Or something like that. These days, the mail is bringing books – mostly ARCs for my new reviewing gig at Shelf Awareness. I am SO excited to be part of the review team for this thoughtful, informative, often hilarious publication. (I’ll let you know when my reviews start going up!)
So, on to the May reads, part 1:
Summer Friends, Holly Chamberlin
This is my first review for the Shelf, so I can’t say too much about it here – but it’s a tale of a long friendship, set in the lush summer landscape of Maine.
And I Shall Have Some Peace There, Margaret Roach
I really wanted to love this book. “Trading in the fast lane for my own dirt road” – isn’t that, in some way, what I dream of? Being in control of my own days, far from the urban rush and press? Roach is a talented writer, but I found this memoir a little lacking. She didn’t convince me she was really happy with her decision – too much focus on the loneliness, the fear, and (ugh) the snakes.
The Soldier’s Wife, Margaret Leroy
Oh, I loved this wartime story set on Guernsey (echoes of that other Guernsey book I love). The tenderness between a mother and her daughters, the sacrifices of wartime (small and large), the courageous acts of kindness done by strangers and friends…bittersweet but beautiful. And gorgeously written.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne Valente
A fantastically fun story, elaborately detailed – it took me a little while to get into, but once I was into it, I loved the tale of September and her quest through Fairyland. Such a fun cast of supporting characters, and a satisfying (if bittersweet) ending. (And a great passage on washing your courage.)
Knit the Season, Kate Jacobs
Good old-fashioned comfort reading, with characters I know and like, and a dose of knitting fun. And a Christmas in Scotland, which I found delightful.
Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind, Ann B. Ross
The first in a series featuring Miss Julia, a Southern woman of a certain age whose life is turned upside down after her husband dies. Entertaining and even touching at times, though predictable. I like Miss Julia, but her housekeeper, Lillian, has far more sense and spunk.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
I’d heard about this book from lots of folks – but was unprepared for its quiet power. A heartbreaking, courageous tale of life in Nazi Germany during World War II, involving accordions, a boy obsessed with Jesse Owens, an unusual narrator (Death himself), and quite a lot of thievery. Fantastic.
The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall
Found at the Brattle for $4. The four Penderwick sisters spend a few weeks at a cottage in the Berkshires with their father, trying (and failing utterly) to stay out of trouble. They succeed, however, at being charming, loving one another, and having all kinds of adventures.
I’m in the middle of three books right now, with several more in the queue. Just the way I like it. What are you reading lately?