What I’ve Been Reading Lately: August 2019
August has been a crazy busy month for us. Between soccer tournaments (aka lots of driving), starting a new school routine (our kids are going one day a week to on-site classes), and a new very-part-time job for me (teaching art at the charter school) it felt like a really slow reading month for me.
I still managed to finish 8 books, which keeps me on track to read 100 this year (my slightly outlandish goal).
This non-fiction look behind the curtain into life in North Korea is haunting. The poverty and starvation, the complete subjection to cruel and power-hungry dictators has completely stunted the nation. It was a fascinating book, but I found that I was reading it slowly because the subject matter is just so sad.
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson
I adore pretty much anything written by Bill Bryson. This in-depth study of one incredible summer in American history was no exception. His understated humor doesn’t shine quite as bright as in his more personal memoirs, but the stories he relates are gripping and the book never lagged for a second. The audiobook is extra delightful because it is read by the author. I found his accent, a mixture between Iowan and British, lovely.
I am a big fan of a great fairytale retelling. This book was fantastic! It’s a new take on the Beauty and the Beast story and it sucked me in completely. I don’t want to say too much! Just read it.
We listened to this in the car over the past few weeks. A fun twist on the genie in a magic lamp story, with a strong female protagonist. She’s hot tempered and funny and we all enjoyed the book quite a bit.
I’m way behind the times on this one; it took me a long time to get it from the library. Loved the writing style and the rich characters and setting. There were a couple of scenes that were too much for my prudish self, but overall I enjoyed every moment of this story. It’s immersive and I can see why it’s received so much hype.
Set during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, this gripping family story is beautifully written and heartbreakingly sad. I loved it. It switches back and forth between the viewpoints of three sisters and their mother, and I almost always enjoy books written from multiple persepectives. It’s also about family, loss, loyalty and love. I’ll definitely be reading more by this author.
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
A silly, but always fun classic read aloud. My five year old was begging to read the second book next before we even finished the first one.
For obvious reasons, race is an important part of our family life (for those who may not know, our two boys are adopted, one is Hispanic and the other is Black). I have found myself gravitating toward books about race and racism frequently over the years. This book was completely eye opening for me. I feel like every white person on the planet should read it, and especially those who (like myself) consider yourself progressive and open minded when it comes to race. It gave me so much to think about, so much to act upon.