Book By Book
August 31 – yay! I am ready for fall and very sick of the heat and humidity and non-stop storms we’ve had here this summer. The temperatures finally dropped out of the 90′s this weekend. Sunday was cool enough (70′s) that we could open up our windows and turn off the air-conditioning for the first time in months – ahhh! I even wore jeans this weekend. More storms coming this week, and we will be back to 90′s and humid for a few days, but I am ready for that cooler, drier fall weather.
Busy, busy here still. Our youngest son moved out into his own apartment two weeks ago! That means our grocery bills have dropped significantly – ha ha. My husband and I have been helping him shop for a couch (graduation gift), stock up on kitchen essentials, and set things up.
I am still having more than my usual number of sick days, due to chronic illness, so that gets in the way of productivity! I did manage to appear on a video podcast recorded this weekend. It was for physical therapists who work with patients with my illness, and I was one of the patients speaking. It was fun and went well–nice to meet “in person” (on Zoom) people I have only interacted with online–though it was quite tiring.
The 2020 Big Book Summer Challenge ends one week from today! It has been one of the highlights of this summer for me and I know for others as well. The challenge had record participation this year, and everyone seemed to enjoy the experience.
If you participated, visit the challenge page at the link to leave any links to Big Book reviews or challenge wrap-ups (neither is required) and/or visit the Goodreads group to let us know what Big Books you have finished.
I am hoping to finish my last Big Book this week (it’s been a hefty one!), and I finished my last Big Book audio last night. Although … I do have a YA novel on audio that is exactly 400 pages in print. I wonder if I could fit in one more … ?
Here’s what we’ve all been reading this past week:
I am still reading my latest and last Big Book Summer Challenge book, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, a Big Book and a classic that I have been wanting to read for ages. I love Dickens, read several of his books in school, and so many people have told me that this one is their favorite. I was immediately pulled into the story and am loving the title character, who–like many of Dickens’ characters–is a good person who suffered some horrible mistreatment as a child. David’s father died before he was born, but he had a warm, loving relationship with his mother and with the kind maid/nurse who helped care for them both. The trouble begins when his mother remarries (nice to see an evil stepfather, for a change). The novel follows David through the twists and turns of his life–and there are lots of twists! It really is a VERY big book; I’m still enjoying the story but getting sick of holding such a heavy book up when I read. Dickens’ writing is so clever and witty that the novel, like his others, is highly entertaining. And now I just heard there is a new movie adaptation just released!
I just finished listening to a Big Book on audio, American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. I think probably everyone has heard about this one! The story is about a woman, Lydia, and her son who live in Acapulco. She runs a bookstore and has a happy life, until her husband publishes a tell-all article about the city’s biggest drug cartel leader. After the cartel guns down their entire family, Lydia and her son are forced to flee for the United States, with their lives in grave danger. The novel follows them on their harrowing journey. This novel, released in January 2020, caused some controversy, since the author is not Mexican (though she does have a Puerto Rican grandmother), writing a novel about Mexican immigrants. I have no problem with Cummins writing this novel. Yes, absolutely, the publishing industry needs to be more inclusive and work to bring in more writers of color to tell their own stories, but in the meantime, this is an important story to tell, and Cummins writes it well and spent years doing research to get the details right. The book has certainly attracted many accolades and much attention (controversy aside). It is a fast-paced, suspenseful, and riveting novel that is also moving and powerful.
My husband, Ken, finished another Father’s Day gift and another Big Book, The Never Game by Jeffrey Deaver, the first book in a new series. We are both huge fans of Deaver and his Lincoln Rhyme series (if you haven’t yet seen the TV show based on that series, check it out–it’s excellent). This novel is a departure for Deaver, the start of a new series about Colter Shaw, an expert tracker who travels around the country, hiring himself out to find missing persons and to help the police. When a young woman goes missing in Silicon Valley, her father hires Colter to find her. Deaver writes outstanding thrillers, so I’m sure this one is good, too! Ken enjoyed it very much and said he likes the main character even better than Lincoln Rhyme and wants to read more of the series. That pretty much says it all.
Now, Ken has started a historical thriller from my Dad’s book collection that we inherited, Hornet Flight by Ken Follett. We both love Follett’s novels, and this is one of his many spy war thrillers. It’s set in 1941 during WWII and focuses on an eighteen-year-old young man who discovers a secret that could change the war for England. He needs to tell someone, but his only way to get to England from an isolated island is with an old Hornet Moth biplane, rusting in a barn. It sounds like an intriguing and unique premise, and knowing how Follett writes thrillers, I’m sure it is action-packed, twisty, and suspenseful. This is actually another Big Book, though my husband doesn’t expect to finish it in a week. Follett is known for his page-turners, so we’ll see!
Our son, 26, is still enjoying a birthday gift from his girlfriend (she knows him well!), Red Country by Joe Abercrombie, one of his favorite fantasy authors. He loved reading The First Law trilogy by this author, and this book is one of three sort-of stand-alone novels that are set in the same world but focused on different characters. This one is about Shy South, a woman who’s been wronged and sets out to get her family back. Even though it’s fantasy, this book has an Old West feel to it (though with swords, not guns–an important distinction for my fantasy-loving son), including wide plains, a frontier town, and a gold rush. He’s thoroughly enjoying it so far.
I only managed one other blog post last week:
Movie Monday: The Rainmaker – adapted from a John Grisham novel, directed by Frances Ford Coppola, and with an all-star cast, this legal drama was very entertaining.
What Are You Reading Monday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date, so head over and check out her blog and join the Monday fun! You can also participate in a kid/teen/YA version hosted by Unleashing Readers.
What are you and your family reading this week?
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