I was planning on doing this post mid month, but the mid of the mid to the end of the month is close enough, right?
If you follow us on instagram, you will have seen that I recently have read my 100th book. That puts me on track to finish about 135 books this year, which is on par for last year. I thought I would read less this year because I read some behemoths this year, like City on Fire (I rated it a 4, it was a depressing 900 page read with no hope until everything worked out for everybody on the last 3 pages) (but it was well-written), The Dovekeepers (a gorgeous book, I rated it a 10), and The Golem and the Jinni (loved it, rated it a 8, though I feel, looking back, it should be at least a 9). I guess the bigger books were balanced shorter books like the Narnia Series (I read this series to Atticus), a Judy Blume novel, and 2 Newberry Medal winners, The One and Only Ivan (highly recommend this book!) and Moon over Manifest (I loved, loved, loved it!).
I don’t do book challenges as a rule. I love reading, I don’t want to make it a chore or something I need to cross off my list. But, looking forward to being a mom of 4 4 and under, I am thinking of challenging myself to read through the Newberry Medal winners and honour list next year. I am not sure how much brain power I will have for reading once the twins are here so these shorter reads may be just what I need to get through 2018!
I should get down to business. I know that is what you are here for……..
What I read:
I just finished The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. It a psychological thriller that is a quick read and has a compelling story line.
Moving to the middle of nowhere after her journalism careers blows up, Leah Stevens rooms with an old friend from 8 years previous. Shortly after she arrives, 2 bodies are found in the local lake and her roommate goes missing. Only there is no proof the roommate ever existed. Narrated from Leah’s perspective, her story seems completely plausible. But is it?
This is not my favourite type of read. My true love is literary fiction: great writing, and prose you want to sink in to. But I do need quick, compelling books to break up the literary fiction books which can be heavier and more thought-provoking.
I am currently reading The History of Bees by Maja Lunde . This is the book I received from PageHabit, which is a subscription box service that sends annotated copies of new releases. You can pick from 8 different of genres, including historical fiction, sci fi, mystery, and, my choice, literary fiction. I also got a pair of socks, book page markers and a short story that was very disappointing. I am loving the annotations in The Life of Bees! It adds so much to the story to get the background on the research done by the author, the way the book changed as it was written and edited, and the general musings of the author. PageHabit also donates money to different literary charities around the world that serve under-read communities. So its a win-win.
The History of Bees takes place in 3 time periods: mid 19th century, modern day, and the end of the 21st century. Telling the story of 3 different people at different times in the history of bees, with the bees all gone by 2093, disappearing in 2007 and totally fine in 1852, Lunde is weaving a masterful, beautifully written story. With the death of bees on the news recently and new measures being pushed in to try stop the bee population decline, it seems like a poignant read right now!
I am going to pick up Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout next because I waited forever for it from the library and I can’t renew it because there are still holds on it. (I find the library holding system often dictates what I read next.) I read My Name is Lucy Barton by Strout earlier this year in because AiP was coming out. (I was told you don’t need to read them in order, but I prefer to. I feel that, even in non-linear series, the author tends to write like you have the knowledge the previous books imparted about reoccurring characters.) Lucy Barton was a quick read (I started and finished it on the car ride to one of the Tea’s house this summer) and Anything is Possible seems similar in length so I should knock it off in a day or so. I rated Lucy Barton a 10, so I have high hopes for this one!
And, of course, what am I listening to:
(If you don’t think that audio books count as reading, see what I have to say about that here.)
My current audio book is Little Bee by Chris Cleave. I had no idea what this book was about when I chose it (except that it was labelled as the next A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini). Little Bee is about a teen aged refugee in Britain who reconnected with a British couple who saved her life 5 years earlier, but had failed to save the life of her sister. It is a heart breaking look into the refugee life, what drives a person to leave their home country, what awaits them in developed countries, and what could happen if they are deported.
I think that in a society where so much of our discussions on refugees and our responsibilities to them deals with refugees a mass group (which is a daunting and impossible issue), it is good to look at individual stories. It is good to remember that every refugee is an individual human being. Reading stories about refugees helps to build empathy in a world that is so focused ‘on my worldview, my opinion, my interpretation.’
What are some good books you have picked up lately? What is on your TBR pile?