Summer Reading

I have a friend who can read multiple books at one time.

I can’t do that.

Now, I am darn good at multitasking…

Bake a cake

Throw in a load of laundry

Run these leftover veggie scraps to the barnyard

Reading multiple novels at the same time…I can’t keep different stories from different authors clear in my brain.

There’s not one book in the living room and one in the bedroom and one in the car.

Nope, it’s one book at a time for this gal.

One book that sits on my bedside table next to my deodorant, alarm clock, and my lip gloss.

This is what I’ve read in the last few months and I’ve included some things that I would like to read eventually…

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I have a few chapters left in this book.  It’s a true story about a boy kidnapped in India and adopted by an American couple.  I really like true stories/historical fiction and this book caught my attention sitting on a shelf at the library.  I thought it was the story behind the movie Lion with Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel that was out last year (which I didn’t see, but really want to!) and so I was intrigued.  It’s not that story, but it’s really good.  Can’t put it down (I usually read at night before going to sleep and this has had me up past my normal bedtime!) and it seems that maybe adoptions like this aren’t that uncommon in India?

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This book is written by a South American author about a woman from Poland and her longtime love who is Japanese.  Three different ideals wrapped up beautifully together makes this novel hard to put down.  There are different time eras that the author moves through to tell her story.  The ending really put a smile on my face.

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I grabbed this book at the library because the cover intrigued me.  I do that often.  I see a cover that catches my eye, I read the synopsis on the inside cover, and then read the first line in the novel.  If nothing bores me…I take it home.  This book looked fun and suspenseful and reminded me of “The Girl On The Train” and “Gone Girl.”  It was okay.  There’s a girl.  And she gets on a boat.  And she drinks too much.  And she has a boyfriend who is not on the boat.  And there’s a mystery.  The ending didn’t really do it for me.  Seemed rushed.  But I would try reading her other novel that’s mentioned on the cover “In A Dark, Dark Wood.”

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This was a really fun book.  I had just watched a PBS program, a historical drama, about the Bronte sisters and this novel was about the last remaining ancestors of the Brontes and the struggles they have.  There is love and mystery and history in this story.  All of my favorite things.  I really enjoyed this book.

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I’ve read several Alice Hoffman novels.  She definitely has a way of pulling you into her words and making you want more.  This was not one of my favorites that I’ve read, but I wanted to see what would happen at the end.  Two friends.  A tragedy.  Overcoming loss.  Love (of course) and redemption.

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I REALLY liked this one.  It’s by a Korean author and it translated beautifully into a story that anyone can relate to.  It’s a generational story of a family that travels through time to tell a loving story about our relationships that we have with one another.  Mother/child bonds run deep.  And they can be confusing.  This is one of those novels that reminds me that families, no matter where you are on this planet, are all the same.

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Every once in a while I like to read a book about real life.  Non-fiction.  I am very anti-gun.  I don’t like guns.  We don’t own guns.  I think America is way too obsessed with these things that serve absolutely no other purpose than to kill someone, be it animal or human being.  This book written beautifully by Gary Younge (the man can write!) is a journal, written by a great journalist, about ten random lives cut down in America by a gun shot.  All of the children (all under the age of 18) are remembered with love by their families and it proved to me (once again) that bullets don’t care about their target.  They serve but one purpose.  And they do their job very well.

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I’ve read many of Barbara Kingsolver’s fiction novels.  I have had this book in my home library for years.  I tried reading it before, but for some reason it didn’t do IT for me.  I tried it again and this time, it did IT for me.  IT being it made me think…could I do this?  Could I live only off of what we could grow in a single year?  Could I only eat locally and could I make more food from scratch instead of buying pre-made things?  I don’t think I could do all of it, but I already do some of this.  I try to make desserts and bread myself.  I am not very good at gardening, but man-oh-man, do I wish I had a greener thumb.  This book is so full of rich detail about where the author and her family live and what they grow and how they eat it…that alone was worth reading about.

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This book was quite different.  I did enjoy it, but you must be in the right state of mind to get through it.  It’s dark and thoughtful and did I mention that it was dark?  It’s set in Asia and…side-note coming…I really enjoy reading books about Asian women written by Asian authors.  I have no idea why.  I don’t have a desire to visit Asia.  I have never wanted to travel to China or Japan or Korea.  I don’t have an insatiable desire to learn about Vietnam or Laos.  But, there’s something that I find really, really interesting about women from these countries.  Women from decades past and present day Asia.  I am a really big fan of Amy Tam and all that she writes.  I think that’s where my love for reading about this part of the world through a woman’s eyes began.  Okay, side-note over…it has an ethereal feeling about it even though the subject matter is deep and foreboding.  Yet there’s such a strong sense of togetherness and family that I couldn’t tear myself away.

On my TO READ list, I have two fiction and two non-fiction to share with you…

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The words on the cover intrigued me enough to put this on my to-read list on Goodreads..  The synopsis that I read says that if you are a fan of Liane Moriarty (Big, Little, Lies and The Husband’s Secret) then you will like this.  Well, I am a fan of hers and the story looks pretty suspenseful.  This line hooked me…”for a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price.”

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This novel is about Paris.  I love Paris.  I love all things French.  I am a true Francophile.  Man-Farmer and I went to Paris for a week before we were parents and before he was labeled Man-Farmer.  We both fell in love with the city and hope to one day go there with our children.  I won’t pass up a book about a Parisian.  This one line from Goodreads says it all for me…

“Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved.”

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I heard about this book from National Public Radio.  It’s the true story of women who were working with the new “wonder” substance radium during World War I.  The women were told that the radium that they were painting onto watch faces, so that the dials would glow, was perfectly safe.  They began to glow as brightly as the watches they were working on.  And they also started getting ill.  Historical books like this always interest me.  The struggles and the deception that people pull over on one another all in the name of “advancements” for society…the women who suffer the most are the most inspiring.  The women who stand up against the injustice for the mighty dollar.  This is going to be both a sad and a powerful book.

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I read a book a few years ago about a man who had escaped from North Korea and made it to the United States.  Fascinating.  There’s no other word to use than Fascinating to describe what he said about life in North Korea.  It’s such a secluded place that none of us really know anything about.  The brainwashing that goes on and the innate will needed to survive.  This book is told through the eyes of 6 ordinary citizens living with the extreme conditions that Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-Il push down onto them.  I’m always fascinated that people can “live” through this kind of thing.  Their hope outshines all.

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