Grabbed a copy of True Grit (set in Arkansas) in this sweet little bookshop in Eureka Springs, Arkansas on our road trip. I love getting books as souvenirs.
Grabbed a copy of True Grit (set in Arkansas) in this sweet little bookshop in Eureka Springs, Arkansas on our road trip. I love getting books as souvenirs.
Such an incredible story. Parts of it broke my heart, but I have a soft spot for anything with animals. The connection he has with the rescued elephant herd is a powerful thing. He never forgets they are powerful animals, even when they grow close. He treated them with respect and his bond with them was strong. There were some powerful scenes, like seeing the crippled baby elephant with its mother and watching him deal with a rogue elephant.
I just discovered Heller this year with “The River”. When it‘s completely different, but still great. He has such a skill for writing about nature. We meet Celine, a private detective, who has a fascinating past. She‘s older and has a supportive wonderful husband, which is unique PI books. She particularly loves reuniting families in her work and this case is a doozy. A famous photographer goes missing in a national park & a bear attack is blamed.
In May my husband and best friend surprised me with my very own Little Free Library for my birthday. Today we got to install it at our local park! My husband even made a plaque for the library, dedicating it to my Mom (who passed away). I‘ve wanted a little free library as long as I can remember. I can‘t wait to keep it stocked with books for our community! 💙 It was a very special day for this reader.
1. Scattergories and Catchphrase
2. Greece, Morocco, and then a return trip to New Zealand!
3. Really well, 160 books read. Finished all of Shakespeare‘s plays and I‘m almost at my goal to read 30 books from my own shelves.
4. The Name of the Wind (so long, but so good)
5. What‘s your favorite kind of pie? (Key lime for me!) #Friyayintro @howjessreads
I heard great things about the former first lady‘s memoir, but it surpassed my expectations. I loved seeing the campaigns and presidential terms through her eyes. She talks candidly about her reservations during the process. I also loved hearing about her time growing up in Chicago‘s South Side & struggling to find a work/life balance as a new mom.
“Everyone on Earth was carrying around an unseen history, and that alone deserved some tolerance.”
This one fell firmly in the category of: I wish I could have read a nonfiction book about this instead. It's based on the real story of a juvenile facility in Florida that abused young boys. Elwood and Tucker become friends as they try to survive the horrors of life at Nickel. It flashes back and forth in time and never really hit the right pace for me.
Such a sweet story! I loved reading this one with my daughter. Can‘t wait to raid the rest of the series.
An incredibly quick read, but a powerful one. The narrative skips around in the timeline of one family. Iris, a 16-year-old girl, finds herself pregnant and we learn about her parents, her life in college, and her daughter Melody. The writing is lyrical and the story packs and emotional punch with a tie to 9/11.
1) February 2016
2) I was home on maternity leave and The Litsy community was exactly what I needed.
3) Same, but it kept me reviewing when I was struggling.
4) I‘m on a literary fiction new release kick, but I‘m missing my classics.
Thanks for the tag @xicanti
Maeve and Danny are siblings raised is a unique mansion. The story follows their relationship over decades. Through Danny‘s eyes we see their lives carry forward even when they can‘t help but fixate on the past. This book is a reminder that the plot matters very little in the hands of a gifted writer. Patchett has an incredible skill for building flawed characters that resonate deeply. Even though the action seems mundane, I couldn‘t put it down.
I‘m not always a fan of retellings of Austen‘s work, but this one is pitch perfect. The plot translates perfectly to the Muslim community in modern-day Toronto. Ayesha meets Khalid and sparks of both attraction and anger fly. Loved the side plot about workplace discrimination too.
“It‘s not enough to find someone you love. You have to be ready for that love, and ready to make changes to welcome it into your life.”
This one caught me completely by surprise. I was expecting an easy romance and instead it had a lot more depth. It hit a little too close to home at times as someone I‘m close to is dealing with the same kind of emotional abuse discussed in the book. I loved the two different POVs and was delighted by Leon & Tiffy‘s notes to each other. In addition to two great main characters, I loved the supporting cast of friends & Leon‘s imprisoned brother.
Women typists at the CIA, female spies, and the author of Doctor Zhivago, this book weaves a thread between the three. There are a lot of different points of view and except for the collective voice of the typing pool, they do not sound very different. It‘s hard to keep track of who is speaking and they all have about the same tone. I found myself wishing this one would end faster. I would‘ve preferred a book on just one of the three plots.
Meet Roheryn, my new kindle! After my 10 yr old kindle broke last month I was beyond bummed. Roheryn, (The name of Aragorn‘s horse in LOTR, an obvious choice for all the journeys it will take me on.), is a kindle paperwhite, an unexpected gift from my sister. And my husband somehow replaced the screen of my old one, so now I have two. 😂 Time for ALL of the reading!
Hugely hyped, wonderfully executed. This follow-up to The Handmaid‘s Tale is told from three points of view 15 years later. Aunt Lydia‘s and two other characters, whose pasts unfold as the story progresses. I loved the choices of which characters she highlights and felt the ending was completely satisfying. It took me a short time to get into it, but the audiobook is so well done that I found myself trying to find extra time to listen.
I‘m completely in love with these illustrated editions of the Harry Potter books. The fourth one just came out! From the Burrow to the Quidditch match, the Yule ball to the Death Eaters, each image is beautiful! Jim Kay brings the work alive without making it cartoonish or too much like the films. Can‘t wait to see the rest of the series!
When her parents divorce, Meredith is transplanted from her Rhode Island home to California. Her mother is deep in the thralls of depression & so her strict granny becomes her care giver. But it‘s her step-grandpa, that truly connects with her. He teaches her how to care for bees and all about his hive colonies. Their relationship is sweet and wonderful. The memoir reminds me of The Glass Castle, but the addition of hive culture adds a new layer.
Laney and her mother drive from the west to east coast while listening to mix tapes. Each holds a special set of memories & after years of distance, caused by her mother's illness, Laney opens up about her life & loves. Mixed tapes may be a thing of the past, but I loved the Side A & B that start each section. The book feels episodic, but it all ties together with her friendships and relationships. A perfect book to read during a road trip.
This whirlwind of a novel is short and sharp. I loved the author‘s voice and listened to the whole thing almost without stopping. If books were alcoholic drinks this would be a shot of something strong. The title says it all. A nurse struggles with the moral dilemma of protecting her beautiful sister versus protecting the men who are her potential victims. Can‘t wait to read whatever this author writes next.
From Ben Folds‘ memoir to finishing the Little House on the Prairie series, this has been a fascinating reading month.
It took me forever to get into this one, but I really liked it in the end. The theft caper didn‘t hold my attention as well as the characters‘ back stories. I loved learning about the tricky band of misfits: Inej, Kaz, Nina, Matias, Jesper, and Wylan. Each has a unique story and reason they‘re broken. Kaz has a particularly heartbreaking tale and grief for his brother is woven into his strength and hard exterior. Looking forward to the next one.
A twisty new thriller from Ware, this one is my favorite since her first book. It‘s a modern-day retelling of The Turn of the Screw. Rowan is a nanny is hired to care for two young girls at a remote Scottish home. The house is completely automated leading to more confusion than convenience. There are many cheap scares, but it chilled me. It moves slowly at first, but the tension builds as Rowan loses sleep. She‘s a classic unreliable narrator.
I adored this one! The famous New York Times food critic describes dining experiences that left her in ecstasy or agony. She wore disguises to her meals, easing wigs on to her head and new shrugging on new personalities. Her descriptions make you taste each morsel alongside her. She describes taste and texture, the tiniest notes in each dish along side the bustling streets of the city. Just wonderful!
I‘ve been a Ben Folds fan since junior high. I loved reading about his childhood, time in Nashville, the beginning of Ben Folds Five, and his rise as a solo musician. The memoir is packed with anecdotes and life advice. From immature moments on stage to becoming a parent, he opens up. He doesn‘t pull any punches recognizing his own faults, selfishness, & and struggles. As a fan, I was not disappointed!
My 10 year old kindle (named Argos), broke tonight. I literally cried. I‘m sure sleep deprivation caused by a fussy infant was part of it, but I‘m sad regardless. When my husband got me this kindle for Christmas a decade ago I didn‘t think I even wanted it. But over the years I‘ve loved taking it on trips and using it while nursing in the middle of the night. So here‘s to wine and ice cream making me feel a bit better about losing my old friend.
A quick story, but good. I didn‘t realize until the end that it was based on a real gorilla who was captured in the Congo, raised by a family in their home, and then kept in captivating for years with no other gorillas. The story is told from his point of view. He is an artist and lives with an elephant and little stray dog.
The final book in the series is very short & covers only a brief glimpse into Laura‘s new life with Manly & her daughter Rose. The pacing feels rushed, like she was skimming over their lives. The book feels a bit like an after thought and I almost wish the series had ended with These Happy Golden Years. Apparently it wasn‘t published until 30 years later. Regardless, I‘ve loved reading this series with my daughter and I‘ll miss these stories!
What a wild story! This is a nonfiction account of the rise & fall of Theranos and it‘s going CEO Elizabeth Holmes. From their false claims of successful blood testing with a single finger prick, to her faked deep voice, to the insane working conditions, constant employee turnover, threats, and lawsuits, it‘s almost unbelievable that this company was able to swindle investors out of billions of dollars. It‘s well written and fascinating.
For some reason this series has been hit or miss for me. This one focuses on a sex trafficking ring in a small seaside town. There are so many different threads in the beginning that it‘s hard to follow. I love the dry sense of humor and relatable asides that she sprinkles into the story. This isn‘t the best in the series, but it‘s a solid one. I would highly recommend reading it when you have the time to dive in and enjoy the layered plot.
Last night I got a chance to see Madeleine Miller speak. She was incredible; so clever and engaging. I loved hearing about the research behind both of her books and her thoughts on women in Greek mythology. Her retellings give a voice to those who were cast in stereotypical roles. I can‘t wait to read what she writes next.
Laura is now working as a teacher and making money for her family. It‘s been such a joy to watch her grow up and it‘s hard to believe she‘s a woman now. Almanzo courts her with buggy rides and I loved watching her show her strength and fearless nature as she becomes more comfortable around him. Definitely one of my favorites in the series!
“The last time always seems sad, but it isn‘t really. The end of one thing is only the beginning of another.”
Althea & her husband are sent to jail after stealing from a charity. The fallout affects their twin daughters & Althea‘s 2 sisters Viola & Lillian. The result is a tense novel, a study of women‘s strength & the ripple effect of pain & suffering. The writing keeps a quick pace & pulls the reader into the family drama. I would recommend, though it felt like we only skimmed the surface of character motivations, which kept it from becoming a favorite.
Spanning more than a century, the novel follows a Korean woman living in Japan. Sunja is a fascinating character, full of strength and pride. I loved the first half of the book, but my interest waned as the focus shifted from Sunja. The final quarter of the book didn‘t work as well for me. I felt like the tone shifted and it was a completely different novel. I still loved it, but could have cut the final section.
It‘s Big Little Lies meets the #metoo movement, but without Moriarty‘s skill for character development. I loved the way the book addressed responsibility of women to stand up for each other. The stand out parts were the chorus sections. They were a collective voice talking about women‘s experience in the work place. Sexual harassment was 1 subject addressed, but there were plenty of others. The plot was a bit heavy handed overall, but still good.
The book is fantastic. It‘s hard to believe they weren‘t a real band. It‘s told in snippets of interviews w/each band member & a few additional people. The audiobook is just perfect, one of the best I‘ve listened to. It‘s about addiction, temptation, the choices we make & the fall out that they cause. Billy Dunne, his girlfriend Camila, the wild Daisy, keyboardist Karen, etc., each character is so memorable. Definitely lived up to the hype for me.
A lot of this book focused on Laura‘s time in school. Thanks to Nellie, who moved to town, the teacher hates Laura. Luckily she has sweet friends who stand by her. It‘s important to note that Ma‘s hatred of the Indians and a black face musical show are unfortunate parts of the book. I know that those things were accepted in that time. I‘ve use them to open conversations about prejudice with my kiddo. No matter when it‘s written, it‘s still not ok.
Nora dies in an accident in 1925. After that she magically flickers back to life in NYC and is seen by Joe, a station worker. I adored the descriptions of Grand Central station. It was absolutely a main character within the novel. The plot had some strengths and weakness and lags in the middle, but the historical detail is excellent. There‘s a whole world within the station and the author brought it to life beautifully.
This charming novel follows the story of one woman whose husband dies and so she leaves her Boston home to drive across the country and buy a house in a small Midwestern town. The plot is a bit trite, but I love the writing and the author‘s attention to detail. She describes quiet moments so beautifully.
“When a relationship is so new, everything one says has disproportionate weight and staying power.”
Three old friends, Mickey, Teddy & Lincoln, meet at Martha‘s Vineyard for the first time in years. They were friends in college & all fell in love with the same woman, Jacy.
Russo is an excellent writer, and the book is full of beautiful descriptions, but the characters felt empty to me. The most important fact of their lives was that they had once loved a woman who disappeared. It felt like a weak ode to The Sun Also Rises & I wasn‘t a big fan.
Finally made the salmon salad from Dinner: A Love Story. It was delicious and full of fresh summer veggies. This book is still one of my go-to cookbooks for our family!