Summer is almost over! I cannot believe it. I start school next Tuesday which means my reading time will take a hit. This month I managed to read 7 books! I read some of my favorites of the year this month and cannot wait to share them with you. If you decide you want to read one of the books, click below the picture and it will take you to Amazon and kick a small commission my way as I am now an Amazon affiliate. Do not forget to link your Amazon account to AmazonSmile for Cascade View Christian School (more on that here).
Let’s get to bantering about books.
1. The Green Mile by Stephen King
This was my first Stephen King novel and I had never seen the movie. I know, I know, super weird and practically a reading crime . I have heard my mom rave about the book and the movie for years. Which meant I knew I’d love it, but also that is would make me bawl like a baby, because that is my mom’s book style, ok and mine too. I picked it up on audible right before I put my account on hold because I was wracking up credits faster than I could listen to audiobooks. This book lived up to all the hype. I loved it. The story was intriguing and beautiful. The characters were so well written. My one complaint is that I didn’t love the end. I would have been more satisfied if the last chapter had never happened, but it was so excellent otherwise I forgive Stephen King for that. I cannot stop thinking about this book and I finished it at the very beginning of the month. It has a place on the list of my favorite books of all time, and that is saying something since I love books and read often. I wish I could have read this as the serial it was meant to be when it first came out. But really; get it, read it, love it.
2. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Warning, do not start this book while on a plane. It opens up with a plane crash. This plane crash is what drives the plot of the book as only two people survive it; one the young son of the man that chartered the plane and the other an artist that is on the plane for reasons many people find mysterious. The story of what caused the plane to go down introduces the reader to a wide range of intriguing characters. I had heard great things about this book so my expectations were high. I thought it was a fun story. I liked the flashbacks that led up to the plane crash and the relationship between the two survivors. I love the title. But this book fell a little short for me. I thought I would be picking up a page turning summer read, but it wasn’t compelling enough for me. I also read it right after The Green Mile so there is that. Overall it was a good quick read, but it wasn’t my favorite of the summer.
3. Wildwood by Colin Meloy
This is my children’s literature pick for August and it is the first book in a three book series. My wonderful friend bought me the hardback set for Christmas last year and they are gorgeous. The author is a fairly well known musician and his wife created the gorgeous illustrations for the books. I would hang prints from the story in my house, that is how much I like them. It also helps that they match my living room color scheme. The author lives in Portland, OR and the story is set in a wood in a neighborhood in Portland. I loved that the story took place so near to me. I would describe it like a modern day Narnia, without as much allegory and with some Portland flavor. There are two main characters; a young boy and girl, that venture into the Wildwood, a place no one in Portland goes. They find themselves there when the girl’s baby brother is kidnapped by crows and taken into the wood. Both humans and talking animals help them navigate the battle between good and evil that is enveloping Wildwood. They discover they have a bigger part to play in the battle than they bargained for. I enjoyed this story a lot. It make me chuckle a few times and I could believe (magic aside) that this could happen in kooky Portland. I think it would be a great read for 4th grade and up (or younger depending on your child’s maturity) boys and girls. Reading it aloud would be fun as well! I am looking forward to the next book.
4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
I am a Harry Potter fan. I have read all of the books more than 4 times each and watch the movies frequently too. I grew up with Harry. Even though the books were set before my growing up years I was pretty close to the same age as Harry when the first book came out. I love Harry Potter so much I even added nods to the books in my wedding. So when this book/play came out I was not excited. Yes, you read that correctly. I had made peace with the fact that the series was over. I didn’t need to know what happened next. In fact, I hated the epilogue that went with the last book and pretend like I never read it. And this play picks up right where the epilogue left off. There were parts of this I enjoyed; the spirit of adventure, Ron, being back in my favorite enchanted land, Ron, Scorpius Malfoy and did I mention Ron? There were also parts that I didn’t enjoy; Harry, the story line, the stage directions, the parts about Polyjuice, etc. I think I would have enjoyed this much more on the stage. One of the stage directions read, “Draco walks up on stage and stands beside Ginny. This is almost a Spartacus moment. There are gasps.” Really? They had to put that bit in there about Spartacus? I laughed a ton reading the stage directions. So that was good. In my brain this is not connected to the Happy Potter series, but it was a fun read.
5. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
This classic has been on my list for awhile and I finally got around to reading it because it is on this book list. I am trying to read through a book from each letter until I have read the whole list! This was my first pick for the letter B. I am not sure what I was expecting with this book but it took me awhile to get into it. It reminded me a bit of The Sun Also Rises, because it featured young people drinking a lot, doing nothing with their lives and talking about how rough their families make it for them. But, I felt like I got more out of the Hemingway novel than I did this one. There were some very excellent sentences like, “I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.” Another good one was, “His heart; some long word at the heart. He is dying of a long word.” So there were some bright spots and a character of two that I enjoyed. I think I would have liked this better if I had read it for a book club and could discuss it with someone.
6. The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
This was my historical fiction fix for the month. The book is set in Paris during the Nazi occupation of WWII. The architect the book is titled after is a modernist Parisian architect who finds himself constructing creative hiding places for the Jewish people who are still stuck in Paris. At first, he is not really sympathetic to the Jews he is hiding, but as he continues his work his feelings change. It doesn’t help that to hide what he is doing, he has to start taking German contracts to design factories for them. There are more personal twists and turns throughout the whole book. This was a great read for me; I couldn’t put it down. I am excited to look into other books by this author. Content warning: there are racy scenes, bad language and some brutal scenes. Be warned, if you are very sensitive to those types of things this might not be the book for you.
7. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
This book. How have I waited this long to read it? It was so so so so good. I listened to it on audio and found myself going on longer walks, or sitting in the garage so I could listen to it for a bit longer. This book is the semi-autobiographical story of a veterinarian in England in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The stories are based on the author’s real experiences as a vet in the countryside, which means he treats both large and small animals. The stories range from light-hearted to gut wrenching, with a bit of gross in between. But this isn’t just a book about animals; it is about people too. With each story you really get an understanding of the characters and how they are changing and growing because of their experiences. This is one of my favorites of the year and probably another to add to the list of my favorites of all time. I love books that are about real life, but have been written by an author that has lived an examined life. So good. Content warning: there are medical terms for both male and female body parts and some graphic death and birth scenes.
So that is it for my August reading! These were great picks for me to end the summer with and now I am looking towards some darker reads this fall. What did you read in August? What was your favorite book of the summer? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,
I love you more than healing pigs and building site digs,