I wish I had paid more attention to all the books I’ve been reading this year since it’s part of my 35 Before 35 deal. Oh well, here are the books I read this summer (to the best of my memory… I suppose if I’m missing something it wasn’t that great anyway).
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. One of my top 5 books of all time. This book is amazing and beautiful and difficult and lovely. Set in Europe – mostly France – during World War II, it follows three different characters. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but I love child narrators. Two of the narrators are young people and their stories are told with fragility and depth. This is a war story, a mystery, a love story. It broke me and it raised me. Please read it.
The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins. This one was for book club, but I had already read it. Fitting with many of the other books we’ve read in book club, it was full of unreliable narrators. This is an interesting literary idea, but I’m afraid it’s getting played out. I mean, really, what does it say about our culture is full of books and movies and shows with liars, antiheroes, and despicable people about whom we are supposed to care? That’s how I felt about this book – I just didn’t really care. I didn’t care what happened to the characters because they weren’t good people. That being said, I read this book completely and quickly. It was interesting enough and I supposed I cared about the characters enough to find out what happened. I just didn’t feel good about it as I was reading it. Does that make sense? No, not at all? Okay, moving on.
The Vacationers by Emma Straub. I picked this book up on the Lucky Day shelf near the checkout line at the library. It was a quick, easy, summertime book. It is about a family who travels to Spain at a very turbulent time in all of their lives. Not literature by any stretch of the imagination. Completely predictable, yet enjoyable. The characters were simple, but at least they were honest!
Great House by Nicole Krauss. I love Nicole Krauss. Obviously, since I named my daughter after some characters in The History of Love. I’ve been meaning to read this book for a long time, and earlier this summer I found myself at the library by myself with time to actually venture beyond the children’s section. I picked it up and started it right away. The story was interesting and enthralling. It is about a desk and its owners and how they are connected through wars and across continents. I really liked the story, and that kept me reading. The writing I could barely handle. Krauss used eternal paragraphs, and this just got under my skin. It was difficult to read, the long paragraphs, the dialog not traditionally broken up. But I kept with it and I’m glad I did. This is a story that I love. It raises questions about loss, memory, and what we are leaving for our children along the way. It is a beautiful piece of literature full of amazing words and sentences crafted by a true artist.
Sisters, Long Ago by Peg Kehret. This is one of those ridiculous things about childhood. I borrowed this book from my best friend Susan Schoenfeld when we were probably in 5th grade. I know this because her name is still in the cover. Meaning I actually stole this book from my best friend Susan Schoenfeld. Sorry, Sue-Sue. I can mail it to you if you want it back. But it’s really not a great book. It’s just a good book that takes me back to my childhood. It’s about a young girl who has a flashback to a past life in Egypt. I’ve read this book probably a dozen times over the years, mostly because it’s there and it’s quick and it’s entertaining.
Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford. I’m working my way through this book and I am loving it. It is inspiring and lovely. I’m sure I’ll do a more complete review in 2016.