Linking up to Modern Mrs. Darcy for her monthly QuickLit post, where we share “short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately”. I’ll share everything I’ve read over the previous month here right around the middle of each month, in the order I finished reading them. I read 11 books this month! I expect that, with a brand new baby at home, next month’s numbers will be much smaller.
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
This one was so fun. Chose it as my Book of The Month pick for July. Written in epistolary format (a la The Martian), we learn about a giant metal hand found by a young girl, mostly through a series of interviews with an unnamed government official. This was a quick read, and since Micah was interested in it, I even read some of it aloud. There is very little “content” that isn’t suitable for even young kids, so I’d say anyone 12 and up would be interested in this, even though it’s not YA fiction at all.
Wreckage by Emily Bleeker
Bleeker’s first novel about a plane crash and the survivors’ time on an island, post-rescue. Right away you know there is lying involved, but it takes the whole book to figure out why someone would lie about what happened on a deserted island! Entertaining and fast-moving.
The Year Without a Purchase by Scott Dannemiller
This book is “stunt journalism” (a la AJ Jacobs: The Year of Living Biblically, The Know-It-All, etc), but shouldn’t be discarded even if you think that’s not your thing. Dannemiller and his family tackle the American consumption epidemic in a way that is funny and endearing, and might even inspire you to make some changes in your own life. Be sure to check out my interview with Scott for a deeper look into his life as a writer!
Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
I have little doubt that this book will become a yearly re-read for me (if not more often!). I read it as part of a local homeschool book club, even though I wasn’t able to make it to ANY of the meetings! The info she presents is so concise and helpful, and, as a mama about to start our second homeschool year, but this time with a newborn, something I definitely needed to hear. I will need to hear it again. If you are on this journey as well, be sure to pick up a copy of her book!
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
This novel is beautiful. I listened to it on audiobook, and it’s a long one, but I felt like the narrator did an incredible job really bringing the story to life. It is a coming of age novel about Marion and Shiva Stone, identical twins in Ethiopia. The country faces unrest, the main setting is a hospital, the characters are multi-faceted and engaging. Highly recommended when you have some time to get lost in a novel.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
West is laugh-out-loud funny, and uses that humor to tackle some pretty tough topics in her memoir: abortion, women’s rights, body shaming, internet bullying, to name just a few. She is both insightful and real. This was a quick read, also from Book of the Month, and I really enjoyed it, even the parts that made me uncomfortable.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Even though I was sure I would love this one, I took forever to pick it up. Finally found it at Goodwill for $1.99 and decided that meant it was time for me to read it! I’m so glad I did. Fans of Ove and The One-In-A-Million Boy will enjoy this one, as will anyone who has ever wished that they lived in a bookstore… which, isn’t that every reader? 🙂
What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan
Snagged this one on a Kindle daily deal on the recommendation of Anne Bogel. A boy and his mom go out for a walk in the woods. She lets him run ahead on the path and he disappears. This thriller may have been a little too much for me when I was 39 weeks pregnant with another boy. I had read too many books in a row about missing boys, boys who had something terrible to them, boys who had died… it was very stressful! That’s not to say that this one isn’t another great one. Just, if you’re already sensitive to that sort of thing, maybe wait a bit.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This is one of those books that I NEVER would have chosen for myself if so many people I trust hadn’t recommended it! But, if you are a child of the 80’s or love 80’s culture, you cannot pass this one up! It’s a dystopian novel set in the later 21st century, when almost everyone lives “virtually” in the Oasis, mostly to escape the real world, which has been ravaged by an energy crisis and widespread poverty. The founder of the Oasis dies, and leaves his substantial fortune buried inside the game for anyone to find. To do so, the gamers need to understand his one true love: 80’s culture. References to your favorite movies, songs, and video games abound. Not just for nerds (although they will definitely love it!)!
To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin
NetGalley provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This historical novel is set against the backdrop of the construction of the Eiffel Tower in France. It is packed full of artists you’ll recognize from that time. The main characters, Caitroina and Emile, meet in a hot air balloon and are drawn to each other, but their lives (socially and obligation-wise) won’t allow them to pursue that attraction. I found this novel beautiful in setting, but a bit tiring in plot. I’d enjoy spending more time in historic Paris, but not with these people.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
This one has been HIGHLY critically acclaimed, and for good reason. I was encouraged to listen to it on audiobook (read by the author), and I will definitely endorse the same. Woodson’s poetry about growing up in the South and in NYC during the racial turmoil of the 60’s is beautifully written, and oh-so-applicable here and now as we continue to struggle through some of these same issues as a nation. Please, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the book or audiobook. It will not take much of your time, and you will be better for it.