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The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – I’m not sure what possessed me to pick up this huge book. Probably some blogger mentioned it or I saw someone read it on GoodReads. I’ve never read anything by Wolitzer before. This is the saga of friends who meet at summer camp in the 70s, following them into the present day. It wasn’t bad and I did keep reading it to the end, all 481 pages. But there was a time 100 pages in where I thought about stopping, and I kind of wish I had. There’s not a lot of depth to it, although the characters are fairly interesting. Might appeal more to those who are in their 50s and can remember the historical and cultural events that take place in the novel.
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo – Adorable little novel, part graphic novel-ish, aimed at the 8-12-year-old set. Flora is 10 and loves comic books, specifically the great Incandesto. When she spots a vacuum transforming a squirrel into a superhero at her neighbor’s house, things get a little wacky and a lot fun. This is incredibly quirky, but there is nothing I wouldn’t read aloud to my 5-year-old, which I love. Innovative, sweet, and a happy ending. It won a 2014 Newberry Medal as well.
The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes - I think Moyes did a beautiful job with this historical fiction-modern fiction cross. Such an interesting story, set in WW1, an era I am honestly not familiar with at all. Jill recommended this highly to me, and I recommend it to you, especially if you like historical fiction.
The River of Time Series by Lisa T. Bergren – I knew I wanted to reread this wonderful series before the final book, Deluge, was released in August. It is a YA, historical fiction, time travel, Christian-y series of novels. Yes, that sounds weird, and I put off reading them for awhile because of that. But Mary insisted I read them … and once I started I couldn’t stop. They were just as delightful in the reread. Romantic, exciting, funny, and just all-around wonderful. Five stars from me! I think Bergren did a fabulous job wrapping up the series with Deluge. I cried, I grinned, and it was extremely satisfying as a novel.
Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman – I really like Dr. Leman and his methods. While I don’t agree with everything he writes, I do see better behavior from my children when I follow through with his disciplinary techniques.
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis – The amazing story of Katie Davis’s journey to becoming a foster mother of many children in Uganda and a world-changer at a very young age. I reviewed this for a magazine when it first came out, so this was another reread. But Katie’s story inspires me so much to get out and DO something. I was glad to get this copy at Allume last year that had an update on one of the big stories in the book.
Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy – Classically Maeve. Lovely collection of short stories based around the Dublin neighborhood Chestnut St. Everyone’s cheating, everyone’s unhappy, but by the end they are all a little bit better. Except for the ones who are truly awful. I enjoyed it more than other short story collections by her, but maybe because I treasure her words more now that she has passed.
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian – I’ve been a fan of Bohjalian since I listened to Midwives in my car years ago. This one is less mystery than the other tales I’ve read by him. We read the words of Emily, a teenager who loses everything when the nuclear power plant where her parents work explodes, and her father is blamed for the crisis. I found the juxtaposition between Emily and Victoria from The Language of Flowers to be interesting, since both novels follow homeless teens for a while. Close Your Eyes is truthful, sad, and utterly readable.
Abandoned: Lolita by Nabakov. Just could not do it. Too icky. I recognize that the writing is excellent, but too many mental images I do not need in my life. I think I made it about 150 pages.
What have you read that’s great lately?