If you are visiting from Joy’s blog, welcome!
One of the things I love most about summer is having more time to read, and even though I have to read school stuff (we homeschool with a literature-based curriculum), I squeeze in “fun” reading (although most reading we do for school is fun reading in my opinion!). I had been reading a lot of non-fiction, so for me fun reading this summer is Fiction.
I admit that I don’t have an official “These Are The Books I Am Going To Read This Summer” list. But I do have a Goodreads list. (Are you on Goodreads? Want to be friends?) My to-read list currently has 39 books on it although that is not a completely accurate list of books I want to read because there are books that I already own but still haven’t read yet that I also want to read. They just didn’t make the Goodreads list yet. Mostly I use that list to catalog books I don’t want to forget about that I have heard about elsewhere such as from Modern Mrs. Darcy – either her Summer Reading Guide or her excellent podcast, What Should I Read Next – or from friends or any other source.
I’ve also rediscovered my love of audio books via the Overdrive app. I love listening to books while I go about my daily chores or drive around doing my errands. The ultimate in multi-tasking is doing something for fun and something necessary.
Below is my list of books I’ve read in the last month and what I thought of them on a scale of one to five stars. Since I read them in the order I am able to get them from the library, there are times when too many arrive at once and they expire before I can finish them or even before I can get to them. So some I’ve begun but have not finished and am waiting to get them back.
- A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France by Georgeanne Brennan – 4 stars. I like reading travelogues, especially if they deal with living in France or Italy. There were some areas in her story that felt disjointed but it didn’t ruin the overall effect for me. I also like her writing style.
- A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside by Susan Branch – 5 stars. It was part travelogue, part memoir, part love story. I have several of Susan Branch’s cookbooks but only recently learned that she had written some novels. My library doesn’t have them so I had to request this one through Inter Library Loan. That’s how I’ll get her others too.
- An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude by Ann Vanderhoof – 5 stars. Another travelogue/memoir with some recipes thrown in. This story was very close to what my husband and I had hoped to do five years ago: put our lives on hold for a year and cruise through the Caribbean with the family. We got as far as saving up the cruising kitty and buying a 36 ft sailboat boat but – to make a long and sad story very short – we never realized our dream. The boat required extensive repairs which ate up the savings and our window closed. So in some ways, I was able to live that dream vicariously through this book.
- What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – Five stars. The premise of this book had me intrigued: a woman falls and hits her head. When she wakes up she thinks it’s 10 years earlier when she was married and expecting her first child. The reality is that it’s 10 years later, she has three children and she is about to get a divorce. The relationships between various people was fascinating to me and I often stopped to wonder what about my life had changed in 10 years.
- The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – Four stars. I listened to this book on audio. I enjoyed how the author wove the protagonist’s current time with her past, revealing this person’s character and how her past has shaped and defined her. I also enjoyed learning about the Victorian way of using flowers to communicate emotions.
- My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. I’m not finished with this book yet but I have to say, based on the subject and the reviews it received, I expected to like it more than I am. 3.5 stars. It’s about two girls growing up in an impoverished neighborhood in the outskirts of Naples, Italy. In some ways it’s similar to my mother’s upbringing and the story that I’m sharing with Tuesdays with Tina. But in actuality it’s quite different. I wonder if I would like it better in the original language rather than the translation.
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I’m not finished with this one yet either and I’m listening to it on audio. It’s not a genre I usually care for but I’m enjoying the story line enough to keep going. 3.5 stars.
I leave for Italy tomorrow! I’m only bringing books I own with me (not library books). Here’s what’s on my pile so far:
- Code of Silence by Tim Shoemaker
- Journey to the South by Annie Hawes
- Ripe for the Picking by Annie Hawes
- A Handful of Honey by Annie Hawes
- Still Life by Louise Penny (on my Kindle app)
So many by the same author, you might wonder? I read Extra Virgin years ago and really enjoyed it. When I joined Goodreads I discovered that Annie Hawes had written other books about Italy. When our library didn’t have them, I found them for cheap on Amazon and ordered them all. Since I’ll be in Italy, it will be fun to read them there! As far as the first of the Inspector Gamasche series goes, I tried listening to Still Life on audio but since it takes place on France and there are many French words, I have to read this one for myself so I can see the French words. I’m a very visual reader that way. I also couldn’t stand to listen to My Brilliant Friend. The person reading was butchering the Italian names and words and I couldn’t take it.
Books I have but won’t get to before I leave:
- A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond (belongs to a friend and I really need to read it and return it!)
- The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook by Ellen McCarthy
- A Rich Spot of Earth by Peter Hatch (learned about this on our recent visit to Monticello)
And just in case these aren’t enough books, the books I read in May:
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What W Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. 4.5 stars.
- Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill. 3.5 stars.
- Little Herb Gardens: Simple Secrets for Glorious Gardens by Georgeann Brennan. Four stars
- The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book by Wendy Welch. Five stars.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Five stars.
Now hop on over to see what my friend Michael Ann is reading for more ideas! (She’s the one who talked me into buying Code of Silence!)