Thursday, September 08, 2016

August Reads in Review, 2016

August Reads (links lead to my reviews, if applicable):

61. Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye - Olaf has kept silent about the tragedy he lived through, many years ago. But, now he's very sick. Noah  is eager to find out what exactly happened the night his father's ship sank, killing almost all of the crew; and, finally, his father is willing to talk. Excellent writing. I thought it was pretty funny that the author used a lot of references to Thor when naming characters and the ship - forgot to mention that when I wrote my review.

62. Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton - The original novella, my classic choice for August. I saw the movie as a child and have wanted to read Goodbye, Mr. Chips since I found out there was a book that preceded the movie. A charming story about an elderly teacher reflecting on how he went from being a so-so teacher to one who was popular and entertaining, thanks to the love of a vivacious young woman.

63. The Introvert's Guide to Drinking Alone by Tasha Brandstatter - A smart, snarky guide to drinking cocktails when you'd rather do your drinking alone. Made me want to take up drinking (although, I don't . . . and probably never will).

64. Modern Girls by Jennifer Brown (not pictured) - The tale of two unwanted pregnancies, set on a backdrop of impending war, just before WWII. When both Dottie and her mother Rose find themselves unexpectedly pregnant, Dottie knows her job and future are on the line while Rose simply fears she can't handle another child. Character-driven, not really a "WWII novel" and not quite what I was hoping for.

65. Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans (link leads to F2F Report) - One of my top 5 books in recent years, the story of a con artist who takes in a young evacuee during the Blitz. This was a reread and I loved it even more the second time. Can't recommend it highly enough.

66. If a T-Rex Crashes Your Birthday Party by J. Esbaum and D. Tolstikova - A little boy imagines what would happen if a T. Rex crashed his birthday party. Wonderful, bright, clutter-free illustrations and hilarious text, a total delight.

67. Mary Had a Little Glam by T. Sauer and V. Brantley-Newton - Mimicking the rhythm and rhyme of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," the author describes a little girl who has a distinctive personal style that rubs off on her classmates . . . until it's time to head to the playground. Slightly overwhelming illustrations but a charming storyline.

67. The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan - One of my favorites of the month, intertwining contemporary and historical storylines tell of the search a young adopted woman makes into her personal history using a single photograph as her reference point. The historical portion revolves around an ancestor of hers and the Johnstown Flood. I had a terrible time putting this book down.

68. Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo - Flora is a little girl who claims to be a cynic; Ulysses is a squirrel. When Ulysses is sucked into a vacuum cleaner, Flora rushes to rescue him and hopes he'll develop superpowers. Ulysses begins to write poetry, instead. Kind of uneven - not my favorite DiCamillo - but even the worst writing by DiCamillo is still remarkably entertaining. I might have loved Flora and Ulysses in spite of its minor imperfections if there didn't happen to be yet another evil cat. I'm weary of stories that portray cats in a negative light.

69. 14 Seconds to Hell by Nick Carter - 60s pulp spy fiction about an American spy (Nick Carter - there really is not a named author) and two female Russian agents who must find and destroy an evil Chinese scientist's nuclear weapons. So bad it's good.

70. Kid Artists by D. Stabler and D. Horner - Mini bios of artists as children, with focus on the struggles they had to overcome and the people who supported them.

71. Hey, That's My Monster! by A. Noll and H. McWilliam - The follow-up to I Need My Monster by the same author and artist. Ethan's monster, Gabe, has disappeared from his place under the bed and Ethan desperately needs his monster to help him sleep at night. But, Ethan's little sister refuses to go to bed; so, the monster has gone where he's needed. Clearly, little sis needs a monster of her own to keep her in bed and Ethan must have his monster back. Can Ethan find another monster and convince Gabe to return? Seriously cute (and kind of disgusting). Another absolute delight.

72. A Square Meal by J. Ziegelman and A. Coe - Nonfiction about the way people used to eat, beginning with soldiers returning from WWI, with emphasis on the Great Depression. A tremendously informative book with an extensive bibliography, photos, and recipes.

Clearly, August was a whopping fine month, by comparison with July (only 5 books) and an otherwise wobbly year. I'm excited to be back to reading ravenously and I'm sure the influx of new children's books for review is a major part of that. During the time I was away from the blog and not accepting review books, I was a little stunned to discover that I missed the children's books more than anything. I guess the little kid in me still enjoys a good picture book. I definitely miss reading to small children and wish my grandchild lived closer.

©2016 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. I am glad you are getting your reading mojo back. I hope it continues!

    1. So far, so good! I just finished The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan, last night (and three children's books, the day before). The children's books are definitely a help but I think I'm also just back to having a normal reading brain. Way cool to be back in the swing of things! :)

  2. I really like kids books but so rarely read them. If I had kids or young enough neice a and nephews, I'd read them a lot more.

    1. Cats are an excellent excuse to read children's books. It takes a while for them to become accustomed to it, but I've found that most cats really enjoy being read to. In fact, there are programs at some shelters to encourage children to practice their reading on cats because they enjoy the company. Isn't that cool? Our beloved Miss Spooky particularly enjoyed it when I read to her. I missed reading to her for a long time. Fiona would run away like I was trying to torture her when I read aloud but Isabel doesn't mind. :)

  3. I really need to remember to get a copy of Crooked Heart! It sounds awesome. So does The Woman in the Photo. Time to put together an endcap with my wishlist so I don't forget what I want to read. :) Glad you had a good month. Yikes! It's almost the 15th and I don't think I've finished one single book. :(

    1. Yes, you definitely need to read Crooked Heart. I try to push that one on absolutely everyone, especially WWII fans. The Woman in the Photo is not as skillfullly written, but it's good for the history lesson and the uniqueness of setting. Hopefully, you'll like that one, too. I thought it was wonderful. Thanks! Yeah, hard to believe the month is almost half over. On the plus side, that should mean cool weather is coming, soon. Maybe cooler weather will drive you indoors and you'll read more? I cannot wait till it cools off. Still in the 90s, here, although we briefly dropped down to the 80s. Those were the days. ;)

    2. It was rainy and 55 today. Not sure how long it will last, but it was a nice change!

    3. I'm so sick of summer. D. said the temps in S. Africa are about the same as they are here, but it's "pleasant" because it's so dry. I had to change clothes and shower after running errands because of the heat and humidity. I was drenched.


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