Summer Reads 2019 Update

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 0 No tags Permalink

summer reads 2019

Time for a summer reads update, though there’s not much to report as I haven’t been reading much. I have been crocheting a lot and watching a ton of shows (Project Runway Season 16, Pose, Fleabag…).

And I have even more shows waiting (Stranger Things, Derry Girls). I don’t know if it’s everything else in life or if it’s just the books I’ve been choosing, but I’ve had a hard time really falling into a book lately. I’ve also had a real series of headaches again, and that makes it difficult to read in the evenings. I need to schedule an appointment with the eye doctor.

I started the summer reading with a light read. Emma Rous’ The Au Pair has an interesting twist. I wouldn’t say it’s the kind of book that is going to stay with you, but if you’re looking for a nice, easy beach read that will keep you entertained, it’s a good one.

When I was younger, I’d battle through a book to the very end, no matter what. As I’ve gotten older, I realize there are so many books I will never read them all, and why waste your time reading something you’re not enjoying?

Jillian Cantor’s In Another Time is a well-written, interesting book. However, I found it sad and distressing to read. I am sure everything will work out for the characters in the end of the book, but I just couldn’t finish it. I found myself sad thinking about it, and I didn’t want to pick it up to read it. I only got about half way through before I gave it up entirely.

Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was not on my original list, but it was recommended by a friend. It was a good read, though a little sad and stressful like the Cantor book, still I was able to get through it. I suspect my next read will be off the list as well, and something light.

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Summer Reads 2018 Update

Wednesday, August 22, 2018 0 No tags Permalink

summer reads 2018

Not only have I been slothful in posting, I haven’t been reading much this summer either. In fact, I sort of wonder what I have been doing. I had a nice little summer bucket list, and have checked off very few things (yoga on the beach at Lake Michigan, baseball game and attending an outdoor concert). Here it is, nearing the end of August and the trees are already starting to turn, and I’ve only been out paddle boarding eight times. Yikes.

I did read the Megan Miranda book, The Perfect Stranger. It was not bad.

Then I read The Ninth Hour and I think it was pretty good, but then I had to go look up the synopsis to write this as I couldn’t remember what it was about.

Then it was The Night Circus, which was interesting but I was more than ready for it to be over by the time I finished it.

I also read Slade House, but didn’t manage to get the cat and couch photo. The last two chapters, I realized it was sort of a sequel or at least had some characters in it from a previous David Mitchell book that I had loved. This one was just ok.

And that’s where I am. Rather, I’m about halfway through Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible and it’s just delightful. Best thing I’ve read since last year’s American Fire. As it’s nearly Labor Day, it doesn’t look like I’m going to be finishing my summer reads as planned this year, but I suppose it’s not terrible as I did get more than half way through. I did pick up another couple books, including a real beach read and a more challenging novel. Maybe autumn will be a more fitting time to read this year.

How is your reading going?

The Perfect Stranger: A Novel by Megan Miranda

The Memory Painter: A Novel of Love and Reincarnation by Gwendolyn Womack 

Slade House: A Novel by David Mitchell 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Between Them: Remembering My Parents by Richard Ford 

The Ninth Hour: A Novel by Alice McDermott

Warlight: A novel by Michael Ondaatje

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Summer Reads 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 0 No tags Permalink

summer reads 2018

Dear friends, it is already past Memorial Day, and therefore time for Summer Reads 2018. I’ve been quite busy sewing and crocheting in the evenings, so I haven’t been reading much lately. I have a slightly smaller list this year as a result. I am starting with the Megan Miranda book, The Perfect Stranger.

The Perfect Stranger: A Novel by Megan Miranda

The Memory Painter: A Novel of Love and Reincarnation by Gwendolyn Womack 

Slade House: A Novel by David Mitchell 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Between Them: Remembering My Parents by Richard Ford 

The Ninth Hour: A Novel by Alice McDermott

Warlight: A novel by Michael Ondaatje

What are you reading this summer?

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Summer Reads 2017 Update #3

Monday, July 31, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

summer reads 2017

 

Can you believe it’s already August? Holy cats, the summer has gone by so fast. Time for the Summer Reads 2017 Update #3.

perfectlittleworld

I read Kevin Wilson’s Perfect Little World, and it was good. Interesting story line. Well written. Something to think about. Everything turned out ok in the end and was wrapped up nicely. I would recommend it. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send it to you.

parisbookshop

As soon as I had finished Nina George’s Little French Bistro, I put her Little Paris Bookshop in my cart. It’s just as good. I read it with one hand on my phone, as I wanted to see photos of the places in the book. It’s a lovely book, and set me in a perfect summer mood. It was delightful, and well worth reading. George puts her own recommendations of books in the back of this one. I picked up two. One is nearly unreadable from a story line, I think. The other is a nice story, but is so poorly edited it’s bothersome. Quotation marks the wrong way, wrong punctuation.

This is week 10 out of 14. I should finish up The Enchanted April this week, and then will start When Breath Becomes Air. Again, I can’t believe how quickly the summer has gone.

Summer Reads 2017:

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders
Added:
The Book of Summer: A Novel by Michelle Gable

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Summer Reads 2017 update

Monday, June 12, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

 summer reads 2017

I’ve been slowly working on my reading, and so it is time for the Summer Reads 2017 update, the first of its kind. I am still managing to get some done on the John Kabat-Zinn. Much of it is similar to what I learned in the eight week MBSR course through the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness but it’s a good reminder to stay in the moment. I did finish Lincoln in the Bardo, which was indeed a very unusual book.

 

lincoln2

I’m not sure it’s everyone’s cup of tea. It takes a bit to get used to how it’s written. The story is strange and it’s stayed with me after I finished reading it. I found the ending was not entirely satisfying. If you want to read it, let me know and I will mail it to you. If not, it will likely wind up at the library as a donation. I have started My Grandmother…which also seems to be a very unusual book. I believe I may need a palate cleanser of a breezy beach read when I am finished with it, so for sure I will be adding to my book list as I go. I always seem to do that.

What are you reading? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know your thoughts!

 

Summer Reads 2017:

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Summer Reads 2016

Summer Reads 2015

Summer Reads 2014

Summer Reads 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017 0 No tags Permalink

summer reads 2017

It’s that time of year again – ready for Summer Reads 2017. It seemed to go straight from February to Memorial Day; time really moves more quickly the older you get. While I’ve been reading off and on this past winter (Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson which was really excellent, Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett which I hated, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood which was amazing, Commonwealth by Ann Patchett which was ok), I never get as much reading done as during my Summer Reads project. It is a true hedonistic endeavor…I pick eight or so books to read from Memorial Day through Labor Day. I generally pick my books from Amazon.com recommendations, the New York Times Bestseller list and book reviews by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan.

Anyhow, I  believe I have set my list for Summer Reads 2017:

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders

The Gustav Sonata: A Novel by by Rose Tremain

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Perfect Little World: A Novel by Kevin Wilson

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman, Henning Koch

I started adding books to the list several months ago and don’t even really remember what all of them are about. I suspect I will slide in a nice easy beach read in the mix as well. You really have to have a book like that in the summer, don’t you? I have started the Kabat-Zinn and am reading a bit each morning before I start the day. I started the Saunders book on Memorial Day and it’s so unusual. What are you reading this summer?

Like reading? Check out previous summer reads:

Summer Reads 2016

Summer Reads 2015

Summer Reads 2014

The Final Chapter – Summer Reads 2016

Friday, September 23, 2016 0 No tags Permalink

Summer Reads 2016 Update

It is now officially autumn and I haven’t done a Summer Reads 2016 Update since Week 9. I finished The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander. While it was very good, it was also rather sad and is probably not everyone’s cup of tea. If you are interested in reading it and live in the continental United States, comment on this post and I will snail-mail it to you. I also read the third and final Miss Peregrine book:

Summer Reads 2016 Update

 

It was excellent. Loved the whole series. I do have Honeydew: Stories by Edith Pearlman sitting on my desk to read, and will get to it once I feel like taking a break on crocheting. This is, apparently, the Fall of Shawls for me. I’ve completed two now, and have started on a third.

Summer Reads 2016 list:

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel by Elizabeth Poliner

Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel by Dominic Smith

Honeydew: Stories by Edith Pearlman

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin

The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander

Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story by Dan Harris.

2016 Summer Reads Week 9

2016 Summer Reads Week 9 Update

The past few days have been hot, hot, hot! I finished the second book in the series fo Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, Hollow City. It was just as good as the first. And, on thinking on it, I’ve determined that the writing and the way the tale unfolds sort of reminds me of the My Father’s Dragon books by Ruth Stiles Gannett. I will be getting the third in the series, but probably won’t start it until after summer.

hollowcity

I’ve been working on another project as well.

iSUP

You may remember that I did an ill-fated land paddling thing summer of 2014. This new project is safer, if you don’t count drowning. I am wearing a life vest and a leash, and sticking to the shallows. I looked back on my notes from the land-attempt and found this “First, the balance thing. Try standing on one foot for more than sixty seconds. You might not enjoy it. Your foot might hurt. And your knee. And your shin. And your calf. At first, I could only do ten minutes and it was agony.” Um, yeah. Same thing on the water, although my first attempt was 15 minutes and involved suddenly sitting down on the lake bottom twice (I was only in up to my knees, so it was no big deal). Last time around I was getting better by the fourth time I did it. Loving it by the 11th. And unfortunately the whole thing finished up on #13.

Anyhow, I am reaching out and grabbing a firm hold on summer. Hope you are, too.

Summer Reads 2016 list:

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel by Elizabeth Poliner

Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel by Dominic Smith

Honeydew: Stories by Edith Pearlman

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin

The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander

Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story by Dan Harris.

Like Summer Reads? More here:

2016 Week Eight Update

2016 Week Five Update

2016 Week Four Update

2016 Week One Update

2015 Summer Reads Introduction

2014 Summer Reads Introduction

2016 Summer Reads Week 8

Friday, July 22, 2016 0 No tags Permalink

2016 Summer Reads Week 8 Update

summerreads2016

Holy cats, we are already on 2016 Summer Reads Week 8. Past the Fourth of July and into the dog days of summer. I was off work for a week (use it or lose it vacation time), and got a lot of reading done in addition to making pickles from the garden and other assorted projects.

2016 Summer Reads Week 6

As I mentioned in the last post, I went off-list and read 10% Happier by Dan Harris. It was a fantastic read. His story is interesting, and he makes the thought of regular meditation more reachable. He cites recent studies that show how regular meditation can change the brain and yield not only happiness but also health. Often, introductions to meditation make it seem too new-age or that it’s just as easy as sitting down and doing it. Dan Harris makes it seem possible in a real way. Loved this book, and am interested in reading his new book, too. Sending this one on to my sister, along with a previous read. Because 10 percent greater health and happiness? Of course I want to share it with her.

2016 Summer Reads Week 6

Next up on the reading list was the latest Dominic Smith book, The Last Painting of Sara De Vos. It is split between three timeframes – the 1600s when Sara De Vos was alive, the 1950s when Ellie Shipley was in her 20s and forged a painting, and in the year 2000, when everything comes home to roost. Now, you know I love when an author can really suck you in with words. Sometimes, you read and something conveys a point or an idea. Sometimes, you read and you are fully immersed in the author’s mind. Dominic Smith’s writing is like that: “Q is roughly Ellie’s age but of another time — a man of pressed handkerchiefs and pomade who smells of wood glue. He wears a navy dustcoat with his monogrammed initials above a pocket crammed with mechanical pencils.” And “It’s only a little after four but already nearing dusk. A heavy bank of clouds has formed in the west. Through the trees, Ellie watches as a sunburst streaks through and turns the harbor from slate to sapphire and back again.” Love it. Love. The story is interesting and the book is good. Well worth the read, and I think my Mom will like it, too.

Next up is the second in the Miss Peregrine books, Hollow City.

Summer Reads 2016 list:

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel by Elizabeth Poliner

Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel by Dominic Smith

Honeydew: Stories by Edith Pearlman

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin

The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander

Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman

Added in Progress:

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story by Dan Harris.

Like Summer Reads? More here:

2016 Week Five Update

2016 Week Four Update

2016 Week One Update

2015 Summer Reads Introduction

2014 Summer Reads Introduction

2016 Summer Reads Week 5

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 0 No tags Permalink

2016 Summer Reads Week 5 Update

summerreads2016

Here we are, the last week of June and 2016 Summer Reads Week 5. As always, I am trying not to freak out about the passing summer, but it’s not working. Why must the nice weather go so fast and the bad weather last so long?

2016 Summer Reads Week 5

I heard Ishmael Beah on a podcast (pretty sure it was The Moth), and knew I had to add his book to my summer reads list. I figured it would be a “good for me” book to read, and maybe a challenge to get through. It was the first book I purchased, but I put off starting it until this weekend. I expected it would take a week or two to read, but I completed it in just over a day. It is honestly the best thing I’ve read so far this summer. Yes, it’s graphic, but not unnecessarily so. He is a storyteller, and his writing really pulls you in. I think that, instead of having high school students read Shakespeare, every student should have to read this book (now, I am not saying a student shouldn’t read Shakespeare, but just that given the limited time perhaps there are more important things they could be reading as required texts. Like this book, which is a fine example of storytelling prose as well as inspirational. We all need to try harder to make the world a better place, so that what happened in Sierra Leone, what is happening in Syria, what happens all over STOPS happening). Anyhow, I highly recommend this book. And I will be picking up his next book, Radiance of Tomorrow: A Novel by Ishmael Beah, to read. 

ascloseasbreathing

You might recall from my last post that I was going to read As Close to Us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner. And I did read it this past week, before the Ishmael Beah book. I just got through it really quickly, so I wound up getting two done in a week. It was a good, solid novel. The story was told in an interesting way; the ending is stated right away, and the novel works backward to the day of the incident. It qualifies as a beach read because it takes place at the beach. I did enjoy it, and I think my Mom will too so I am passing it on to her next.

I’m halfway through the Summer Reads 2016 list already. I wound up ordering a book not on the list that I am reading this week – 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story by Dan Harris. Harris was an ABC News anchor who had a panic attack on live national television; I read an article about this book and it sounded like a good read.

Here is my Summer Reads 2016 list:

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel by Elizabeth Poliner

Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel by Dominic Smith

Honeydew: Stories by Edith Pearlman

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin

The Light of the World: A Memoir by Elizabeth Alexander

Bettyville: A Memoir by George Hodgman

Added in Progress:

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story by Dan Harris.

Like Summer Reads? More here:

2016 Week Four Update

2016 Week One Update

2016 Summer Reads Introduction

2015 Summer Reads Introduction

2014 Summer Reads Introduction