Good Reads - July 2013

So we cancelled our tv service which appears to have led to a serious book binge.  I read a ton this month.  Here's how I spent my down time:

The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

This book is hard for me to explain so I'll just give you a quick rundown.  The book centers around a deaf-mute man and follows four people's story lines.  These four people have very different lives; one is a man wandering from town to town, one owns a diner, one is a black doctor, and one is a young girl.  The book is set in the South in 1940 and covers a wide range of topics from race, poverty, and the human condition.  I had a hard time following part one of the book but am so glad I stuck with it.  I really liked the rest of the book once I got the characters straight.  It was a book that made me think and I like that.

Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

A few family members recommended this book and it was a good one.  It roped me in from the start.  It is about a mom who was a notorious woman.  Married to a big shot at Microsoft, Mother of a genius child, social outcast at the PTA of her daughters private school.  She is opinionated and a little bit crazy.  She is so antisocial that she hires an assistant that lives in India to do all her tasks.  Then she disappears.  The book is pretty much a compilation of letters, emails, documents, and other things that her daughter puts together trying to find where her Mom has gone.  I did not like the ending of this book at all, but the rest of it was a good read.

When I Found You by Catherine Hyde

This one is our book club pick for August and it is one of my favorites.  I'll be up in Minnesota the week of our meeting and I'm pretty bummed to miss it.  This is the story of a man who finds a baby in the woods one morning while he is hunting.  The man wants to keep the baby, but the police locate the maternal grandmother and she decides to raise the baby.  The grandmother doesn't share anything about the boy's story so he only knows what he overhears.  This leads to some big rebellion and the grandmother decides she cannot take any more and drops the teenage boy off at the man's house.  The majority of the story follows their relationship.  It was an emotional book for me for a ton of reasons and I thought it was very accurate to what a lot of kids have to deal with when they are abandoned or abused.  Josie was abandoned at the hospital by her birth mom so this really struck a cord with me.  I absolutely loved the way the book ended.  Highly recommend this one.

Unschooling Rules by Clark Aldrich

I love all books that have to do with schools and different options to reform them. This one isn't so much about how to reform the schools as it is how we need to refocus our thinking about schools.  The author gives 55 rules to unlearn what we think about school.  His rules are really good.  He doesn't spend the book browbeating our country's current education system, but he does point out truths about how kids learn and how schools fail to meet these needs.  Each rule is a chapter and only a page or two long which made this an easy book to read.  My highlighter worked overtime in this one.  I'm glad I read it before we start this school year since it reminded me of the things I want to focus on.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Earlier this year I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and could not put it down.  I read it in record time and spent days after I finished thinking about it.  It was strange in an intriguing way.  I saw Sharp Objects on a late night Target run and tossed it in my cart.  I finally got around to reading it this month and it was even more addicting then Gone Girl was.  Same strange thriller type story line, same characters that pulled me in.  This one is a lot shorter then her other books and I finished it in a few days.  It's about a reporter from a small town that has a ton of her own issues.  After a rough childhood she moves to the city and doesn't return to her hometown.  Until girls begin to be murdered and she is sent home on assignment for the paper she works for.  You learn a lot about her family and where her issues come from and every chapter brings you deeper into the crazy home life she came from.  The ending was creepy.

*disclaimer: like Gone Girl, this book has some graphic parts and is a thriller.  if you're easily offended, you'll want to skip this one.  it's not the whole book or even a big part of it, but i wouldn't want you caught off guard.

Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews

I read one of Mary Kay Andrews books last month and really liked it so I borrowed a few more from Darlene.  I couldn't decide if I liked this one or not.  It is about a woman in Savannah who finds out her husband is cheating.  They get a divorce but she refuses to move off the property and lives in the garage in the backyard while the mistress moves into the house with her ex-husband.  Did you follow that?  She is a picker for antique stores and while snooping around the biggest estate sale in Savannah, she discovers the body of the mistress.  The story sort of follows her love life, the estate sales, and the murder investigation.  It was OK.  Not one of my favorites, but still a good summer read.

Stewart Little by E.B. White

This was Josie's read aloud this month.  We are trying to find a balance between her reading to me and me reading to her.  This month it worked well for her to read to me before naps and me to do our read alouds at bedtime.  This book was really cute.  It's about a mouse that was born to a human family.  The first half of the book sets up his life and how he lives in a big human world and the second half is about him going on an adventure looking for his bird friend that has disappeared.  I never read this as a kid and thought is was really good.  Josie loved it too. When we finished it, we had a movie night and watched the movie Stewart Little.  It was nothing like the book, but we all still liked the movie.  Josie said the book was better.  Score!


Nicole said...

You should also pick up Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. It's got quite a twist. I am going to get Sharp Objects next. I have to read other books in between hers because they are so affecting.

Ready Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand right now. Good.

Tracy said...

I think I'm going to have to pick up a copy of Sharp Objects, too. Thanks for sharing your recommendations!