Summer’s Great Reads
As you know I’m a reading fanatic. I love buying books - yes the old school way! I set my goals on Goodreads every year and this year my goal is 24 books and I can hardly believe I’m four books behind! I know I have mentioned before that my favorite past time is floating in the pool with a good book and a cold beer. Well here are a few I indulged with over the summer.
When I finished this book I was like - Wow. This book had so much going on - love, loss, war, books, friendship, suffering, prejudice, faith - and it’s written with such creativity that all these themes weave into each other beautifully. The main character, a young girl, has seen more tragedy by the age of 9 than most do in a lifetime. The story in narrated by what appears to be God or an assistant thereof. So good. Beautiful.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (no not that Shades of Gray)
The irony of picking this book up after The Book Thief could have not been planned. This book is about Stalin and his ethnic cleansing monstrosities in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Finland. I could not put this book down, starting and finishing it over a weekend. This story was also about a young girl who saw things I can’t even imagine - as the Russians shipped train cars full of refugees, who included her mother and brother, to places like Siberia only to watch those around her die. America essentially stood by and watched, siding with the wrong team. Thought provoking stuff …
I have had this book on my shelf for a long time. I procrastinated because I thought Jennifer Egan was similar to Jennifer Weiner or Jodi Pocult and I’m annoyed by their generic and predictable writing. But THIS book was excellent. The characters were rich in depth and they all collided in the end. There were about five different story lines - all of which were page turners. The main characters - the Charlottes - were perfectly written and oh the “things” they shared. I loved this book!
This next book is one on my list which I have not read yet. A friend from my hometown and faithful blog follower read it and gave us a review. Thanks Dawn!
Ever fantasizing about selling all my stuff and hitting the road with nothing but the clothes on my back, I think I was looking to get some gumption to do that from this book. The author did a pretty balanced job of portraying Suelo’s life and the evolution of his thought process about his lifestyle, though it was not without the occasional romanticizing. Suelo is/was definitely an interesting subject, what with his ultra-conservative religious upbringing and his rather stunted coming-out as a homosexual as background to his chosen lifestyle which includes living in caves, dumpster diving and volunteering at a women’s domestic abuse shelter, where they call him the Homeless Homeless Coordinator. While some see the homeless and freegans as parasitical, this portrayal demonstrated that at least one in its ranks is giving way more than he is taking. And it’s not as though he is or imagines himself to be some prophet or bodhisattva; he struggles emotionally and philosophically with many of his choices and actions like the rest of us, even admitting that he might have chosen his lifestyle to avoid the vagaries of love and intimacy. Very thought-provoking stuff. I’ll definitely read this again.
Next weekend back to NYC. I can’t wait for the cool weather.
The 100 degree weather that is NOT fall-ish makes me want to put a fork in my eye.
"I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be." Diane von Furstenberg