Books: I’ll Give You the Sun

July 20, 2016

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson was July’s selection for our book club at the library. I always wonder, when we get the next month’s book, whether I’ll like it. There has been a lot of variety in the books we’ve read over the past two years, and some have taken much more effort to finish than others. (One I just refused to read after the first twenty pages. As it happened that month’s meeting was cancelled anyway.)

I had left this one to read over the July 4th weekend, reasoning that I would have plenty of time to read and it would be easier to get through a book when I had fewer demands on my time. As it turned out, it was a very easy read, and I got interested enough in the characters that I somewhat reluctantly set it aside when the parade started. (With a son in the marching band, we had to get there way early. Naturally I had a book to read while we waited.)

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Back on my bike

July 9, 2016

I rode my bike a lot when I was growing up. My bike was a single-speed 20-inch with baskets in the back. It wasn’t fast, but I could carry a load of books back to the library and come home with a bunch more. On Saturdays I could ride from one garage sale (which I knew as a “tag sale” growing up in Connecticut) to another around town, occasionally buying a used paperback or jigsaw puzzle (as long as they could fit in my bike baskets).

Often I just rode my bike for the fun of riding it. When I was a teenager, I got a full-size bike, with three speeds, and I could manage hills better, but I still struggled to keep up on weekly bike rides with the local American Youth Hostels group. I dreamed of someday getting a ten-speed bike.

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Books: Ove

June 11, 2016

I just got back from two weeks vacation, where I had no internet access but lots of time to read books. (We spent a few days in upstate New York with relatives, back home for a day of doing laundry and repacking, then down to Branson, MO for a week.) So now I have to catch up, blogging on all the reading I’ve been doing.

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman, was our library book club’s selection this month. I don’t know what the rest of the group thought of it, because while they were meeting Monday evening, I was relaxing down in Branson. But I expect they liked it – it’s hard not to, once you get into it. I don’t think it’s “hysterically funny” as Kirkus Reviews puts it, but definitely funny – more of a dry humor, which I much prefer.

(Though it would be nice to know how to pronounce the main character’s name. I have seen several different versions, all with two syllables but with differences in the vowels used. Probably the Swedish vowel sounds do not have exact English equivalents.) Read the rest of this entry »


Books: The Art Forger

May 8, 2016

I checked The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro out of the library without taking much time to see what it was about, but it was a great choice. I really enjoyed the story, and learning about art along the way.

I probably would not have picked up a book to read about Degas – I’ve never been much of a fan of his paintings. And I had no reason to be interested in the history or methodology of art forgery. I knew that painting styles had changed over time, but I had thought of it primarily in terms of the kind of image created, not the way the brushstrokes are applied.

But I enjoy mysteries, and a mystery involving paintings seemed like a nice change after reading one involving human trafficking. And I’m always interested in learning something new, especially if I learn it in the course of listening to an entertaining story. (This was an audiobook, as a fair number of my book choices are these days.)

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Books: The Bees

May 7, 2016

The Bees by Laline Paull was our book club selection this month. It’s not quite a page-turner, but still a very interesting story. It’s hard to categorize – which is not a bad thing for a book – but it makes it harder to describe to someone.

The protagonist in the novel is Flora 717, a member of the lowest caste in her hive. They are the sanitation workers, keeping the hive clean by removing dirt and the bodies of dead bees. The rest of them seem content with their lot, but not Flora.

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Books: Dictator

April 25, 2016

If I had realized that Dictator was the final book of a trilogy I’d have tried to read the other two books first. I knew Robert Harris had written other novels about ancient Rome – I just didn’t realize they were part of a single story.

I wonder now how far I’d have gotten if I had started with Imperium. It’s been a long time since I took this long to get through a library book – I actually had to go back to the library to check it out a second time (after using up my 3-week renewal period).

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Books: The Invention of Wings

April 17, 2016

The Reading Challenge 2016 I’ve been using calls for me to read a “book from Oprah’s Book Club,” and I had been wondering what book I could find that I wanted to read from that list. The books I prefer to read and the books on that list do not generally coincide.

But our book club selection this month was The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, which I learned from the back cover is a selection of the Oprah Book Club 2.0. I don’t know what is different about the 2.0 list from the original, but all of us in the book club (well, those few of us who made it to this month’s meeting) thought this novel was well worth reading.

Before the meeting someone asked me if I enjoyed the book. I explained it’s hard to speak in terms of “enjoying” a book that describes the suffering of slaves, but it certainly was an engrossing book. I had thought, from the subject matter, it might take me a couple of weeks, reading it on and off, to finish it. But I finished it in two days.

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