My kids had the best-summer-ever! The spent 6 weeks with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in California and Utah, while I spent most of the time in Portland. It was a godsend for all of us, and I’m so grateful for the sacrifice of everyone to help us all out, especially my mom and dad.
Since I had already binge-watched everything Netflix had to offer in the preceding months, I spent the 6 weeks reading. I’ve still been sneaking in some books here and there since the kids have gotten back and school has started, although when they go to sleep, I go to sleep. And many days, I’m even a semi-functioning parent.
I wanted to share some of my favorites from this summer (I read about 20), and solicit some recommendations. By this list, it appears that I like contemporary fiction and mysteries, but if a book is well written and interesting, genre doesn’t matter as much.
Recently, I decided I didn’t have to finish books that I didn’t really like/hold my interest. If I read part of a book one day, and wake up the next day and just don’t care enough to finish it, then I read the summary online and move on with my life (hello Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Vintage)
Here are some of my recommendations, based on my summer reading
I knew nothing about Malala besides the fact that she had been shot by the Taliban. I was surprised to find out about her accomplishments and accolades as a supporter of education for girls and women long before that day. I found the book cloying at times, but finished it for two reasons–I wanted to honor her grand efforts, and I gave her the benefit of the doubt–writing a book as a teenager in not her native language.
I thought this book was pretty clever. The main character is a 39 year old brilliant man with no social skills. He decides he wants to get married, but dating is pretty pointless. He prepares an extensive survey in an effort to find an appropriate match. He is teamed up with Rosie, a young woman who fails every.single.question. I found the characters interesting and the writing quick-paced. [If profanity bothers you, this might not be your favorite book. It isn’t excessive but its there]
I picked this book up at the library last week, for no other reason than I had seen it EVERYWHERE. The story centers on quirky and elusive Bernadette Fox, her sudden disappearance, and her daughter, Bee’s efforts to piece together the story. Similar to the Rosie Project–fun characters, lively writing. It certainly isn’t high literature, but makes for a good read.
I enjoyed this recent write up on the extensive Maisie Dobbs series on NPR recently. I started reading the series, out of order (because it doesn’t bother me to read out of order and because I’m getting them all from the library). I like some of the books better than others, but for the most part, Maisie is a compelling, smart, independent female detective. She works in London and the surrounding areas between WWI and WWII.
This is the latest book by Jeanette Walls, author of both The Glass Castle: A Memoir and its subsequent predecessor (I know, I know. Published after, takes place in time before the Glass Castle), Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel. Both of her first two books are autobiographical/semi-autobiographical, and both worth reading. Anyway, not surprisingly, this novel follows similar themes–strong children/teens that live with mentally unstable adults. Crises occur as a matter of course. Familiar story, but worth reading.
I did not realize that this was part of a series (perhaps the 9th or so book?) I really like both the characters and the writing. Thoughtful, intelligent, a bit of a page turner. What’s not to like? But now I know the “end” of the story, and I’m not sure I can go back and read from the beginning.
Books on request at the library:
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