I’ve been on a reading kick lately. Wouldn’t necessarily say it’s come after my homework either, but oh well, I like to read what can I say? I’ve always liked to read. So here are the books I’ve read in the past month, in no particular order and how they effected me.

“Reading Lolita in Tehran” by Azar Nafisi – This book has caught my eye since it appeared on the shelves a few years ago. I suppose because I haven’t actually read “Lolita” I wasn’t sure I could relate to this book, however I saw it at the library the other day and decided to give it a chance. It’s a memoir, Ms. Nafisi was an English Professor in Iran in the earlier days of the revloution there when Ayatollah Khomeini was in power and Iran went from a semi-democratic state to a religious state. As the ability to find most secular books deminished Azar held a book group with some of her favorite students. The book is a memoir about those two years, what the girls discovered and how the changing world in Iran affected them all. I think anyone woman who is a fan of literature and who wants to be more aware of her world should read this book. I admit until a few years ago I did not know that being Persian meant you were from Iran (my high school was lame); but once you know you are responsible to do something about it, to learn more, to inform yourself, this book helps to do that.

“My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult, basically this book centers around two sisters, one who has a rare form of lukemia and the other who is healthy. The twist comes when the younger sister sues her parents for the rights to her own body. The younger daughter was actually choosen from a petri dish, because her genes matched her sisters perfectly and they had her to harvest the umbillical cord for the stem cells. It’s an interesting debate, designer babies, on one hand, you have the ability to grow a child that could help to save your child who is ill and then not only do you have a greater chance of saving your daughter, you also have a “replacement” should something happen to the one who is ill. Overall, it was a good book. I read it on the plance from LAX to JFK and it kept me entertained the six hours and of course it made me cry.

“Whiteout” by Ken Follet, apparently he is one of the best authors in the thriller genre. I thought this book was okay, of course it followed the formula of the thrillers you find in the paperback section of the grocery store, but it was okay. It did have the subject of killer viruses, which I always find cool.

“The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follet – So you might think from my earlier review that I wasn’t that impressed by Ken Follet and that I would pick up another of his books in the same month is crazy. Not just another book mind you, it’s a book about stuff I don’t even like to read about, castles, cathedrals, England in the 12th century… BORING, is what I would always think. However, Mr. Follet wove it altogether in this amazing beautiful story of trechery, love, deceit, loss, gain, it was great. I basically put everything off for a week while I read the book. (This is why sometimes I just shouldn’t start reading in the first place, oh well.)

“Digital Fortress” by Dan Brown – Back to the thriller genre, I once again felt compelled to read a formullary novel, plus I could not remember if I had actually read this book by Dan Brown. I read a few of his other books, but couldn’t remember this. I love cryptology, I don’t exactly have a “math” mind that you tend to need to be a cryptographer, but I like thinking that I do. This book of course gives you an excuse to pretend you are one for awhile, gotta love it.

“Veronika Decides to Die” by Paulo Coelho – This book is an interesting book to read back to back with “Digital Fortress.” The writing style and the point of each novel is completely different. Mr. Coelho is much more of a literary novelist than Dan Brown, I’m thankful for that. I love the Dan Brown novels, I love reading and not thinking, however I like novels that move me and I’m not sure why. Veronkia is a girl in Slovenia (I think that is intersting enough as it is, Slovenia, who writes books about Slovenia?) who at the lovely age of twenty-four decides to commit suicide. Not for any reason in particular, but I suppose it is because she cannot think of any particular reason to live either. The suicide attempt fails and she finds herself in a mental hospital, the ensuing story helps the reader to once again realize how life can be precious and sweet and have meaning if only we look at it correctly.