On the fifteenth of the month I link up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and share the books I read the previous month. I’ve made a concerted effort to read more this year, and I’m finding that keeping track of what I’ve read and sharing my favorites has helped make that possible. (More thoughts on how I read more here.) Plus, I love a good book talk. April was lost to disease in our house-everyone was sick more than once, including me. The only plus to this kind of sick that keeps you horizontal is that you’ve got plenty of time to read, and read I did. I made my way through some good ones this month.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh
The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd and the Coffee + Crumbs team
A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny
A Movable Feast by Earnest Hemingway
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon is a delightful YA novel about two teens in New York City. Natasha is an illegal immigrant, brought to the states at age nine by her parents, who is about to be deported back to Jamaica. She meets Daniel, a Korean-American teen on the morning she is frantically trying every last ditch effort to stop her impending deportment. The book follows the two throughout the day as they fall in love (as only two teens can in a few hours), fall apart and come back together. The book also injects chapters from the point of view of the many people they encounter throughout the day. It was a charming book with surprising depth about family, home, young love, and that universal truth that there is always more to people that what you see on the surface. I really loved this book and would recommend it to teens and adults alike.
R.J. Palacio’s Wonder is an upper grades children’s novel. I picked it up because I’d heard great things about it, but also because I’d wanted something new to read with Liam. Its main character, Auggie, is a young boy with severe facial deformities due to a genetic condition he was born with. Auggie has been homeschooled his whole life but as the book begins we find that he’s about the start the fifth grade, middle school for this New York City school. Auggie’s facial deformities are such that people react instinctually and poorly upon seeing him. The book follows his fifth grade year as he makes friends, deals with bullies and adjusts to life in school, all told through the perspectives of Auggie and the people who surround him. I loved this book and I loved reading it with Liam. I’d intended to read it to him each night, but he was quickly hooked and went ahead without me. This left us fighting for possession of the book regularly. It was on the high end of Liam’s reading level and I’m glad I read it along side him because we were able to check in on comprehension stuff. Plus, my book nerdery loves chatting books with my kid. A super sweet book that gives kids a chance to practice empathy and understanding. I loved it.
Before I’d even picked up I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh I knew it was a fast paced story with a twist “you never see coming.” This meant, naturally, I was on high alert, my mind forming theory after theory as I read as to what this twist must be. And even though I’d been warned, even though I’d been looking for it, there was indeed a twist that smacked me right in the face, so unprepared was I for it. This is the story of a boy who dies in a hit and run, the detectives following the case, and how it all can change in a moment. Mackintosh does a really good job with multiple perspectives. It was well written, engaging and with a killer twist.
Coffee + Crumbs is a collaborative website with stories from motherhood. This book, The Magic of Motherhood, is a collection of essays from the women who run the blog. I caught wind of it because one of the writers, Anna Jordan, is the daughter of Ryann’s beloved pre-school teacher. It is a beautiful book, both the writing and the images sprinkled throughout. The essays are a great mix of voices and topics and I love that it covers all aspects of motherhood: from pregnancy through birth, joys and loss, biological, foster care and adoption. You can find traces of your unique story in all aspects of this book. It would make a great gift for a new mom, or an experienced one.
A Rule Against Murder is the fourth in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. I’d heard that she hits her stride by the fourth book, each becoming better and I did find this one to be my favorite so far. A Moveable Feast by Hemingway was our book club pick. I probably wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise, but I was glad I read it and terribly disappointed when the plague that was April kept me from book club that month to discuss it. It was an interesting look at Hemingway’s life as an unknown writer in Paris. The English major nerd in me loved seeing his encounters with other well known writers from that time. It also made me want to pick up and move to Paris, but only if I could also go back in time to the 1920's. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Schumer’s first memoir, was interesting, insightful and funny. I fell in love with Schumer when I saw her randomly on Ellen once, and I’ve long loved her stuff, relating to it in so many ways while also feeling like she is often on a different planet than me. The book felt the same. She is funny and smart and I inherently “got” her but also felt completely foreign from her. Which, for me, makes it a great voice.
That’s what I had in April. What are you reading?