books

Summer Reading

summer-education

Guys, summer is here! Since second-grade when Sister Yvonne Therese threw down the gauntlet with a summer reading challenge, I have been all in on summer reading. To be honest, I’m all about reading all year long. There is no such thing as no time to read in my book (see what I did there, hehe) and summer is especially sweet to me when it comes to reading time because there are so many more places to read in the warmer months and with school in the rearview mirror, it’s a more relaxing family time too. Outdoors is probably my favorite place to read this time of year. The hammock. The park on a blanket. A covered porch. The beach.

Speaking of the beach, on Friday we leave for Dewey Beach, our family summertime getaway for the last eight or so years (minus last year when we mistakenly went to Florida instead). I usually clock in about 4 or 5 books during the week and it is pure heaven. One year it rained most of the week and it didn’t matter much to me because I was able to sit on the porch outside our unit and visit other worlds while still having the beach in my sightline. I also love being under a covered porch during a rainstorm, book in hand. That year, the place we rented was stocked full of books and there’s nothing better than finding a great book from someone else’s library.

I spend a lot of time in the weeks preceding vacation culling my books to bring. Much of it is also dependent on the library as most of my books come in hardcover or electronic form based on what I have on hold. I had been anxiously awaiting the new book by B.A. Paris and was hopeful it would be coming with me to the beach but since it only came out last Tuesday, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get it. I got a notification on Wednesday it was waiting at the library and I didn’t know whether I should collect it right away or wait until we were close to leaving for vacation. I don’t have much willpower when it comes to books I want to read and so I collected it Friday and finished it over the weekend.

My vacation list so far: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bordain, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn and I will likely pick up something at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth (probably Less by Andrew Sean Greer – 2018 Pulitzer winner).  The rest of the list will depend on what comes up on my hold list. Elin Hilderbrand’s The Perfect Couple or All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin are my top hopefuls. My super secret trick is to request the large print edition which comes quicker and is actually more comfortable for me to read these days since I need readers most of the time.

I also have a few books loaded on my Kindle: There There by Tommy Orange, The Goldfinch and The Secret History by Donna Tartt and I’m currently reading Ruth Ware’s The Death of Mrs. Westaway which I want to read in every spare minute so I’m pretty sure it won’t be making the trip with me. I know all this makes for a very big reading goal for the week and I’ve already received a comment from Liam about how all I do on vacation is read. I will have to be cognizant of spending time with the family too!

If you are looking for something good to read during your summer vacation, here are a few from my already read pile that I highly recommend.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney (psychological thriller). I rarely give a book 5 of 5 stars but this one got them. A woman is in a coma and we go back to the events that preceded it. A page-turner with lots of twists!

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances (psychological thriller). You are probably seeing a pattern here and this also gets 5 of 5 stars. It’s set in London which is one of my favorite settings for a novel. This is about a mom and her son’s girlfriend and has a bunch of twists.

The Wife by Alafair Burke (psychological thriller). 5 of 5 stars. I loved this book so much that I checked out two of Alafair’s earlier book from the library and may tuck them in my beach bag next week. The wife of a well regarded and bestselling economics professor has a secret past and one event snowballs into a big scandal for their family.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (romance). Jasmine’s writing is wonderful. This was a well-done story of a best man who needs a date for the wedding of his best friend and ex-girlfriend. I wanted this story to go on and on. Another 5 of 5 stars!

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (current and historical fiction set in Memphis). I loved this story which was ripped from the headlines of the 1940’s about an orphanage where kids were stolen and sold off to wealthy families. 5 of 5 stars.

The Flower Arrangement by Ella Griffin (romance/fiction). I may have written about this one before because it was my favorite book of 2017. I loved the characters and the setting and how they were all intertwined in Lara’s flower shop, Blossom & Grow.

Happy Reading!

MC

 

 

 

 

 

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books

Loving a book-to-movie adaptation (no spoilers)

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There are many book-made-into-movie scenarios and for book lovers, there is an overriding passion for books over movie. I couldn’t agree more. I have seen so many of my beloved books turned into movies only to have them disintegrate on the big screen. Gone Girl, My Sister’s Keeper, Girl on the Train, Mystic River to name a few. There have been many that were well done, too, and I enjoyed the movie apart from the book (The Help, Eat, Pray, Love – I wanted this movie to be a full length adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars). And there have been many, many more that I refused to see due to not messing up the picture that was already in my head.

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books

Forgetting the books you loved

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With so much noise on the internet, I wish Twitter would track the links I click on and read. Interestingly, the link I’m trying to find is about not retaining what you read. It was a great explanation of why we don’t remember things long term, but the more I write about it, the more the article comes into focus and I may have a chance of tracking it down in case you want to read it.  Pamela Paul, the editor of the NYTBR is quoted in it. There was also a bit about Plato not wanting to ruin his memory by writing his ideas down because he felt writing things would be the death of memory. The article (aha, I found it!) asserts that the more we read, the less we retain and it’s all down to the internet because we really have no reason to keep things in our memory because we have new ways to retrieve them.

I remembered Pamela Paul was quoted because I specifically recall the things she remembers when she reads. The physical book itself, where she bought it or who gave it to her, the setting she read it in. The trouble was, that was about all she remembered. We are fortunate to have the internet and the place I go to remember what I read and to get a brief synopsis of it is Goodreads. There were times in the past where I would read a book and then at a later date, purchase the book again or check it out from the library only to remember halfway through I had already read it. It rarely happens anymore.

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books

My Childhood Library

Library960The memories I keep of my hometown library surround me like a comfortable blanket. It was a place where I first found independence because when we moved from the country to the village when I was in second grade, we were less than half a mile, door to door from the library. I tried to convince my mother to let me go alone but she always made sure to send an older sibling along just in case. By fourth grade I was able to go on my own and I spent most Saturdays there.

Upon arriving at the library, I bounced up the steps, opened the heavy brown door and was greeted by the intoxicating scent of books. The librarian was at a desk, straight ahead, always busy matching up people to books. She would stop what she was doing to look up and greet me with a wide smile before returning to her pile. Although her name escapes me, she was everything you’d imagine from a small town librarian. Gray-haired, glasses that dangled from a chain, cardigan-wearing, a ready smile, eager to help.

To the left as you entered stood the card catalog unit, overstuffed with typed up index cards telling you where you could find each and every book in the library.  To the right were two long tables surrounded by comfortable chairs and window seats where the locals would congregate and catch up on out of town newspapers and periodicals. It’s where I would sit for hours as I worked on my book reports for school, sometimes joined by friends but many times contentedly alone.

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Hopes and Goals

 

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Over and over we are told to write down our goals. Make them specific. Make them actionable. Make them accountable. Usually, I’m tempted to go overboard and decide to overhaul everything in my life from diet to exercise to a promise to write every day. I also throw in things like being more patient, showing more compassion to others and being more organized. While these are all good intentions, I think this year I need to be a little more realistic. While I do want to cut out sugar, I know it’s going to be baby steps. While I want to get to the gym more, I’m not going to make a rigid commitment to go every day. Same with writing.

One thing I’m going to commit to is to give other people positive feedback as much as possible. I follow a lot of authors on Twitter and have come to realize that they like to hear when you enjoy their work (makes sense!). I am an avid user of Goodreads to track my reading but have done very little by way of reviewing the books as I read them. I vow to change that this year and already have a couple of reviews under my belt. I realize this is only January 3rd so I’m going to ask a question that has always rattled around in my reading brain – do audiobooks count toward your total book count for the year?

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Reading Fever

downloadI decided to take a few days off from the blog. I’m going through a fanatical reading phase where I go from one book to the next and it’s hard once you get going to break the cycle. I finally finished Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and while I loved it, I think some of it was lost because I was reading a few minutes here and there and didn’t have time to just take it in for longer stretches at a time. However, I didn’t want it to end and for days I kept wondering about what happened to the characters because it ended without resolution. Maybe she’ll bring them back for us someday. It’s so hard for me to review books because I don’t want to give anything away.

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