Lately, I ‘ve had the treat of spending a little more time reading than normal, and here’s my list from the last few months. If you’re looking for a book or two for the rest of the summer, be sure to grab one of these.
10 years in the making, this novel is stunning. It was hard to put down, as the story jumps chapter by chapter between the two main characters’ compelling story-lines. A blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide as they try to survive WWII. Get on a waiting list at your library for this book – winner of the Pulitzer Prize, asap.
Two English girls – one a pilot, the other a spy – are shot down over occupied France in WWII. The book is the spy’s confession to her Gestapo captors, and it is also one of those books that is impossible to put down. The historical fiction is woven with subterfuge, desperation, and humanity. (Plus, it is a series so I just picked up the sequel.) Two thumbs up.
I had put off reading this spin-off of Jane Austen’s Pride and Predjudice, simply because I couldn’t handle a book ruining one of my all-time favorite books. BUT. On a whim, I grabbed it at the library, and I’m happy to say the book stands on its own completely. While it stays true to Austen’s timeline and dialogue, the story of the servants below stairs uncovers a class with its own drama, heartache, and dreams. Ms. Baker also adds historical context that I hadn’t studied before, which only adds to the reason to read her book in addition to the enduring classic.
Having read several of Shauna Niequist’s books, I knew I loved her writing style – a collection of essays, weaving food, faith, and family together. She writes as one friend to another. For some reason, Bittersweet has sat on my shelf for a year and a half before I decided to pick it up. And this just happened to be the perfect time to read this particular book – it’s all about change, and our family is seeing a lot of that this spring. I could have underlined almost every line she wrote, because my heart was saying “Me, too!” If you’re struggling with change or bitter parts of life, read this book. If you’re in a sweet season, bookmark this one for later in life when a hard season comes. It’s like a balm for your heart.
On our recent trip to my family’s lake cottage, I stocked up on books to read by the pool or on the hammock. Luckily, these were all winners! For my husband, I grabbed Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free by Hector Tobar, a riveting in-depth tale of a harrowing news story I remembered from a few years ago. I’m reading it now, and it is gripping.
Having read all 6 of Jane Austen’s novels, I am always hesitant to read any spin-offs for fear they will ruin the books I love. However, this memoir from a man’s perspective actually did the opposite. Each chapter is based on a novel, and follows the same pattern – detailing a problem of Deresiewicz’s (like an overbearing father or a failing love relationship or a lack of compassion), a brief summary of the plot of Austen’s novel, a history of the Austen’s time and why she was a revolutionary writer, and then how Deresiewicz grew up and faced his problem. Having read his book, I feel like a just took a literature college course about Jane Austen and her books are now richer because I understand them better. (p.s. Deresiewicz is an Austen scholar and professor, who wrote his dissertation based on these books.)
Next I read Wildwood by Colin Meloy. This young adult fantasy adventure was similar to Narnia, and a fun read. The writing and vocabulary is really good, especially for a YA book. It is a series, with 3 books so far.
Finally, I checked out two books from Liane Moriarty. I have loved all the novels this Australian author has written, her most famous being What Alice Forgot. Each book seems to have such insight in to the female mind, and I always find myself drawn to the characters. It is hard to put her books down because you can never tell how they will end. So, I grabbed two of her earlier novels – Three Wishes and The Hypnotist’s Love Story. If you need a good novel, a Moriarty book is my go-to.
So, what have you been reading lately, friends? I’d love to hear!