25 July 2016

6 Books to Read This Summer (the 24in48 Edition)

This past weekend was the 24in48 Readathon (try to devote 24 hours to reading over the course of two days). I didn't track my reading stats, but I think I read about 8 hours a day over the weekend. I'm still (and ever) in the middle a few books, but here's what I finished.

6 Books to Read this SummerDave Goulson studies bees for a living--he's a biologist--and has a fascination with the natural world, from the smallest bugs to the largest mammals. In his second book, A Buzz in the Meadow, he invites us to the French countryside where he and his family have restored a rundown farm with the goal of providing a rich environment to a variety of plants wildlife. I love his intimate, conversational style and enjoyed seeing the farm from his point of view. More important, I liked learning about how easy it is to become a steward, protecting the often-forgotten species of insects and plants that inhabit our planet. (Picador, May 2016--paperback edition)

6 Books to Read this SummerFaith Erin Hicks's Nameless City is the first in a new graphic novel / comics series that stars an unlikely couple: a well-off young boy who has been sent to the city to become a warrior, although his true love is books, and a homeless girl who knows how to negotiate the city and who is tough, smart, and resourceful. The story has a medieval Asian feel and involves politics, class differences, and the winds of war. The story hints at a deep past and a changing future and sets the stage for the rest of the series.The artwork is engaging, and its earthy colors resonate with me. You can easily get a feel for the action and the facial expressions are clear, and full of emotion. (First Second, April 2016)

6 Books to Read this SummerI've been curious about Mona Awad's 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl not only because it won several awards but also because it received glowing praise from readers and bloggers. Perhaps I simply wasn't in the mood, but I had only a so-so reaction. There are certainly some emotionally intense and painful moments in the book as Elizabeth matures from teen to adult and struggles with her self-image and her relationships--with her mother, other women/girls, men/boys, store clerks, and others. In the end, though, I wanted something more, although I couldn't tell you what the more might be. It's a quick read and may resonate more deeply with you than it did with me. (Penguin Books, February 2016)

6 Books to Read this SummerAs many of you know, I love books in verse, so Sharon Creech's Moo was on my list. The story follows a young family that decides on a whim to move to Maine and start over when the parents lose their jobs after the big-city (New York?) newspaper they work for downsizes. The contrasts between city and country life are exemplified in how Reena and her little brother adjust to the freedom of being able to roam around outside without an adult. After their parents volunteer them to help an elderly woman take care of her cow, the siblings learn the less romantic side of rural living. Zora the cow has a mind of her own! I laughed out loud and I shed a few tears and I absolutely loved this book. ((HaperCollins, August 2016; Middle Grade)

6 Books to Read this SummerOver the weekend I decided to read a short story or two in between the bigger books and picked Bonnie Jo Campbell's Mothers, Tell Your Daughters to do the job. I haven't finished the collection, but the stories I've read so far are emotionally strong and revolve around women in tough situations and tough relationships: marriage, sex, family, jobs, abuse, death. I might not be like many of the women I read about but I could easily connect to their issues and choices (or lack thereof). Of course, I liked some pieces more than others, but can recommend the collection for those of you who like to read short stories. My approach, as I noted, is to read only one or two pieces at a time; I'll finish the book over the next day or so. (Norton, October 2015)

6 Books to Read this SummerOne of my most anticipated books of the summer was Jacqueline Woodson's Another Brooklyn, and I was not disappointed. This amazing novel starts in contemporary times and with a funeral but quickly takes us back to the 1970s and focuses on a Southern, motherless black family who relocated to Brooklyn. Woodson captures the time period--the changing neighborhood, the drugs, the violence, the few choices, the difficulties of being young and black and female and poor.  Female friendships, death, family, choices, trust, religion . . . this slip of a book gave me so much to think about. I am a bit older than August, the protagonist, but I remember the era. Despite the immense differences between August's life and mine, we still share the universal experiences of being female in America. (Amistad, August 2016)


bermudaonion 7/25/16, 8:59 AM  

I loved Another Brooklyn too. I'm making note of Moo because it sounds like a book I'd love.

Kathy Reads Fiction 7/25/16, 10:03 AM  

Moo looks really cute, and I plan on reading Another Brooklyn sometime this year. I remember when Mothers, Tell Your Daughters was first released; the reviews were stellar.

rhapsodyinbooks 7/25/16, 12:48 PM  

I have Another Brooklyn waiting for me when we return from our trip. Can't wait to read it.

Lindsey 7/25/16, 4:42 PM  

I'm glad I wasn't the only one! I started 13 Ways and put it down again. Something just wasn't grabbing me.

Congrats on a fantastic 24 in 48!!

Sue Jackson 7/25/16, 6:37 PM  

Oooh...nice round-up! I didn't know there was a readathon this weekend, but we had the whole family home anyway - lots more TV than books!

I've heard good things about some of these, including the graphic novel. And I would LOVE to read Jacqueline Woodson's new novel! I've never read any of her novels but was absolutely blown away by her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming.

Thanks for the overview!


2016 Big Book Summer Challenge

Kailana 7/25/16, 8:35 PM  

You are torture on wish lists and bank accounts. Just saying!

Les 7/26/16, 8:29 AM  

Moo sounds like a delightful reading! I'm going to look for it at work today. Thanks for the rec!

Heather Fineisen 7/26/16, 4:40 PM  

I've added Another Brooklyn to my TBR list. Happy Reading!

Daryl 7/27/16, 8:28 AM  

i had no idea there was a 24in48 ... but i do think i read a lot this past weekend ... i am re-reading The Dark Tower books and how fun is it to find i seem not to remember a lot of it which makes it pretty fun ... of all these you've shared i think the one i might read is Another Brooklyn .. thanks!!!

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