It was another month of light reading, but the quality was great. Here goes August:
Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel. After I read & loved Station Eleven, I called my sister to finally pass on a good book recommendation… but she had already read it and read the author’s backlog as well. She is a voracious reader and it’s really hard to send her books that she hasn’t already read or heard about. She loaned me this one, with the warning that it’s not as great as Station Eleven, but pretty good. I would have to agree with my sister, it’s good, but it’s just odd. One thing that I found similar between the two novels, is that it made me ponder the connection that we all have on each other’s lives, connections between family and strangers, and how small decisions and actions can positively and negatively ripple through generations.
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D Schmidt. This undoubtedly would go on my best books in 2016 list. I listened to the audio version and I highly recommend it. The historical context gave the plot so much life and brightened the characters. There were many times I found myself cheering on the main character, especially in the Shakespeare adventures and his brush with Mickey Mantle and other baseball icons. Just an awesome, clean, wonderfully well-written book.
Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox. I love a good memoir, and this was a story that I was familiar with because I followed in the news. I can honestly say I always believed that there was not enough legal evidence to support a conviction (at least in US courts), so in that manner I never thought she was guilty. But after listening to her narrate her biography, the more I actually believe in her innocence. I can identify with her arrogant, naive, and culturally awkward behavior. My parents just had more of a hold on my life at that age. I know I would have been on the first plane back to the US if my roommate was found murdered, and I wouldn’t have any say in the matter. I would have liked to hear more about the transition back to the US, but maybe that’s another story. Can you imagine jumping headfirst into smartphones and social media just after enduring all that she had been through, and doing it all on a worldwide stage?
Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross. My notes on this were… interesting, savage, and long. I loved that the author illuminated a story that is largely believed to be a historical truth. (I am a fan of historical fiction, but mostly the royal and glossy variety, like Phillipa Gregory.) This story certainly had life and imagination, and was especially interesting because of the feminine perspective of life in the ninth century. However this time period was exceptionally savage, and especially for women. I tend to shy away from violence, so I am not especially familiar on ninth-century history, or know much of the foundation of the early Roman Catholic church. It felt more like a history book than fiction at times. So between the violence that was hard to read, and all the history, it seemed like it took forever. This was a library book, and I doubt I would have finished (or stayed awake through) an audio version.
Side note- I’ve given Amazon links to the books, but I highly recommend your local library. Not only can you share actual books, but you can connect your phone or tablet to your library with an app called Overdrive, and share digital and audio versions too. And bonus- they automatically disappear when the loan expires so that you never rack up late fees.
Read anything good lately?