A Summer of Reading — The End

I made a Goodreads goal to read 25 books this year, which I thought would be hard, and then I had a three-month period of unemployment and just happened to be at the coast of California in the middle of it. It’s easy to go through a book or two a week when you spend a few hours at the beach every day. A few of these books were life-changers: Both Autobiography of Red and the sequel, Red> Doc by Anne Carson, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay and Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche all left their marks on me. Here’s my last list from the summer:

41k5j66k4pL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Longbourn by Jo Baker — I’m a not-so-secret geek for anything Jane Austen whose canonical Pride and Prejudice I  read at least once a year every year since I first read it as a teenager. One of the best presents I’ve ever received was a DVD copy of the BBC version of P&P, a gift I’d eventually have to replace from overuse. All this to say fanfiction of Austen usually does nothing for me, because no one can even touch Austen in her understanding of the times she wrote in. Or so I thought. I picked up Longbourn because it was sitting on an endcap at the library. I started reading it because it was the last in my pile, but it turned out to be the best of the lot. Baker has serious guts. She makes few decisions that made my eyebrows climb up to join my hairline. Does she pull it off? I think she does, largely because she doesn’t focus on the players we know, but the ones we don’t know. And I think she knows that most fans have theories about all kinds of plot points, which she explaores. Genius. P.S. A movie is due out next year. I’ll be there with bells on. Continue reading

A Summer of Reading – Pt. 2

We spent a lot of time at the beach last week, so I blew through a few more books. I had a goal to read 25 books before the end of 2014, and I am well on my way to surpassing that number. All of the books below were solid, though for completely different reasons.Get your read on.

indexMe Before You  by Jojo Moyes — This is a great book club book, because it’s a bit controversial, and I wish I was a part of a book club, so I could bounce my thoughts off other people. Whether you like the book or not you will have an opinion about it. Moyes deftly brings readers into the world of disabled people and the people who love and care for them with this semi-romantic story. The main narrator, Louisa, is fired from her steady job, and ends up taking a job as a caretaker for a quadriplegic. Her charge, Will Traynor, is a man from a wealthy upbringing who used to live on the edge — From skydiving to deep sea diving to buying and selling companies, nothing was out of his reach, until a car accident changes his life. Through various narrators, we watch Louisa and Will become closer and even fall in love, but there’s a catch, and it’s a Doozy. I can’t tell you much more without ruining the book, but trust me when I say the end of this book is a kick to the teeth. Continue reading

A Summer of Reading

This may be the best summer of reading yet in my adult life. I have so much time, what else could I do, besides write.

download (1)Life After Life by Kate Atkinson — I saw this book every where — airports, in opened bookbags, and laid face down on couches. I knew I had to read it, but once I started and figured out what was happened to Ursula, I was on the struggle bus and almost put it down. I love books set in WW2, especially in England, so this was both a dream and a nightmare. Atkinson does not hold back on the horror of the war; there’s a scene after an air raid that made me cry. But Atkinson also wonderfully portrays the famous war motto “Keep Calm And Carry On” and the can-do attitude of the British. The level of research and how she uses it to create a complete picture of the time is incredible. I could tell that she knew where each character was born, where and how they died, their favorite color and every little thing about them. Highly recommend this one! Continue reading