Tuesday, October 04, 2016
September Reads in Review, 2016
73. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett - When two couples divorce and a new marriage blends their families, the consequences reverberate throughout the lives of their children. I found this book difficult to put down.
74. Maybe a Fox by K. Appelt and A. McGhee - A young girl goes missing and her sister knows she's likely dead. But, what is the meaning of the strange appearance of a fox? The saddest book I've read in ages. I'm not sure of the age range but I think it's a middle reader. I would not hand it to my child (if I had one in the right age range), although the writing is very good.
75. Where Do Pants Go? by R. Van Slyke and C. Robinson - A picture book about dressing yourself that is so repetitive that I drifted off, both times I read it.
76. Even Superheroes Have Bad Days by S. Becker and E. Kaban - A picture book about the fact that life is not perfect for anyone.
77. Leaping Lemmings by J. Briggs and N. Slater - Adorable picture book about being an individual rather than following the pack (and, of course, leaping off a cliff with them). Love this one. The illustrations are super cute.
78. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan - Libraries are being closed and the heroine, a librarian, is about to lose her job. While salvaging as much of the library's stock as she can manage, she comes up with a brilliant solution to her job and landlord problem: buy a van and sell her books from the van. A charming book about love of books, life, and Scotland.
79. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote - My classic selection for the month of September. I couldn't get through the movie, years ago, but the prose is dazzling and now that I understand Holly Golightly's character, I plan to give the movie a second go.
80. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders - In a world of not-quite-humans, there are two countries called Inner Horner and Outer Horner. The Outer Hornerites own most of the land. When Inner Horner begins to shrink and half of the one resident who can fit falls out of the country, one power-hungry Outer Hornerite declares war. I'm assuming this is an allegory. It's hilarious and shockingly spot-on about how easy it is to overlook the obvious solution and blindly follow the loudest voice.
81. Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio and Will Staehle - Warren is a hardworking kid with an uncle who is lazy and an aunt who is tearing the hotel they live in apart in search of the All-Seeing Eye, which may or may not exist. And, Warren is the only one who can save the day. I stayed up late finishing and got a book hangover reading this one.
82. Wonder Women by Sam Maggs - A book full of short bios of amazing women who didn't let the patriarchy stop them from accomplishing great deeds and why most of them have fallen into obscurity.
83. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin - My F2F group's September selection, a book about an Irish woman who is offered an opportunity to live and work in the United States, takes the job and finds a devoted man. But, when tragedy calls her home, will she stay or will she return? Does she really love him?
84. Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis - The memoir of a young woman who was raped on her second night of college and eventually left school to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, to figure out how to salvage her future.
85. Good Taste: Simple, Delicious Recipes for Family and Friends by Jane Green - A cookbook written by the British novelist Jane Green, who grew up in a family that entertained and is happiest when sharing simple but delicious food with friends and family. Everything sounds good -- and I do mean everything. Will cook from this one, soon.
Clearly, September was my Comeback Month, after a half year of blah reading and weeks during which I haven't felt like reading at all. My absolute favorite titles were Commonwealth, Leaping Lemmings, The Bookshop on the Corner, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil (a novella), Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye, Brooklyn, and Good Taste.
I liked Wonder Women a lot and feel like it's the kind of book that every child should read - to correct a history that favors males, empower girls, and clarify that any human can be great, but the modern style was a little off-putting (probably because I'm older). And, I liked Even Superheroes Have Bad Days although it wasn't quite what I expected.
If any books were a waste of time, they'd have to be Girl in the Woods and Where Do Pants Go? Girl in the Woods serves a purpose (showing the difference between rape and consensual sex), but it was so wordy and the author was so messed up that it became a bit tiresome, yet I stuck it out because I wanted to know what happened, in the end. It turned out the ending was about the worst part of the book. I think the author decided to experiment with style and it just didn't work; it became confusing and convoluted. I don't regret reading Girl in the Woods, in spite of all that. Where Do Pants Go? is one that baffles me. How can a children's picture book almost put you to sleep? But, it does and it did, twice. I won't review it beyond the summary on this page because that would just be mean.
Unexpected bonus shot of Izzy with my September stack:
While she didn't appreciate the interruption of her nap, I certainly approve of Isabel's decision to hang out near my stack, enabling me to sneak in and snap a few shots.
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