What I’ve Been Reading Lately: July 2018

This has been a pretty great reading month for me! Seven books finished and partway through a few more.  What have you been reading lately?

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I have been hearing about this book for a while and finally got my hands (or, rather, my ears) on it.  It was different than I was expecting.  In my mind it was going to be more like Roots (which I loved):an epic, multi-generational story. It wasn’t like that at all, really, but I still enjoyed it.  It is about a Nigerian woman named Ifemelu, and her experience immigrating to America.  It covers a lot of racial issues and gave me so much to think about.  One of my favorite excerpts is a list near the end of the book of ways you might know that you’ve have racial privilege.  Several of the items from that list gave me pause and I’ve found myself thinking about them long after finishing the book.

To be honest, I’m struggling with the ending.  I don’t want to include any spoilers here, but I’m dying to talk to someone else who has read this book so I can hear your thoughts about how it ended.  Are you satisfied? Do you wish it had been different?

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

How did I go this long without realizing that The Giver is a four book series?  My 13 year old daughter has read all the books, and she recommended that I start Gathering Blue when I was in a bit of a reading slump a couple weeks ago.  When I think of this book, I literally have the urge to place a hand over my heart and sigh.  Love.  Sweet, heroic characters, a simply told story that draws you in immediately.  It’s just so good. Plus, as an embroidery pattern designer, I love the embroidery element 🙂

While this seems like a completely different world, I’ve been told that the story of Jonas comes into play in the later books and that the Fourth book, Son, makes clear how all the stories are intertwined.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Continuing on with my Alaska obsession…The Great Alone was absolutely enthralling.  It’s a pretty hefty book, but I felt like it moved quickly. I don’t want to give away too much, but if domestic violence is a trigger for you, you may want to steer clear. I loved the characters, loved the descriptions of living in Alaska, the writing is delightful. I was sad when it ended.

Messenger by Lois Lowry

I typically try to space out books in a series that I’m enjoying. So I wasn’t planning to read Messenger so soon after Gathering Blue, but I couldn’t help it. ( I learned on my Instagram stories that most people do not agree with this.  Generally everyone polled reads straight through a good series.  What about you?)

I read this book in just one day.  It’s short, so that may not seem like much of an accomplishment to many of you, but my reading time is pretty minimal these days so I’m pretty happy with that. This is the continuation of The Giver series and while it may seem like the books are unrelated, we do catch a glimpse of other characters from the first two books.  I loved it.

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller

I come from a family of readers.  Often when we get together we talk about books.  Every once in a while one of my sisters or a parent will text out a “you have to read this!” message in our family group text.  It’s very rare that we boss each other around when it comes to books, but one day my sister texted me “I’m partway through a book that you need to move to the top of your list.”  With a recommendation like that I knew it had to be fantastic.  And it was.  
Caroline is a retelling of the Little House on the Prairie book from Ma’s perspective.  It’s sweet and inspiring and romantic.  I loved the little peek behind the curtain we receive into Ma’s never-ending patience.  It’s like the moment in Little Women when we learn that Marmie has a temper. Also, there are some scenes that are much steamier than we read in Little House. 😉

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

I read this aloud to my older kiddos.  Guys, I’ve said it before (and I got in trouble for it) but I just don’t love this book.  I am a Madeline L’Engle fan.  I love her memoirs and the Meet the Austins series.  But  A Wrinkle in Time is just not my favorite. We read it because the rule in our house is “book before movie” and the kids enjoyed it and they are looking forward to seeing the movie now.  I was hoping that as I re-read this book that I would love it.  But nope.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

This book broke my heart. It’s told by four narrators which took me a little while to get used to, but as I got to know the characters it wasn’t an issue. Based on an actual event that took place during WWII, which I had never even heard of, but with fictional characters.  I’m struggling to know what to say about this book. I only finished it yesterday, so I still don’t quite have the words to describe how powerful it was. Loved it.

Head to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more Quicklit Reviews. 

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