was great, the characters were dynamic, and the murderers were gruesome without being over the top. I really loved the psychology that is underlying the whole story. Certainly, some of the theories they used are no longer considered sound science, but it was fascinating to see how the team used small clues to create an image/background of the killer. The criminology, including the discussion of the use of fingerprints (even though it was a science that had not yet been approved for courtroom use) was well done and added an extra layer to the crime solving. Another 5/ 5 for me – This book was a great historical mystery that not only had a unique serial killer, but also had dynamic characters, a great blend of action and witty dialogue, and a great look at how criminology and profiling (or the lack thereof) worked in the late 1890s.
My mom crossed off “A fictional book about your career” in January. My mom was a librarian growing up (I know, I know, my mom had the coolest job in the world and it’s no surprise where my love of reading came from). After I graduated high school, my mom retired from the library and went back to nursing (what her undergraduate degree is in). Ever the over-achieving reader, she read one book for each of her careers. Below are her thoughts on the two books she read (thanks mom!).
“I enjoyed this story of a librarian who is downsized from her big city library job and moves to a small rural area, fills a van with books, & does what she loves, matching a reader with the perfect book. I enjoyed this book; the community is full of interesting quirky folks eager to read & actually buy books. Recommending a book that a reader enjoys is something I always found rewarding and Nina is wonderful at it. I would have preferred more ‘literary matches’ and less of the ‘love triangle.'”
“This book was about a nurse working with polio patients in 1944 in North Carolina. This book got top reviews, but I thought it was schmaltzy with a weak protagonist who I didn’t sympathize with. I always have issues reading or watching medical books/shows because of mistakes, and this nurse and doctor also said and did things I didn’t think a nurse or doctor would do. I did like the racial subplot, and the twist was good.”
While Jeff enjoys reading, he’s always been more into short articles and research studies. Reading 12 books will be a bit of a challenge for him, but he’s started out strong with a long book! This month Jeff completed “the next book in a series you love”.
“This book is the third in the Ender series. The story is remarkably different from the original Ender’s Game, which was largely action and adventure. If the first book was Star Wars Episode IV, this book is sorta the Episode II of the series. Although it had a lot of the same characters and related elements, it largely explored the politics and relationships of the characters, with only a little action and excitement thrown in to make some less exciting moments more interesting. I changed my mind about this book several times while I read it. Card explores several concepts related to God, gods, the self, and the relationships between those things. In the end, I think he does it pretty well. Sometimes, he gets a little too meta, but the characters he creates to explore the ideas are interesting, clever, and believable. Some pieces are a little hard to follow, not just because Card is reporting on two different theaters, but because there are a lot of characters, who often pop-up quickly and disappear just as fast, and he doesn’t keep their roles very distinct. Given the current developments in real-world technology, this book was extra interesting because the book explores the concept of evolving artificial intelligence and how we use it, treat it, and interact with it.”
What did you read this month?