This is coming a little bit late into October, but I wanted to include my daughter this month. She is an avid reader and has been enjoying some neat books lately that I think should be shared. I’ll do my reads first.
So, Audible has probably changed my life. This is the second month I’ve been listening to books, and I cannot get enough. I listen in my car on my work commute. I also listen while I’m cleaning, folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher, cooking, on and on. I’ve really enjoyed this membership based service.
The first book of the month was The Boys on the Boat by Daniel James Brown. I listened to this on Audible, and that really brought this book to life. I’ve recommended it about 12345 times since I finished it. This is the story of the 1936 Men’s Olympic Rowing team from Washington. It’s about the team as a whole, but it also picks up a few individual members are really focuses on their upbringing and what made them so good at rowing. It’s not surprising to me that the thing that made them most successful had nothing to do with fame or fortune and everything to do with hard work and determination. I recommend this book to boys of junior high age and up and any adult that loves an underdog, feel good story. There is a middle school version as well. It’s an incredible read.
I listened to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte next. I need to read some classics. I don’t even know why I feel that way other than I sometimes feel like I’m the only one that didn’t read a certain book for whatever class in school. I could’ve knocked this book out in 2 hours if I could have flipped past all the filler words and descriptions. A friend described Bronte as being “paid by the word.” I couldn’t speed up the audio version because of the British accent, I couldn’t follow it if I sped it up. The story itself is beautiful, and I loved the way the ending made me feel, but I won’t be reading this again. I probably won’t recommend it as a leisure read either. Just my personal opinion. I’m sure that this is full on blasphemy to some out there.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. I strongly disliked this book. I know I’m not in good company here. I’ve thought and thought about why I disliked it so strongly, and I’ve come to the realization that I want marriages to last. I want marriages to be fought for and to win. This book is about Alice, who lost 10 years of her memory when she had an accident at the gym. She wakes up with a boyfriend and a divorce she doesn’t want, kids she doesn’t know, family happenings she doesn’t remember. She wants her marriage to work (because she’s living 10 years ago), but when it all comes back to her, everything she has just been living is totally gone and she’s suddenly the bitter woman that she’s become again. The last few chapters were simply a recap of everything that had already happened in the book, so I flipped right through those. I bought this book at the Goodwill Bookstore for $2.99 and wasted that for sure. I donated it to the library. Maybe someone else will enjoy it. I’ve heard so many good things about this author that I may give her another chance, but I need some time to get over this one.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I checked this one out from my local library. This book was a cute, fun read. I loved that it was in letter form, so it left a lot to the imagination and characters loosely told about events that had already happened. After Lilac Girls and several other WWII books, I was ready for a break, but then The Boys on the Boat ended up being about the very start of the war and this one ended up being about the aftermath of the war. This is a sweet look at how books can connect people in ways they didn’t think possible, and it makes me want to put my address in a book to see if I can get a pen pal.
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson. If you don’t follow the Boo Mama Blog, stop here and go check that out. Sophie is a hilarious Mississippi-turned-Alabama girl. This book is sort of a memoir about her family. None of this is going to change your life, but it was a good refreshing read that I’ve been putting off for a little bit. I’m so glad I went on and read this. If you’re needing a little funny pick me up, this one’s for you. I read this on Kindle and grabbed it and another of hers for a great low price when a special was running. She announced that on Facebook. Once again, can’t get enough of Boo Mama.
We are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Burg. I chose to read this book because it is set in Tupelo, MS, and I love a good hometown story. I checked it out from my local library. Much to my disappointment, the only thing Tupelo about this book is that the author says it is set there. There was no street name recognition or anything like that. It is set in the 1950s, and it does address several important social issues like a handicap mother who is very close with her African American care taker. The daughter and main character has been raised without seeing race and now it’s coming to light in her life, so it’s interesting to see the dynamic, but this book is not an important book to read regarding race.
Now for Ali’s reads. It is such a privilege to watch my daughter grow into her own as a reader. I have had somewhat of a hard time getting her out of that “princesses and fairies” mindset. I’ve had to have long talks about how we can’t quit on a book (especially one I’ve asked her to read) because some books are important to read even though they are sad. The beautiful thing is that she has found some true treasures when she sticks with it. I’ve also watched that sparkle in her eye when she gets to a point in a book where she just can’t stop now. The first time I saw that, I was so happy for her. That was during Seraphina and the Black Cloak. That’s one that she’s declared that she will read again.
Holes by Louis Sachar. She says this book is about friendship. That’s an important topic to a 9 year old for sure. This was one that she couldn’t put down. I picked it up and Barnes & Noble for her a while back because I want her to be familiar with a lot of the children’s classics, and this is one for sure. It’s been made into a movie. I should mention that I have a 5 year old son, so I try to buy gender neutral books when I can. Also, I should mention that Ali has an aversion to used books. She doesn’t like how some of them have stains and spill marks on the pages, so I’m going to have to continue to work with her on that. Anyway, she loved this book and highly recommends it to the masses in middle school.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. She quit this book with 2 chapters left because it “is sad.” I made her finish it. She said that it was a somewhat happy ending, but she was already devastated over all the loss up until that point. In my opinion, books are one way that we can visit all over the world without getting on a plane, and I want my kids to have a worldview that is not limited to our little corner of the planet. I want her to be intrigued by other cultures and parts of the world. While this book may not have made her want to go to Africa, the next one may call her to Asia.
I think it was a fairly productive reading month. I’d love to hear some of your recommendations!