I have not posted for awhile as I have been in the midst of packing, putting most of my possessions in storage, moving out of my apartment, driving a third of the way across the country and then flying to Europe where I am living for four months. So I have not even had much time to read recently, let alone post to my blog. However, I did manage to squeeze in a few books.
Warning: this paragraph discusses the end of Harry Potter. While I was busily finishing some projects at work, but not quite in full swing with packing yet, I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I thoroughly enjoyed it and in fact stayed up much later than usual on a Friday night to finish the last 100 pages or so. However, I have to say that the ending left me feeling a bit disappointed. I wanted to know much more about what happens to the characters than what was answered in the epilogue. At the same time, though, the ending seemed to tie things up so neatly in terms of the themes that had been running through the seven books. The twists were clever, but some things were not explained, like how they suddenly got the sword back from the goblins to destroy the last horcrux. And are we really to believe that all evil is now banished and they live happily ever after? Another reason I think I may have enjoyed this book a little less than the others is that it did not take place at the school like the others. Part of what I found particularly engaging about the other books were the descriptions of the wizarding school and the parody of British boarding schools. The seventh book was completely lacking this aspect. I was surprised to hear that J. K. Rowling considers it her favorite book in the series.
After finishing Harry Potter, I had one more week of intense work and packing. So I picked out a Peter Mayle book to keep me going, A Good Year. I had previously read two other books by Mayle and found them to have decent plots and to be enjoyable light reads. However, A Good Year was quite lacking in comparison. The plot was thin, the characters were unengaging, and I barely had any desire to know how it ended. I finished it the night before leaving only because I don’t like to leave a book unfinished (and I had to return it to the library).
During my cross-country drive and my first week in Europe, I read Howards End, by E. M. Forster. I had seen the movie and enjoyed it, but I did not remember the plot in detail. The book was quite good. Forster writes in a way that both tells an engaging story and contains insightful political commentary. Often books from his time period (early 20th century) can feel sluggish and drawn out, but that is not at all the case with Forster. Additionally, both Howards End and the other book I have read by Forster, A Room With a View, contain strong female characters, which I enjoy and appreciate.