Summer 2017 Reading Wrap-Up

Hello!

Fall is in the air and that means it is time for my summer reading wrap-up! In total I read 14 books. They are:

June:

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy D Snyder

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

July:

Atlas of Lost Cities: A Travel Guide to Abandoned and Forsaken Destinations by Aude de Tocqueville

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (Audiobook)

August:

The Price of Valor by Django Wexler

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Stats:

Genre: 4 Fantasy, 3 non-fiction, 2 Science Fiction, 2 Historical Fiction, 3 Literary Fiction

Type: 1 Audiobook, 13 physical books

Age Range: 3 Middle Grade, 11 adult

3 re-reads, 11 new

Favorite: A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. My goodness, I loved this book! This was one of those books that I kept hugging to my chest while reading and that had me sobbing by the end. I loved the main character, Teddy, with all of his bravery and goodness and stoicism. This is a companion to Atkinson’s Life After Life (which I also loved) and tells Teddy’s life story while centering on his time as a bomber pilot during WWII. Atkinson is a master story-teller and I can’t believe I waited so long to pick this book up.

Least favorite: The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang. This isn’t a bad book and I learned a lot about the Hmong experience from it, but it didn’t hold my attention the way many of the others I read over the summer did. I felt like I was being held at a distance while reading this and couldn’t connect with the people in the story very well. That being said, Yang writes beautifully and I am glad I read it.

I had quite a bit of fun reading this summer! My TBR continues to grow but I knocked some books off that had been there for quite awhile and really enjoyed most everything I picked up. I also read some new releases and some old classics. A pretty nice mixture if I do say so myself. Now onto fall!

Bye for now. The books are calling.

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Can’t Stop Won’t Stop TBR: Middle Grade

Hello!

In just a few days I will be starting a new job working in a middle school library. I am so excited for this opportunity to be working with kids AND books and I’ve had the best time googling some of the middle grade must reads. I have a huge list but for the purposes of time, I’ve chosen five that I can’t wait to read. They are:

  1. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson: This is the first in the Seeds of America trilogy and follows a young slave as she fights for her freedom during the Revolutionary War. I’ve read and loved a few of Halse Anderson’s other books so I am excited to give this series a try.
  2. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai: Told in verse, this novel examines one girl’s story as a refugee fleeing the Vietnam war and her struggle to fit into her new life in America. This won the National Book Award and promises to be beautiful and moving.
  3. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk: This has drawn comparisons to To Kill a Mockingbird (which I adore) and is set during WWII (I am sensing a pattern). It follows a young girl called Annabelle as her life is shaken up by the arrival of a new bully in town. But when the bully, another young girl herself,  goes missing the wrong person is blamed and Annabelle is determined to set things right.
  4. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan: The story begins with Otto, three strange women, and a harmonica. From there, the plot spans decades and countries as the harmonica connects the lives of four children each facing terrible challenges. It sounds like pure heart-wrenching magic!
  5. Wonder by R.J. Palacio: Auggie was born with a facial deformity and is going to regular school for the first time in this book about a community and its struggles with accepting someone who is different. It is soon to be a movie as well.

Let me know what you think of my list and if you have any recommendations! Bye for now. The books are calling.

Mid-year Book Tag

Hello!

I’ve seen quite a few videos on YouTube involving this tag and wanted to try it for myself. And yes, I know it is a little bit past mid-year but I won’t tell if you won’t! The tag was created by YouTubers elyjane and ReadLikeWildfire. Here are the questions:

1. Best book you’ve read so far this year: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far this year: I’m going with Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb. It isn’t technically a sequel as it starts a new trilogy, but it does follow the Farseer trilogy chronologically.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to: The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year: Artemis by Andy Weir

5. Biggest disappointment: Twelve Kings in Sharakai by Bradley Beaulieu. I was expecting so much more given what I’d heard about this book. I found myself bored a lot of the time while reading this and couldn’t connect to many of the characters.

6. Biggest surprise: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy D Snyder. I picked this book up on a whim and found it to be so fascinating, especially given our current political climate in the US.

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you): Yaa Gyasi or Katherine Arden

8. Newest fictional crush: Will Trainor from Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

9. Newest favorite character: Althea Vestrit from Ship of Magic. She starts off as a somewhat spoiled and naive young woman but is slowly growing into a competent and reliable sailor.

10. Book that made you cry: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

11. Book that made you happy: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This may be an odd choice given the subject matter but this is my favorite book and reading it always brings me joy.

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year: Hidden Figures

13. Favorite video you have done so far in this year: Since I don’t make videos I am going to skip this one 🙂

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year: I would love to finish the Mad Ship trilogy by Robin Hobb

Feel free to try the tag yourself and let me know what you think!

Bye for now. The books are calling.

So…I Bought More Books

Hello! It seems I’ve added a new pile of books to my personal library. Here they are:

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I am studying to be a middle school English teacher so I purchased Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Enlge, and Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mickaelsen as part of my research. Also, the movie of A Wrinkle in Time will be coming out this fall so I figured I should read it.

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I came across Atlas of Lost Cites by Aude de Tocqueville in an independent book shop a few weeks ago and found it to be really fascinating. It is only an introductory type book though and I realized I know very little about the ancient world. So I bought SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard to remedy that.

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And then I purchased The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz partly because I’ve been meaning to read his work for a while now and partly because Lin Manuel Miranda said it was excellent. Also, the back says Oscar wants to be the Dominican JRR Tolkien so… It sounds perfect!

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Not pictured is The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks which is a memoir about sheepherding in the UK’s Lake District.

Let me know what books you’ve picked up recently.

Bye for now! The books are calling.

Recent Read: The Essex Serpent

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The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry tells the story of Cora Seaborne and the people who surround her after the death of her husband. Caught in an abusive relationship at a young age, Cora finds herself suddenly free from her oppressor and able to make her own choices for the first time in years. She becomes enchanted with the natural world around her, collecting fossils and studying the earth beneath her feet. Once she hears of the mythical Essex Serpent, a creature thought to be terrorizing a small village as it did in years past, Cora is determined to be the first to track it down. She heads to Essex, unwittingly unleashing a wave of hysteria and becoming entangled with the Rev. William Ransome whose strong views on religion and the Serpent challenge her own strong held beliefs.

I picked up The Essex Serpent mainly due to the beautiful cover and was intrigued to see if the novel lived up to the packaging. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting but I did very much enjoy the novel. While the story has Cora at its center, the other characters, from the country reverend William Ransome and his fairy-like wife Stella, to Cora’s distant son and her surgery obsessed suitor play just as much of a role in the narrative as she does. The Essex Serpent itself is far less important than the effect its possible presence (and Cora’s actual presence) has on the village and the villagers. It is a story of obsession in all of its forms, rampant hysteria, and the thin line between pleasure and pain. The themes Perry deals with are big and thought-provoking, and her prose is beautiful, particularly the descriptions of the natural world. Frankly, it made me want to become a naturalist myself.

At times, I had no idea where the story was going and wasn’t sure if I liked the story as much as I thought I would. I was expecting more of the Essex Serpent than the book provides, but by the end this no longer bothered me. It is a strange book, part historical fiction, part philosophy, part pastoral, part romance, and completely unique. I foresee mulling it over in my head for many days to come.

Bye for now! The books are calling.

I’m Back!

Hello!

It seems like ages since I last wrote a post and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep up this blog. Last month was filled with craziness, both good and bad, and I just didn’t have the time to read, let alone write about reading. I’ve been needing a break for awhile now and finally decided to take one after three years of blogging. I’ve never been the most prolific or consistent of bloggers, but I’ve always tried to aim for at least once a week posts. But I’ve been feeling like I’ve put too much pressure on myself about the whole blogging thing. This is supposed to be fun, but I’ve been turning it into a chore and stressing about the number of views or likes. But I’m not going to worry about that anymore. I’m going to post when and if I feel like it and forgive myself for setting aside different hobbies when a week gets too overwhelming.

But now to the books!

I didn’t read as much as I would have like this spring, but here are the books I did have time to get to:

March:

The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Beast Within by Serena Valentino

April:

Twelve Kings in Sharakai by Bradley Beaulieu

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

May:

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

I enjoyed most of what I read and learned a lot from the nonfictions, so I’d say it was a good season of reading even though I didn’t read a ton. I’ve already read five books this month, all of which I’ve loved, so I think I’m back on track! I’ll be starting The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry today and couldn’t be more excited!

Bye for now. The books are calling!