Sunday, July 5, 2015

What I Read in June

I read an interesting mix of books last month. I started several more that I didn't like and returned to the library. My mother visited and returned 2 of my Margaret Atwood books so I can finally read them. My plans had been to make this a Margaret Atwood summer, but so far I haven't read any. My mom also read one of the books I had out from the library in the 2 days she was here. Guess I know where my love of books comes from. 

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
This was a reread for me but my daughter and I both read it as part of our Mother-Daughter book club. This was one of my favourite books growing up and I wanted to know if it held up. It did. I remembered most of what happened and it was fun to discuss how expectations for women have changed in the past 100 years with my daughter. She enjoyed it, too. If you haven't read it before a basic summary is: Valancy is a young woman in her late 20's, living with her mother and aunt and is expected to be an old maid. Her extended family teases and makes jokes about her. She goes to see a doctor and is told that she has less than a year to live so she decides to do what she wants. She moves out to take care of an old friend who is dying and marries without telling her family. Of course the diagnosis ends being wrong and a happy ending for Valancy follows.

Blood Lyrics by Katie Ford
A collection of poems. I should have written down my thoughts after I read it. I enjoyed most of the poems but some were better than others. I think poetry, and a person's reaction to it, are very personal so I don't know if I'd ever recommend a book of poetry. I enjoyed this one and others might as well. 

Recipes for a Beautiful Life : A Memoir in Stories by Rebecca Barry
If I had to pick a favourite from last month, this would be it. Read over a few days, I really liked this one. The book is journal entries of the author as her and her family move to the country so she can write her next novel and her husband can start a magazine. Off course nothing goes right. The house is a money pit, they have a second kid, the economy crashes and her second novel is a dud. I related to the author so much, even though we are very different people. I identified with her struggle as a mother and a writer and trying to balance the two. And fitting into a new town. I've moved several times, both as a child and since I've been married and I know what it's like to get to know a new town and new people all too well. The part that sticks out in my mind, is when her sister comes to town (she lives on the west coast, they live on the east), they all go see a therapist and get all their issues out before they spend time together. I love this idea but would never do it with my family. I think there are lots of people who would enjoy this book: moms, creatives, people who enjoy reading memoirs and anyone who wants to try something new. 

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
This is one of those read in a day books. Done by the author of "The Red Tent", (I finally watched that miniseries in June. Meh. Well done but just left me angry with how women were, and are, treated). This book is narrated by the 85 year old Boston Girl, Addie, to her granddaughter in 1985. It looks back at her childhood and how she met her husband. Her parents and older sister immigrated from Russia and Addie was born in the U.S.A. Like most of Diamant's characters, they are Jewish, and I find it interesting to learn more about the Jewish religion/culture when I read her books. It was enjoyable and I'd recommend it. It reminded me of "The Stone Angel" by Margaret Laurence and "The Stone Diaries" by Carol Shields.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Graphic novel. My husband read it first and thought the rest of us might like it, so we all read it. I really enjoyed the story and the drawings were great. It's nice to read a graphic novel that isn't graphic with violence or sexy women. It started as an online comic and you can find it here. If there are more Nimona books in the future, I would definitely read them. It doesn't take long to read, so if you're looking for a quick read and enjoy battles between good and evil, you might like this.

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