Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Reading Recap: June 2019

June is over and July is here!  Long, lazy summer days have me in their grip and I am v. happy about this.  Naps are my life and we spend an inordinate amount of time at the pool.  School ended in a haze and we were just so done with it.  Now we have a flexible routine and lots of reading time.  
actual footage of me every day at 2pm

I was prepared for June being a terrible reading month but it was actually pretty good.  I read six books.  Call it escapism if you must...because that's what it was.  

Here we go:

1.  The Goldfinch.  I wanted to finish this one in May but it ended up being June.  It was a complicated book.  I think I felt every single emotion towards Theo, Hobie, Pippa, and Boris.  There were parts I absolutely hated and there were parts I couldn't stop thinking about.  Tartt is an artist with language, even in those hated parts.  

This is a journey story about Theo.  He meets an unlikely cast of characters as he experiences mundane and extraordinary situations over a short period in his life.  He makes good decisions and some really, really stupid ones.  The reader is forced to question how his childhood changed him, the lifelong ramifications of certain friendships, and how grief can be woven into our lives like a silvery thread in a tapestry.  It's probably a classic.

I'm really glad I finished it before the movie comes out this fall.  

2.  Murder at the Vicarage.  I didn't enjoy this book which is a new experience with an Agatha Christie work.  Miss Marple was a peripheral character and the narrator was all over the place.  I was so annoyed with most of the characters that I just didn't care about the mystery.  Blah.

3.  The Mysterious Affair at Styles.  I really enjoyed this book which is a common experience with an Agatha Christie work.  Apparently, I have an affinity for Poirot.  I care about him.  And the characters were a little more complex than in Vicarage where all the characters seemed cartoonish in their stereotyping.  Anyway, I will now take a break from Christie for a while.  

4.  The Dream Peddler.  This is not a book I would have picked up in a million years.  It is about a peddler who sells dreams in a sleepy little town that is reeling from a tragedy.  I read it for book club and it was so surprising.  The author's descriptions were incredible.  It was like, "yes, that's exactly how that sounds/feels/smells/tastes.  how did you find the perfect combination of words to describe that???"  She made a story that could have been overly sweet and kind of silly but instead was an exercise in empathy and highlighted the beauty in the ordinary.  

5.  The River.  Too much is being said about this one on the internet but I read it and loved it.  I love Hemingway's approach to nature and writing and Heller does a good job of offering a similar approach with his own energy.  Heller tells the story of two young men traveling down a river and trouble ensues.  But it's not about the trouble.  If you are looking at the trouble you might miss the relationships, the statements about masculinity, and the reverence of the natural world.  This book might require two readings to really understand some of the more nuanced themes.  

actual footage of my life in May and June

6.  Inkling.  My 10 year old picked this for our mother-daughter-book-club.  At first, I was like, "Ugh, a book about an inkblot."  Granted, I did buy it, but I thought the kids could read it and leave me out of it.  I read it because I'm a good mom.  

After the first 30 pages, I was hooked and couldn't stop myself, actually.  Somehow Oppel makes a compelling story that had me shedding a few tears out of an intelligent inkblot and a conflicted boy.  I don't think the characters I read at 10 were so well rounded.  We both agreed Ethan's little sister who has Down Syndrome was a complete ray of sunshine and his frenemy Vika was a jerk, except for she wasn't always a jerk and you could kind of understand why she was behaving like that.  Bravo, Oppel.  

The best part of the book for me was that Inkling would imitate any of the books he "ate" the night before so he would be talking like the BFG or Anne of Green Gables or Hemingway.  It was awesome. 

I can't wait to see what's in store for July.  No spoilers, but I'm already off to a great start!

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?  Also, what did you read in June?  Share in comments and we can keep the book chat going.  

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