Booking It: The Grown-Up Ones from May

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(I’m sure you can tell by the fact that I read 5 YA books in May that I totally agree with Anne about the silly Slate article …)

Side note: happy birthday to my wonderful daddy! Both of my parents instilled in me a great love for books and showed me how much they loved to read, too. I hope we’re doing the same for our kids.

Here are the “grown-up” books I read in May.

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn – I’ve heard about this book for years and wanted to read it for a long time. This quirky novel is written in epistolary form (letters), mostly between young Ella and her cousin, who live on opposite sides of the small island of Nollop.  I’ll let you click through and read the description on Amazon to get the plot synopsis. For some reason I find epistolary novels very appealing, and this one is a good dose of humor, a little political analysis, and a lot of linguistic education.

The Dinner by Herman Koch – One of my friends recommended this for faculty book club. We ended up reading Behind the Scenes at the Museum instead, but I wanted to see why she liked this one.

Woo, doggy. This is a dark, dark novel. It takes place over the “course” of a long dinner between two brothers and their wives, but with vast flashbacks. As the dinner progresses, you find out why the tension between the four is so great and the problem they seek to resolve.

I wish I had not stopped and read the GoodReads reviews partway through, so I don’t want to spoil anything for you. I will say this is not a book you will like, but one that could provoke a lot of thought and discussion.

Love Finds You in Sunset Beach, Hawaii by Robin Jones Gunn – I will read anything Robin Jones Gunn writes. I would read her grocery list. Seriously. It was fun to read about Sierra Jensen again and how her life has gone since the last time we saw her. This isn’t Gunn’s best work, but it’s still good and fulfills the Christy Miller fan-girl inside me.

How She Does It by Anne Bogel – Y’all know that I am kind of obsessed with Anne AKA Modern Mrs. Darcy right now. I just love her writing, so of course I had to dig in and read her ebook about working from home when she made it free. (It’s $4.99 now, but you can borrow it free for Kindle if you have Amazon Prime.) I wasn’t sure what I would get from it, since I don’t work outside the home, but I found it to be a well-researched piece on the history of women and work and where we stand as women in the present. I’m trying to think of myself as a work-at-home mom – because that’s what I am! – and this was super helpful to me right now and as I think of future options for our family.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – This was my second Kate Atkinson book in the span of two months, and I’m not sure I could handle another. I know I’m about a year behind on reading this 500+ page work, where Atkinson imagines a character who is born and reborn each time she dies many tragic deaths. As I found in Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Atkinson writes vivid, interesting characters, especially females. She focuses especially on the WW2-era Blitz in England, which I admit I don’t know that much about. But reading it moved me to tears … especially as Ursula experienced it over and over again, even once in Germany.

Life After Life is riveting and moving, gut-wrenching and perplexing, and I would definitely recommend it as a thought-provoking piece for lovers of literature and history.

Which brings me to this: would you change something in your past if you lived it again? 

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