It seems like just a couple days ago I was writing about July… the whole month of August just flew by. My reading was pretty light this month but it was fun stuff. All I want to read lately is fantasy and children’s lit – nothing too series! Maybe it’s because I just can’t believe summer is coming to a close and Fall is around the corner already…
Below is my Reading Log for August 2015, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read. I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month). And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!
HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SFF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft
|How to Cook Everything Fast,
by Mark Bittman
|Go Set a Watchman,
by Harper Lee
by Cornelia Meigs
|My Salinger Year,
by Joanna Rakoff
|The Night Circus,
by Erin Morgenstern
by Shannon Hale
|Sorcery and Cecelia,
by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer
|Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir,
by Roz Chast
How to Cook Everything Fast, by Mark Bittman – A
A whale of a cookbook, especially in library format! What sets it apart is the extra prep instructions at every step for the most efficient use of your time while cooking, and most recipes comes together in less than 45 minutes. Lots of useful info and a TON of recipes included. I liked the recipe-free basic techniques like stir fry, pasta, casseroles, etc. too. It was a bit overwhelming since it doesn’t stick to a theme, and because of its size I’m not sure it would become a go-to cookbook after you’ve got a few techniques down. But fun to read and I tried out a couple recipes, which is the whole point right?
Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee – A
Upsetting at times, and thought provoking always. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, and the conflicting reviews and controversy around the release do not help. The story is meandering for sure, with plenty of flashbacks that don’t really connect to the story but are still enjoyable to see glimpses of beloved characters. I did not re-read To Kill a Mockingbird on purpose, to read this one with a fresh set of eyes without the baggage of the one-hit-wonder overshadowing it. Despite everyone’s horror that Atticus is not the paragon of Right and Wrong that everyone thought him to be in TKAM, I can see how he’s a more realistic and nuanced character twenty years later when Scout finds him entrenched in racist activities in the 1950s. Sad but true. I still can’t figure out if it’s best to look at it as a sequel or a companion piece or a first book (with TKAM being the prequel) or just an interesting look at one writer’s process and how her writing evolved. Still glad it exists and that I read it, especially since a year ago no one would ever have thought another book by Harper Lee would be published.
Invincible Louisa, by Cornelia Meigs – TBD
Still reading. I love biographies about Louisa May Alcott, but her father (and the Transcendentalism movement in general) has always rubbed me the wrong way… and this book starts out with a LOT of info about Bronson Alcott. So far, it’s been hard to get into, but I’ll keep plugging along.
My Salinger Year, by Joanna Rakoff – A
Joanna Rakoff’s year of working at the literary agency that represents J.D. Salinger makes for a charming memoir. The beginning echoes The Best of Everything so closely that it has to be intentional, and it makes me wonder how many similar references I’ve missed in other books-about-publishing; it’s almost like a sequel, 40 years later, and it shows how little the publishing world has changed from the 1950s to the 1990s. It’s pretty obvious from the beginning that Joanna will break up with her socialist boyfriend of the time, and the passive aggressive disdain toward him is pretty hilarious – oh, hindsight! The fan letters that Joanna has to respond to on behalf of J.D. Salinger are interesting, but I wish there was more on that front. I’m not sure that the closure was as convincing as the author intended, but it was a satisfying memoir even without the end cap of Salinger’s death to bring it full circle.
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern – TBD
Still reading (or listening, rather). Love, love, love Jim Dale’s narration of this tale. I’m about halfway through and so far there is lots of magic, circus shenanigans, and mystery all around. If I were reading the book, I might be wondering where it’s all going, but I don’t mind the pace with the audio version.
Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale –A
Don’t let the “princess” in the title fool you… this story is much more about empowerment and education than pretty dresses. The girls of a remote mountain town must attend an academy to become worthy of the prince, but along the way their newfound knowledge helps our main character and her village in surprising ways. By the time the prince arrives, he’s somewhat beside the point, and the girls have to rely on working together to make their lives better. Add some fantasy and compelling characters in there, and I was no longer surprised that this tale claimed a Newbery Honor award.
Sorcery and Cecelia, by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevemer – TBD
Still reading. I forget how I heard about this one but I’m glad I did! Witty letters between cousins in Regency England with a bit of magic thrown in = delicious reading!
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir, by Roz Chast – A
A really frank and hilarious look at caring for aging parents, from an only child forced to address the facts of life that her parents never wanted to talk about. The graphic novel approach is perfect for showing the funny side of the otherwise mixed emotions of the uncomfortable/tedious/sad process of watching both her parents die. I loved the photos interspersed throughout, especially the collections junk she had to clean out of her parents’ apartment – eyeglasses, pencils, purses, kitchen appliances, the contents of the fridge, piles of notebooks – it had to be thrown away, but not before immortalizing first. Even though Roz had a difficult relationship with both her parents, and especially her mother, you can tell she did the best she could and showed her love the best way she could, through the sketches and drawings that made up this book.
So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of August. I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?
Another High Five for Friday!
2014: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
2012: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
2011: Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
2010: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
2009: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean
2008: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz
2007: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, illustrated by Matt Phelan
2006: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
2005: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo
2003: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
2002: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
2001: A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
2000: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
1999: Holes by Louis Sachar
1998: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
1997: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
1996: The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman
1995: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry
1993: Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
1992: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
1991: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
1990: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
1989: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman
1988: Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman
1987: The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
1986: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
1985: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
1983: Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt
1982: A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard
1981: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
1980: A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos
1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
1977: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
1976: The Grey King by Susan Cooper
1975: M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton
1974: The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
1973: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
1971: Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
1970: Sounder by William H. Armstrong
1969: The High King by Lloyd Alexander
1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
1967: Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
1966: I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino
1965: Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska
1964: It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Neville
1963: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
1962: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
1961: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
1960: Onion John by Joseph Krumgold
1959: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
1958: Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith
1957: Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen
1956: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
1955: The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
1954: …And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold
1953: Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark
1952: Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
1951: Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
1950: The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
1949: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
1948: The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
1947: Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
1946: Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
1945: Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
1944: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
1943: Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
1942: The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds
1941: Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
1940: Daniel Boone by James Daugherty
1939: Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
1938: The White Stag by Kate Seredy
1937: Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
1936: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
1935: Dobry by Monica Shannon
1934: Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs
1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis
1932: Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer
1931: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth
1930: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field
1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
1928: Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
1927: Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James
1926: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman
1925: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger
1924: The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes
1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
1922: The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon
Not much going on this week, since I didn’t work on anything over the weekend, so here’s a quick update :)
Woodland Creatures Cross Stitch
Not sure I’ll pull this one off before the end of August (how is September next week already?!) but I love the little skunk and toadstools.
And that’s about it!
Linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced.
I’m in a stable remission these days, so it’s easy to forget the turmoil of the past few years when my health felt anything but stable… the symptoms, diagnosis, medications, surgeries, ostomy bag, infusions… it’s been a roller coaster at times. I’ve had to come to terms with the “chronic” part of Crohn’s, and I still deal with it every time I visit the doctor. But it was interesting to sit in the audience and learn more about it all, which is so different from sitting two feet away from my doctor in a tiny, uncomfortable room to talk about how my body is sabotaging itself. Lots of good information, mostly positive, and plenty of food for thought.
Another High Five for Friday!