Monday, July 25, 2016

It's Monday 7/25! What Are You Reading?

Whew - super hot, busy week! Working hard to help my youngest son get ready for college - we started dorm shopping last week. It's great to see him so excited! Oldest son came home from college and was sick all weekend - yet another bout of bronchitis thanks to his immune disorder. And Saturday was my 51st birthday! We went out to dinner Friday night with all of us, plus my father-in-law and then enjoyed a fun, lazy day at home Saturday (my son and his girlfriend made crepes for breakfast!), piles of lovely and creative gifts, and a graduation party for good friends Saturday night. It was a very good birthday weekend for me, and I loved having all of us together (a rarity these day) but was sorry it was due to my oldest being so sick. He just left for class and his apartment. Hopefully, the antibiotics are doing their thing, and he will feel better soon.

So, yes, a very busy but fun week! And, of course, we enjoyed our books, too:
  • I finished reading Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson for my online family book group. I had never read this award-winning novel before, though I saw the movie adaptation years ago. It's a very descriptive novel about a Japanese-American man accused of murder in the years after the Japanese Internment and the events leading up to that time. It takes place on an island off the coast of Washington, and the setting is vividly described, almost like another character in the story. I enjoyed it, but it is a dense book that took longer to finish than I expected. The prejudices against the Japanese-Americans in the 40's and 50's felt eerily parallel to what we see happening with Muslim-Americans today - blaming an entire class of people for the crimes of a few. Scary.
  • I am now reading a review book for Publishers Weekly, Isra Isle by Nava Semel. It's (in part) an alternative history, based on a historical fact. In 1825, a Jewish man named Mordecai Noah bought Grand Island, NY (a bit of land just south of Niagara Falls) from the Native Americans. He wanted to start a Jewish state...but no one came, and his plan fizzled out. This novel imagines what would have happened if it had worked, and Jews had had a safe haven way back then. It's interesting so far, though a bit confusing at times. I grew up in Rochester, NY, and often visited Grand Island - its real-life history includes an amusement park called Fantasy Island! - so it's especially intriguing to me.
  • I finished listening to The Secret Language of Sisters by Luanne Rice, a teen/YA novel about one of two sisters who is paralyzed in a car crash and has locked-in syndrome. It was very good and engrossing. My 18-year old cousin enjoyed it, too, and we are both determined never to text and drive or text someone else who is driving!
  •  I am now listening to The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork, another teen/YA novel about a serious topic. It's about a teen girl who tries to commit suicide and her slow, difficult journey of healing and recovery. I've just started it, but it is already especially poignant to me because a young person close to me has been suicidal.
  • My husband, Ken, finished The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, a book I enjoyed for book group last year (my review at the link) and heard the author speak for our library's All-County Reads program this spring. He enjoyed it - it was one of his goals this year to read it.
  • I think Ken just started Shift by Hugh Howey, book 2 in the Wool series. He and I both LOVED Wool (review at the link), which several friends had said, "you must read!" They were right! I gave Ken the second book for Father's Day, and I can't wait to read it, too!
  • Jamie, 21, read Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima, book 1 in the Shattered Realms series. He loved Chima's Seven Realms series, and this one is set in the same world. 
  • Now, he is re-reading Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings, book 1 in the Stormlight Archive so that he can next read book 2, Words of Radiance. The first one is 1200 pages long, and the second one is 1300 pages, so he is definitely in the Big Book Summer groove!
Blog posts from last week:
Movie Monday: Room - movie adaptation of one of my favorite books!

TV Tuesday: BrainDead - political satire + sci fi = you have to see it for yourself! Hilarious!

My Summary of Books Read in June - a good reading month for me!

Nonfiction Review: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo - a riveting, unforgettable book

Saturday Snapshot: Shenandoah National Park, Part 2 - rocky trail & great views!

What are you and your family reading this week?    

What Are You Reading Monday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date, so head over and check out her blog and join the Monday fun! You can also participate in a kid/teen/YA version hosted by Unleashing Readers.


There is still plenty of time to join the Big Book Summer Reading Challenge - seven weeks of summer left! Just click the link to read the rules - super-easy for summer! You only need to read one "big book" (400 pages or more) before September to participate. Join the fun, choose your Big Book(s) & sign up today!



16 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, Sue! It sounds like you had a lovely celebration.

    Isra Isle sounds really interesting. It reminds me a bit of The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon. Have you read that one?

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    1. Thanks, Lindsey! I haven't read that one, but there are comparisons to it on the blurbs on the back cover so I think you are on the right track!

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  2. I am always amazed at how often my daughter rereads books and it seems like your boys do the same thing. So many good books and they choose books they have read before. My daughter goes to far as to get mad at me if I don't reread a book rather than ask her a question about the action. Ha! Happy Belated Birthday. I read Snow Falling on Cedars many years a go and liked it but I think you are right about the length and the plodding nature of it. Could it have been shortened? Don't know.

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    1. I don't know if it should have been shortened. I think it's just the author's way of telling a story - lots of description and lots of flashing back to tell a character's backstory. It made it longer, yes, but also gave it more depth.

      Yes, my son is the same! He'll re-read an entire series before reading the latest book, even if they are each 1000+ pages!

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  3. The Memory of Light sounds like something I'd be interested in. Do you find it melodramatic? I LOVED The Reconstruction of Amelia.

    https://therealityofeverythingsite.wordpress.com/2016/07/25/imwayr-72516/

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    1. Not at all melodramatic, Amye. Have you read any of Stork's other YA novels? He writes about difficult topics in a very straightforward, honest way. In fact, I keep thinking about my loved one who is suicidal and thinking that maybe she would really like this book and maybe feel understood by it. I've been wanting to read The Reconstruction of Amelia for ages!

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  4. Happy belated birthday!!!
    I haven't read that Stork book, but I have heard great things about it. I'll be interested in hearing your final thoughts on it.

    Happy reading this week :)

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    1. It's excellent and absolutely riveting so far, Kellee - gave in & stuck my earbuds in while making breakfast this morning! Hard to set it down.

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  5. Isra Isle sounds fascinating! Alternative History can be tricky, but it is fantastic when it works.

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    1. It is fascinating so far - a bit confusing at times but I'm getting used to the author's unusual approach.

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  6. Glad you enjoyed such a great family weekend and your birthday - lots of nice creative gifts sounds perfect!

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn! It was a nice birthday.

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  7. College shopping is always fun. My son is just starting his senior year, so another milestone passes. You've heard this before, I'm sure, but the four years a kid is in school really whiz by!

    I really enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars--never saw the movie, but the book was so detailed with lovely, poignant writing, that I felt that I really didn't need to.

    I really want to read The Boys in the Boat too!

    Happy birthday--the 50s are a great decade :)

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    1. Thanks, Jane! It's good so far!

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  8. Isra Isle sounds interesting. I loved Snow Falling on Cedars. Happy Reading!

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    1. It is interesting so far, Heather!

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