Friday, July 01, 2016

June Reads in Review, 2016

I'll bet you weren't so sure I'd really return to do those end of month wrap-ups, right? Well, I'm still here, just not on Facebook or blogging regularly. I'm enjoying my time off but sometimes realize that I do, in fact, really miss blogging. There are moments that I think, "I want to write about this!" and have to stop myself. If I hadn't made myself a promise to stay away and force a reevaluation of how I spend my time, I'd be happily plugging away. But, I do think the break has been a good thing, so far, and still plan to eventually return. I hope you're all having a wonderful summer!

June reads (Links to reviews written during my blog break lead to Goodreads):

47. The Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler - When an elderly woman meets a teenager who expresses interest in her life story, she begins to reveal the secrets of her past and discovers new hope for her remaining years. Absolutely loved this book.

48. Lonely Planet Australian Language and Culture - A fun guide to all things Australian, a little heavy on the information about indigenous people but otherwise fascinating and entertaining.

49. How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu - A very strange book that takes place in a science fictional universe but is really about a young man's yearning for his father. Bizarre but ultimately satisfying.

50. My Brother Jack by George Johnston - The story of two Australian brothers who support each other through the ups and downs of life. WWII serves as the point at which they become aware of their lost hopes and truly learn how much they mean to each other. Dense but excellent reading. I was expecting a WWII story, not a fictionalized life story but it didn't matter.

51. Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe: The Little Sister - Illus. by Michael Lark - A graphic novel version of Raymond Chandler's novel, told using Chandler's words and nicely illustrated. Confirmation that Chandler is not for me but I appreciated the clarity of the artwork.

52. Ah-Choo by L.W. Koehler, G. G. Adams, and K. Min - A young boy wants a pet but every time he brings a new animal home his sister sneezes, until he brings home a bearded dragon. Loads of fun for read-aloud.

53. All of Us and Everything by Bridget Asher - When Augusta Rockwell, her three daughters, and granddaughter all gather together after Hurricane Sandy washes away everything in the bottom of their ancestral home, they learn to work out their differences while exposing long-held secrets and let-downs by the men in their lives, opening up new hope and forming unexpected bonds. By far one of my favorite recent reads entirely peopled by female protagonists.

54. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley - When a private jet crashes 18 minutes into a flight from Martha's Vineyard with only 2 survivors, painter Scott Burroughs becomes an unexpected hero. What happened to lead up to the crash of the plane and what will happen to Scott when every aspect of his life comes into question? A gripping read. I goofed off and read all day; didn't want to put the book down.

55. The Secret River by Kate Grenville - (full review at Goodreads is hidden due to spoilers) Beginning with William Thornhill's childhood, the story of Will and wife Sal as they work hard, fall on hard times, are transported to Australia, and eventually become land owners. A raw, sad work of historical fiction, gorgeously written but brutal.

This was really a great month. Although I'm still reading slowly, there were a lot of gems in this lot. Favorites were The Secrets of Flight, My Brother Jack, All of Us and Everything, Before the Fall, and The Secret River -- a nice hodge-podge of historical and contemporary. I loved the only children's book I read, Ah-Choo, and enjoyed learning about Australian culture in the Lonely Planet book. I liked How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe for its uniqueness, although it lost me at times. The only book I didn't like or love was The Little Sister. Although the artwork was great, I'm not sure how I ended up with it. At some point in the past I discovered that I adore Dashiell Hammett but I can't bear Raymond Chandler and, sure enough, I just didn't like it. But, I finished it, anyway. It was short.

This month, I'm continuing to take time off from the computer because my physical therapist says I'm messing up my neck by looking down at my laptop. So, I'm going to avoid pretty much everything but Goodreads and Twitter (also will just be dropping in occasionally at Twitter). I'm planning to participate in #FiremanAlong, a read-along of Joe Hill's latest novel, The Fireman. Otherwise, I have no specific reading plans. Hope you're enjoying your summer!

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