To say I read a lot is a wee bit of an understatement. When I was in grade one and two, I read the whole Little House on the Prairie series. While most kids were learning sight words, I was reading novels. I’ve always had my nose stuck in a book. At the dinner table. In the car. In bed under the sheets with a flashlight long after my bedtime. When we drove as a family, my parents were quick to point out firetrucks or landmarks, but I would always miss them because I was so engrossed in my book. I once missed an entire family of bears walk in front of our car. An entire family. OF BEARS. In elementary school I was upset to discover that the public library only let me check out 99 books at one time. I’d take them to the cottage and easily power through all of them in less than 6 weeks. I told you. I like to read. A lot.
Here is this summer’s list, in no particular order, with the world’s shortest book reports:
1. Room – Emma Donoghue – Written from the point of view of a five year old who knows nothing exists other than the room in which he and his mother are held captive. Absolutely terrifyingly horrific yet oddly beautiful. I couldn’t put it down. Chilling, but so good. So so good.
2. Bossypants – Tina Fey – Sweet mercy, this woman is funny. I could sit and read in a room alone and be in hysterics. A little raunchy, but definitely the funniest read of the summer.
3. City of Ember – Jeanne DuPrau – The first of four in a junior fiction series. I started reading this with a grade 6 class this year and found myself hoping to get called back to the class so I could read this book during my breaks. Post-apocalyptic, and bizarre, it leaves you trying to figure out if it’s set in the past or the future. The storytelling reveals little by little and lets the reader piece together the puzzle. Great read.
4. The People of Sparks – Jeanne DuPrau – The second in the series. It was well written, but it seemed to drag in comparison to the first.
5. The Prophet of Yonwood – Jeanne DuPrau – The third in the series. Written as a prequel to the first two, it was interesting, but failed to connect to the first two until the epilogue. I was confused as to how they were related and kept trying to figure it out instead of enjoying the read.
6. The Diamond of Darkhold – Jeanne DuPrau – The last book. Absolutely fantastic, right up there with the first book. Tied in a lot of loose ends and was as exciting as the first.
7. The Secret Daughter – Shilpi Somaya Gowda – Fantastically written from several points of view. About a woman in India who gives up her daughter to an orphanage so her husband does not kill the baby. The daughter is then adopted by an American doctor and her Indian doctor husband. The stories are drastically different, but Gowda manages to intertwine them beautifully.
8. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards – Beautifully written. Oddly similar to #7, and I read them back to back while I was up north. A doctor’s wife gives birth to twins in the ’60s. One of the twins has Downs Syndrome. To protect his wife, he tells her that the sick twin died. Instead the twin is raised by the nurse who helped deliver her. A really frustrating, passionate story about lies, grief and their effect on a family that is split apart. I liked it other than one part/character which seemed random and unnecessary.
9. Captivating: – John & Stasi Elderidge – I’ve read this before and I thought I’d give it another shot. This is the women’s equivalent to Wild at Heart. The general idea is that women have three core desires: “to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty” (thanks Wikipedia). Sometimes I deeply resonated with what the Elderidges had to say, other times I wanted to throw the book and say, “YES LIFE IS HARD. Quit crying and deal with it, woman!”
10. Stuff Christians Like – Jon Acuff – if you grew up in a Christian home, or attend church, or just like witty writing, you must read this book. You will laugh to yourself, then run to find someone to share it with. The man’s a genius with words and runs a very close second to Tina in the funny department.
11. Silver Girl – Elin Hilderbrand – I expected this to be fluffy and girly. I was not entirely wrong. It’s about a woman whose husband is arrested for stealing millions in investments and then leaving his clients broke. She is unaware of his schemes and has to go in to hiding to fend off the people and press who don’t believe her. That doesn’t sound girly. But she went into hiding in Nantucket. On the beach. With her friend who meets a handsome power-washer.
12. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen – I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I didn’t picture Edward the whole time, therefore it was a very enjoyable read. It’s about the circus, and it’s fascinating.
13. Coraline – Neil Gaiman – Hokey poops, children’s books are not supposed to be this scary. I had to stay up at night to finish this because I wouldn’t have been able to sleep had I not. Button eyes. So creepy. See the movie. Read the book. Both are compelling.
14. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien – Clearly this man is a genius. I read it because it was someone else’s favourite, but ended up loving it myself. Probably because I had a soundtrack running through my head the whole time. If someone gives me a ‘I heart hobbits’ t-shirt I will wear it.
15. Jesus and the Bachelorette – Knox McCoy – I KNOW, RIGHT? Knox McCoy wrote a book. About Jesus. And the Bachelorette? Yes. It’s as weird and quirky and undeniably Knox as it sounds, but if you love love, you will love it, or you don’t truly love love. Insider scoop: THE Knox McCoy will be guest posting RIGHT HERE! for your reading pleasure in September. I KNOW, RIGHT? Go buy his book. You won’t be disappointed.
In progress (because summer isn’t quite over):
16. The Confession – John Grisham
17. Doctrine – Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears
Your turn. What was the best book you read this summer? Do you have any recommendations for me?