Tuesday, March 7, 2017

February Reads

It's been a pretty great month of reading, considering it is the shortest month of the year and I got some decent pages read.  Before I get into the books I read I want to share with you a great Podcast one of my bookies, Angie, recently shared with me.  I've read the blog http://modernmrsdarcy.com/ for awhile now, but I missed that she had a Podcast: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/what-should-i-read-next/.  I've listened to 3-4 episodes now and I find them truly entertaining.  There are 69 episodes total as of today.  She interviews different people and asks them their 3 favorite books, the one they didn't like, what they are reading now, and then Anne Bogel (the modernmrsdarcy) picks some books that she thinks the reader would like.  I love hearing other people talk about their favorites and their dislikes too.  Check it out- great way to burn time carpooling, trucking into work, or road tripping.

Here are February Reads...

Slaughterhouse-Five
Slaughterhouse-Five
By Kurt Vonnegut
I liked this book even though it was a little different. It was our book club pick for the bookies in February.  We had some great discussion.  The premise was reliving the Dresden Bombing in WWII.  A lot of flashbacks, flashforwards and a trip to Tralfamadore (alien planet). It is called an anti-war book, but I'm not sure I got the anti-war.  I thought it was just a fair representation of the ugliness of war.  Prisoner of War camp is a major backdrop for the book.  Also some time in a VA hospital and of course the alien planet.  I know it sounds bizarre even writing all of this description down, but I really did enjoy it.  It also reminded me how little I know about history-
Bombing of Dresden
British/American aerial bombings of Dresden (capital of German State of Saxony)- 3,900 tons of bombs to be exact (according to WIKI)

The Story of Lucy Gault
The Story of Lucy Gault
By William Trevor
William Trevor died last year on November 20, 2016.  When he died I was still on Facebook and received a lot of FB posts about his death.  He has been called an "Irish statesman" in the literary world.  I had never read any of his books, short stories or plays so I put this book on my "to read" list.  It is a sad story of a young Lucy Gault who is told she is going to have to move away from her home in Ireland to her mother's homeland of England due to some threatening of the locals (they didn't care for English visitors).  So Lucy, being a smart girl, decides she will run away from home for awhile so her parents can't leave.  Long story short her runaway doesn't go well and she is thought to have died in the ocean near their home and her parents leave Ireland due to their utter sadness.  When they leave Ireland they leave no further contact information.  Meanwhile- Lucy is found later (this is the part of the story that I struggled with I think she was missing for several weeks).  Unfortunately due to her parents not wanting to be found, they weren't found until much later and Lucy grew up under care of the caretakers of her parent's home.  Continued sadness abounds in this book.  I thought it was a good read, but not a "feel good" read.  I can now say I've read "William Trevor". 

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
Just Mercy
By Bryan Stevenson
I'm trying to get more books "in" this year and one way I'm trying to accomplish this is by listening to books on audio.  One of my friends- actually I think the bookie Angie- recommended listening to this book because the author reads the book and his voice adds more to the story.  It is nonfiction and it is a needed read for any American- actually I think it would make a good high school read  for government class or American history.  Bryan is a defense lawyer who started the Equal Justice Initiative to help the poor, the needy and wrongly condemned.  There were so many times in listening to this story that I was really embarrassed to be Caucasian and know the wrongs "whites" have done to the African American community.  So many powerful stories in this book.  Another not full "feel good" read, but it is real and sometimes we need some "real" story telling to wake us up.

Echo
Echo
By Pam Munoz Ryan
My daughter, son and I listened to this book on audio.  It was superb!  My sister had recommended reading this book; she said it was her new favorite.  Her daughter had loved it too.  Then my bookie friend Angie (I know I sound like a broken record- Angie is a great bookie with great recommendations) recommended listening to this book on audio.  She said there is music throughout the book and so on audio the music is really highlighted- especially the playing of a harmonica.  The stories of Otto, Friedrich (Germany early WWII), Mike (Pennsylvania- mid 1940's) and Ivy (California during time of internment of Japanese Americans) are entwined.  Beautifully written story and I wasn't disappointed by the music that accompanied it throughout.  My kids really enjoyed it too.  I will likely read this book in the near future.  Don't think you would be disappointed with reading or listening to it.

Unbound: A Novel in Verse
Unbound: a novel in verse
By Ann Burg
I read this book with my daughter.  Another continued goal of mine is to read with my kids.  I thought I read a lot with my kids, but then when I started to track it- write down when I read with my kids, there were many weeks I was maybe reading with them only once (really  just my daughter- as my son has moved on with his reading-The Hobbit 3 times at least- can't keep up with him).  So this was the book my daughter and I read together and it was a good one.  It is a book in verse- like reading a run on poem.  It is the story of Grace, a slave, who works in the master's house.  When she gets a little "to big for her britches" the master's wife decides to teach her a lesson by selling her mother and twin brothers .  Teach her just where her place in society is.  Grace finds out about this and her mother, brothers, Aunt and Uncle decide to escape before the date of sale.  However, they don't escape in the way in which I knew slaves escaped.  Another reminder of how little I know about history, let alone American history.  Grace and her family fled to deep Southern woods, swamp land.  I was unaware that slaves fled inland instead of northward.  It was another beautifully written story that my daughter and I really enjoyed. 

Happy Reading Friends- looking forward to some good reading over Spring Break- have high expectations that won't likely get met, but love having them.