Tuesday, August 02, 2016
July Reads in Review, 2016
July (links lead to Goodreads reviews)
56. The Secret of Raven Point by Jennifer Vanderbes - Juliet dreams of being a scientist. But, when her brother goes missing in Italy during WWII, she trains as a nurse and works to get herself stationed in Italy, hoping to find him. Instead, she finds herself dealing with the horrors of war and conspiring to save a man who may be put to death because of the cruelty of those he fought with. Such a visceral read. I loved this book and will save it for a reread.
57. The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson - When Laura is sent to boarding school, she finds that everything is much more difficult than expected. She wears the wrong clothes, has a widowed mother who has to work for a living, and she's poor. She's also well behind in her studies and has difficulty making friends. Will Laura ever learn how to fit in? The answer is "sorta, kinda but nah." Just when things seem to be going well, everything always crashes down around her. An interesting book (and one of my Australian purchases) but not one I plan to ever reread.
58. In the Winter Dark by Tim Winton - I recommend bopping through the link to read my Goodreads review. This book included cat torture, so you can imagine what a rough time I had with it. And, yet the writing is brilliant. Something is killing animals in a place called the Sink, a rural area where there's a wealthy man, a farmer and his wife, and a young pregnant woman and her boyfriend (who has just left her). They band together to try to stop the killer. But, not everyone will come out alive.
59. The Fireman by Joe Hill - Warning: My Goodreads review contains spoilers. When a fungus called Dragonscale, which can literally cause people to go up in flames, infects much of the population and burns large swathes of land, some of the infected take it upon themselves to start killing the "burners". Harper is a pregnant nurse, infected and in danger. "The Fireman" rescues her and takes her to a camp where people have learned to live with Dragonscale and even use it to their advantage. But, with Cremation Crews anxious to destroy everyone with the disease, how long can they stay in hiding? I liked but didn't love The Fireman; and, in fact, once it got to the gruesome, violent stage, I realized I need to give up Joe Hill. His books are just a little too intense for me. I think he could write an exceptional suspense (would love a scary ghost story lacking violence) if he was willing to forego the graphic violence, but until and unless he writes a book without the gore, I'm done with his writing. I did, however, really enjoy participating in #FiremanAlong on Twitter!
60. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - I think everyone I know has read this book about Juliet, a young writer struggling to find subject matter for her next book after WWII ends and finding not only the subject but friendship from the many people of Guernsey in the Channel Islands, who write to her to share their personal stories. A wonderful book, the kind you clutch to your chest with happy tears in your eyes. I will definitely reread this one.
Only five books! So, not a great month, but that was expected. In fact, I only took two books with me on vacation: Gone With the Wind because I figured I would probably have little reading time so I might as well focus on a chunkster, and The Secret of Raven Point for times when I needed a break from GWTW.
As it turned out, my copy of GWTW started to fall apart when I hit about p. 100 and by p. 150, pieces were literally chipping off and falling into my hands. The book is old, but I didn't expect it to crumble! I decided I'd better set it aside, at that point, and I do plan to buy a new copy, soon. That was when I read The Secret of Raven Point. After I finished Raven Point, I went out looking for reading material at Abbey's Bookshop in Sydney and that is, in fact, where I made all of my book purchases. But, at first I just bought The Getting of Wisdom. As I neared the end, I bought the rest of the classics that came home with me and read the Tim Winton mostly on the first flight (the final few pages took days for my jetlagged self to get through -- the return trip is a beast).
So, while it was a low-volume month, it was totally expected. Including travel time, we were gone for two weeks and we fell into bed exhausted, each night. We meant to enjoy every minute of our time there and reading was, for once, a secondary activity. I'm okay with that. But, I do hope August will be an improvement, reading-wise. The scenery (mostly my front yard) will definitely not be as much of a thrill.
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