I have been reading a lot of books this summer. Or I should say I’ve been listening to a lot of books this summer. I like to listen while I’m driving, cleaning, crafting, sewing, or just laying in the pool. For me listening to books is an escape to somewhere wonderful.
Recently I took the “What’s your reader personality” quiz on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s website. Not too surprisingly, I discovered that I am an ESCAPIST reader. According to Ann Bogel, “If you’re an Escapist, you believe that above all, reading is supposed to be FUN. You read because you enjoy it, but also because it helps you relax, especially when your real life feels crazy. You especially appreciate a book that feels impossible to put down.” – Exactly!
This summer was one series of adventures and escape after another. I traveled from England to Pennsylvania, to Moscow, to England again, to Italy, New York, and even to the Scandinavia! I hung out with elderly detectives, DEA agents, baseball players, hockey players, dignitaries, and even a few Hollywood types.
SO MUCH FUN – READING THIS SUMMER
I thought I’d just share my adventures with a little blurb about each one. No spoilers, just feedback so you can make your own choices about what you would like to read next. Here goes…
- The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders
A 52-year-old woman goes is able to “inquire” about a variety of things while just going thru her daily life. On behalf of her barrister brother, she listens and gossips her way through a small town without anyone suspecting she is truly an extremely discreet private inquirer.
- The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan
(this book I received in exchange for my honest review from Blogging For Books – opinion is all my own)
I really wanted to love this book. A story of women in England during the war coming together and singing should be a beautiful story, right? And part of it was, and part of it was not.
This was a disjointed story of very odd happenings in a small town. In fact, I felt like it was several short stories that the author was trying desperately to tie together, and actually, I was not too far from the truth. It is a compilation of stories passed down from Ms. Ryan’s grandmother about her life during WWII.
The stories are cute, funny and sometimes tragic, but I just felt that they did not come together properly.
- The Black Book by David Ellis, James Patterson
James Patterson is always entertaining and this one is no different. Not great, but entertaining.
- Borrowing Alex by Cindy Procter-King
This is a silly summer romance book. I have listened to it a couple of times when I am seeking some clean and fun romance.
- One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline
Wow. This one was great. We lived in Oklahoma City during the bombing of the Murrah Building and to have this be the supposed driving force behind actions in play was very interesting. This is a story of a coach, a baseball team, and some extremist thinking. Very good.
- 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
What a lovely collection of letters between Helene, a sarcastic woman in New York and Frank Doyle, a professional, second-hand bookseller in London. These 2 people develop a friendship across the pond not experienced very often in life, even with your neighbors.
- A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by Amor Towles
I so appreciate a great story. Alexander Rostovof is sentenced to life imprisoned in the Metropol hotel in Moscow. He has never worked a day in his life and now is under house arrest in an attic room of the hotel. This is story of the relationships he forms, the escapades he accomplishes, and the life he leads within the walls of the hotel. Fabulous!
- Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
I had no idea what to expect here and I was pleasantly surprised. I know many readers have enjoyed Beautiful Ruins but I had never picked it up. The cover art was very distracting for me. I should have followed the old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” I enjoyed this story about Dee and Pasquale – she a young Hollywood actress, he a young man who has come home to care for his widowed mother. It is a story of love, lies, friendship, and ultimately a lifetime.
- Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
It’s funny, I read Gentleman in Moscow prior to this book and like it so much, I thought I give this one a try. It was OK. It’s a story about 1930’s Manhatten. I was disappointed and didn’t love it.
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Written in 1921, this is a story of love, honor, and scandal. Newland Archer is in love and promised to Mae Welland when he is reunited with his old friend Countess Olenska. She is so exotic and enticing and he begins to wish, well no he can’t. Afterall it’s New York in the Golden Age. He must do the right thing. And the right thing leaves him with a lifetime of regret along with the blessings that come from a friendly marriage.
- The Book of Polly: A Novel by Kathy Hepinstall
What fun! Polly is a 58-year-old widow who discovers she is pregnant. Hmmm. The story is told from the perspective of her now 12-year-old daughter, Willow. It is about life, family, mothers and daughters, age, death, and margaritas. It was a wonderfully entertaining story.
- The Ladies Room by Carolyn Brown
Sometimes what we think is the worst possible thing, ends up being the best possible thing. That is exactly what happens when Trudy overhears the unthinkable at her Aunt Gert’s funeral. This book is fun, funny, cute, and I loved the home renovation descriptions (of course).
- Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
This summer I decided to read a few classics. Thus, Far From the Madding Crowd…. The extent of my knowledge about Thomas Hardy is that he was recommended by Anastasia Steele in 50 Shades of Grey. That being said, I enjoyed the book. The words are wordy, but beautiful in a Dickens kind of way. The story is about a shepherd in love with the mistress and the life of all the people on the farm. It is a story of love, of bad decisions, of redemption and forgiveness. It also is one of those stories where you feel like you should discuss the archetypal characters with your English lit professor after you have finished.
- Beartown by Fredrik Backman
This one struck me hard. Being a Minnesota girl, I know hockey and I know Scandinavian personalities… aka Minnesota Nice. Also, I know a bit about small town living so this one struck me hard.
It is a tale of a hockey town where the hockey players, coaches, and the club are revered. Where truth is not spoken aloud. Where conversations begin and end with coffee. Where the good of the “club” is more important than – anything. When a terrible thing happens to one of the teenagers and the hockey star is accused, the town goes silent and then…
Beartown is an extremely well-told story. It made me feel excitement, love, confusion, horror, sadness, fear, the full gamut of emotions. Well done.
Sneak peek 🙂
Currently, I’m listening to Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. Just started so I don’t have much to say as of yet.
I would love to hear from you. What have you been reading this summer?