Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Two for One: Sept/Oct Reads

The time just seems to fly away from me these days.  Can't believe Halloween is over and now November is upon us.  Here are my "reads" from Sept/Oct.  I'm definitely getting lazy in my old days and don't seem to write/post as much as I would like or should.  Hope you find some good reading in the list following.  As always, love to hear any comments on those books I've read or suggestions on books I should read.  The first group are September and then I'll end with October's. 

 Big Little Lies  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Who knew PTA events could be so fun and so murderous!  This story is not all fluff despite the main setting revolves primarily around PTA events and the moms that are members of this elite, private school PTA.  The topics that Liane weaves within the main story line is intriguing: inappropriate social media use by teens, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, non-traditional families, single parenting, and just how hard it can be to raise kids.  The way in which Liane writes the chapters that fill this entertaining book are just another bonus- Detectives interviewing witnesses (who just happen to be some of the main characters in the story) is how some of the chapters start and how some of the chapters end.  This interview type writing almost reads like a screenplay.  If you want a book that will keep you hooked until the end read it.

The War that Saved My Life The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
I listened to this book on tape after my niece and sister told me to read it.  It was a beautifully written story about some touch topics: war, child abuse (mental and physical), physical disability, and how the love of a stranger can overcome all of these tough issues.  I think this book is great for preteens, teens, and adults.  It is a great reminder of what resiliency is.  I really enjoyed listening to the story.

Interpreter of Maladies  Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Short stories that were well written, but they were just over and over disappointing, sad or downright "Debbie downers" in my eyes.  She is a talented author, but I just couldn't get into the characters and felt sad reading their stories.  She won the Pulitzer Prize for this book in 2000.  I struggle to like books that win awards so not surprising that I didn't get into this book despite it winning this amazing award. 

It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addairo

I really didn't think I was going to like this book.  This memoir of Lynsey Addairo's experience in every major war theatre of the 21st century as a war photographer however, surprised me and intrigued me.  I felt like I was getting a lesson in history, geography, and life.  Some may call Lynsey selfish, but I like to think of her as purely authentic, genuine, and passionate for her profession.  Does that make a woman selfish?  She definitely didn't let the normal social norms, and stereotypes of what a woman can and should do stop her.  Reading this book makes me look differently at newspaper articles as before this book I never really thought about the people who took the pictures that accompany the stories.  However, after reading this book I realize that the pictures, themselves, are stories in their own.  Who took the picture? What did the photographers have to go through to get the shots?  If you love photography, travel, history, geography, news reporting, war, and just good old stories about blending work with life this book is for you.

Love Warrior Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

This was my last read for September.  I was very excited to read this new book by Glennon.  I had read her Carry On Warrior book several years ago, listened to the book about two more times after reading the book, and even went to see Glennon talk live with my sister just this past Spring.  The book was good, but it wasn't great.  For some reason I liked her first book better.  I felt this book sounded at times "whiny".  Don't get me wrong I liked the book and would tell you to read it, but I would also tell you to read Carry On Warrior first.  I love the message Glennon sends out to this world --- "Love Wins".  I love how honest she is even with all her dirty laundry, which she has quite a bit of it, like most of us. 

The Hours Count The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor
This may be my pick of the year for Book Club Reads.  I really liked this book- 5 Stars!  This is the second book I have read by Jillian Cantor.  The first book we read by Jilian for book club was Margot and I loved that book too.  Jillian's ability to write about historical events in a fictional setting is truly believable.  The basis for this book is Julius and Ethel Rosenberg who were electrocuted for spying during the Cold War.  Double Agents, spying, are some of the heavy topics, but really it is a book of what friendship and love can mean in times of crisis.  The main character is a neighbor of the Rosenbergs.  Millie becomes friends with Ethel and there is tie that brings Millie into this story.  Millie however, has several other side stories occurring in this book: mothering an autistic child, figuring out married life, planned parenthood and birth control, and learning how to believe in herself.  EXCELLENT READ!

The Girl on the Train The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

My husband and I read this one together.  It is kind of like our own book club we try and do a few times of year.  The plan was to read the book and then rent the movie.  Several people I know have read the book and I've heard mixed reviews.  I feel "meh" about this book.  I thought it was a great storyline.  However, the story drug on too long!  The thing that I took from this story was how much alcoholism can really screw your life- you can do stupid things and then you can be told you did stupid things even when you didn't do them- you are a drunk so how do you know what is real?  I'm looking forward to watching the movie. 

A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #12) A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

I love Louise Penny.  Her Armand Gamache mystery series is one of my favorites.  I got so excited when I saw this on the Express Reading Shelf at the library.  I snatched it up.  It was a great read and as usual I want to go visit Three Pines.  Sadly, Three Pines, is fictitious, but I still want to go visit French/Canadian regions and imagine I'm in Three Pines someday.  Louise's character development is amazing and there are so many rich personalities in her books, this one included.  I'd start with her first in the series and work your way through- you won't be disappointed. 

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1) In the Woods by Tana French

After reading A Great Reckoning I wanted to read another mystery.  This has been on my "to read" list for a little bit and so I searched it out at the library.  It is a story full of interesting characters.  The book starts with three 12 year olds in the woods playing.  During their play something occurs and the chapter ends with two of the 12 year olds missing, never to be found, and the third 12 year old nails dug into a tree, frozen still, with blood congealed in the bottom of his shoe (not his own blood).  Flashforward- the "found" 12 year old is now a murder detective and he is being called to the woods again where a 12 year old female is found murdered.  Are the two mysteries connected?  It was a great read- kind of scary at times.  You know the type of scary when your husband is gone traveling that you want to just go through every closet in the house while holding a bat to make sure no "monsters" are lurking anywhere.  No I didn't do that, but I felt like doing it :). 

Well that's all folks.  Another great list of books and great reading life.  Onto November...