Yes. Yes. And YES.
Well, friends, call me a machine or call me a reader, I don’t know which one’s more of the truth. One of the big things on my bucket list this past summer was to read 10 books, which was quite a stretch since my reading record over the past few years has been slim pickings, but low and behold… I read 11! Well, I guess technically I read 9 (two I listened to as audiobooks), but still 9 is pretty amazing for me. Not that I don’t love reading, I actually absolutely LOVE IT, but it’s proven to be a bit of a challenge since I started teaching two years ago. I used to devour books when I took the train to and from work in downtown Boston and into Harvard Square for grad classes. But somewhere between the busy days of first grade and driving back and forth school, the reading magic’s gotten lost.
Well, this summer was all about finding it again.
And boy did I ever.
Here’s the run-down (books can fall into more than one category):
3 memoirs (2 humor)
3 YA literature
2 historical fiction
Basically, I enjoyed them all. Some I liked. Some I loved. And a few I devoured. Below are my reviews of the books. They’re aren’t any spoilers, but a few times I did write out a mini-synopsis of the story. I used the goodreads rating system (three stars = liked it, four stars = really liked it, five stars = loved it), and hope you’ll find it helpful in the search for your own next book to read. There are some real winners in this list.
Here it goes (if you click on the book title and stars, it’ll bring you to Amazon)…
I thought this book was really terrific. It’s a pretty thick book and I finished it in under 4 days. The story takes place in rural Vermont in the 80’s and the main character, Sybil, is a traditional midwife. An accident happens with one of her patients, and the blame is put all on her. The story is told from the perspective of Sybil’s daughter, who is now grown, but was just a teenager at the time of the incident, which makes it all the more interesting. Totally engrossing and smart. Loved this one.
Also a beautiful story. Terrible and wonderful all at the same time. This book is written from the german perspective during WWII. Many ordinary German women were simply trying to survive the war in any way that they could, and this book is the story of one German mother’s path to survival (her own and her daughter’s) during a truly terrifying time in history. It’s interesting to see the tragedies that some of the German people had to face (the stories we don’t often hear, but surely were happening in WWII Germany). An eye-opening book that tugged at my heart big time.
Tina Fey, people. It’s got to be funny, right? And it was. Tina Fey just tells it all in this book and it’s not hard to find yourself laughing along as you go. I liked it a LOT, didn’t love it, but like it a lot a lot a lot. (Oh, and listen to the audiobook on this one. It’s the only real way to go.)
Oh, Julia! How I love thee. The thing that I truly admire about Julia Child is that she completely lives her life to the fullest. I would certainly say she is one of my role models, as I love her spunky spirit and outlook on life. Plus, she’s a hoot. Have you ever seen some of the Valentine’s cards her and Paul sent out back in the day? I wish I could be so clever and brave! This book made me want to visit France like crazy. It also reminded me that if you work hard towards a goal, with a lot of perseverance and a little bit of luck, you can make your dreams come true. Julia is inspiring. What a lady.
This book was written by one of my all time favorite picture book authors, Kevin Henkes. I knew Kevin could write, but, wow, can he WRITE! This story is beautifully written. I felt like the words were almost singing to me. The young adult story is about youth, and family, and death, and life. I fell in love with the main character and found myself rooting for her the whole way through.
Can you imagine waking up every morning having no idea who you are or what your past is like? Then finding a notebook that you wrote that scarily explains everything including the fact that you cannot and should not trust your husband? Completely suspenseful. This book hooked me from the start and I read it quickly through to the end. A very entertaining, easy read. Great for people who like a page-turner!
I also listened to this book, verses reading. With a funny memoir where the author is narrating, I think it’s absolutely essential. I was totally LOLing throughout this entire book. I actually feel like I could relate more to Mindy’s book over Tina’s probably because of my age. So many of her memories and experiences are my memories and experiences too. For the record, Mindy is HILARIOUS. She totally writes like she talks (which I am a big fan of, obvi) and there’s even a chapter that made me tear up, which I always love in a book. 5 stars for Mindy!
I enjoyed this book. I loved the beginning, and stuck through it til the end, but somewhere along the way the excitement of it faded for me. The story is focused around Asha, a “secret daughter” who was born into an Indian family that, because of cultural norms, will only accept a son. The story continues on and deals a lot with differences in cultures and family dynamics. It’s a story about mothers, sacrifices, worries, happiness, and finding peace.
I’d been wanting to read this YA book since it won the Newbery Award in 2010. It definitely lived up to my expectations. It’s entertaining, with memorable characters and has a very detailed story line. This is one of those books where everything comes together just perfectly at the end and you’re shaking you’re head with a smile on your face. Also, the fact that it highly references Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is just all kinds of wonderful.
So my friend Caroline first told me to read this book, and then shortly after Hannah was sending me messages about reading it too. It came highly recommended to me and now, I’m making sure to recommend it to you! It’s good, guys. REALLY good. Definitely a suspense book, a clever mystery. I just kept turning the pages thinking WHAT NEXT! WHAT NEXT? Loved it!
I gave this book 6 stars. I know 6 stars doesn’t really exist, but this is my blog, and I can do what I want. PLEASE PLEASE READ THIS BOOK. It’s the best book I have read in a long long time. One that stays with you and makes you think and makes you look at life a little differently. It is beautifully written, and smart, too. Oh, it is truly terrific. Devote some time to reading this book and you will not regret it.
Here’s to hoping I can keep somewhat of this reading frenzy up, even in the midst of a busy school year. Or at least to making some library stops to find audiobooks for my daily drives.
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