Friday, June 23, 2017

Second Quarter Reading

Instead of putting all the books I read this quarter, I'm just going to mention the ones I really enjoyed or thought were interesting. You can find a full list of my books here on Goodreads


We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (see full review here)-This is classified as fiction but partly nonfiction as this is the author's ancestor's story of WWII. One of the reasons why I loved it was the unique perspective that you get when you write a family story. She added things but wow, for a debut, this was wonderfully written and captivating. I gave it 5 stars when I read it but it might be more of a 4 star because it hasn't stayed with me as much as I was expecting it too. Maybe next time I should wait a few days because I review something. :) Still worth reading though!

Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-I finally read a Dickens novel! This was one of my goals this year. And I'm so so so glad I read it. Amazing! The day after I finished it I told my friend that she should read it so I could read it again and we can talk about it. It took me a little bit to get the hang of Dickens' writing but how it all came together was brilliant. He is a masterful storyteller. I'm pretty sure I'll love it even more the second time.

My cousin started this business called Good Friends Good Books and she was doing a Jane Austen reading group and I asked her if she would do a Dickens' group which she happily obliged. She sent out character list, reading schedule, videos throughout the book to get us thinking about things, etc. and it added to the experience of reading the book. The character list and having someone guide me through it was so helpful. I read it with my Mom and then my brother read it a couple of weeks later and all of us loved it. 

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin-This is one I would pose for a book club. Lots to discuss here. Really fascinating look into Charles and Anne Lindbergh's marriage and the complexity behind it. The novel was from Anne's perspective and read almost like a memoir instead of historical fiction. I kind of wish I had read her book Gifts from the Sea after this novel knowing more about her.


Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (full review here)-Excellent! Highly, highly, recommend. The topic of criminal injustice in America is something we need to be talking more about. 

A quote from the book that sums it up: "We're supposed to sentence people fairly after fully considering their life circumstances, but instead we exploit the inability of the poor to get the legal assistance they need-all so we can kill them with less resistance." 

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIVDesmond TutuDouglas Carlton Abrams-This was so enjoyable to listen to! I can see where you would want the physical copy as I was having to pause the audio and write down quotes. I like how they each have their own perspective (they didn't agree on everything) but they embraced their differences and you can just tell they epitomize joy. :)

Some quotes I liked:

-Our mind is the axel that determine if the ride (of life) is bumpy or smooth.
-When we think of threat as a challenge, our body responds very differently.
-Suffering makes you appreciate more the joy.
-You grow in kindness when your kindness is tested.
-A prayerful, meditative life gives you the ability and freedom to respond rather than react. 
-If we want to change the world, we must teach compassion. 


Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin-This was a wonderful memoir. I have yet to read Goodwin's 'Team of Rivals' (I feel like it'll be forever on my TBR list) but this was a fun snippet into her growing up years in Brooklyn. Her love for baseball mirrored my love for football and basketball growing up so I was laughing at her passion because I saw myself in her in those moments. Probably my favorite part was her first Confession with the priest and having to repent because she prayed repeatedly that several New York Giant players would be injured! haha And her description of the Dodgers winning the World Series gave me chills.

Young Adult

Flipped by Wendell Van Draanen-I think this one is borderline middle grade but it was a fast-paced read that surprisingly packs in a lot in the short novel. It taught about how our perspective changes when we really get to know people. I loved Juli and her dad's relationship through the whole thing. And the movie is wonderful and follows the book almost exactly. I now want to read Van Draanen's The Running Dream

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham-I did stay up late finishing this one. It was one of the better YA novels that I read, probably because it didn't have a lovesick romance in it. ;) But they do hit some good themes and I think this book would be good paired up with the book Just Mercy.

Middle Grade

Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper-I'm mentioning this book because it's not getting a lot of attention but I think it's unique. I thought this was similar to Wonder but not executed as well. It's about a girl who has this rare disease where people's words, whether good or bad, get etched into her skin. It's about how she combats the negativity and finds confidence during her 6th grade year. 

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan-One of the best audio productions I've ever heard. The narrators were good but what made it was the music which is a very integral part of the story. This is a hefty read for middle grade but worth it. It feels like three books in one because it's about three kids (one in Germany, Pennsylvania, and California) and how they're all connected by this magical harmonica before, during, and after WWII and how they all come together in Carnegie Hall in the 1950's. There are some great themes in this book about belonging in a family and how music can heal the injustices we're facing. There was also a touch of magic in this story-overall just a fantastic read.

Have you read any of these? Thoughts? What have you been reading lately?

1 comment:

  1. Your reviews of these books are excellent! You always write in such a way that makes me want to pick up the book right then and start reading it. I'm in the middle of two of those books right now and having a great time with them. Thanks for sharing!