Books Read January 1–June 1
- The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb (Melanie Benjamin)****
- Blue Shoe (Anne Lamott)****
- Breakfast at Tiffany's (Truman Capote)***
- City of Thieves (David Benioff)****
- Crucible, The (Arthur Miller)****
- The Dovekeepers (Alice Hoffman)****
- Expecting Adam (Martha Beck)*****
- The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)*****
- Interred with Their Bones (Jennifer Carrell)*
- Mad Girls in Love (Michael Lee West)**
- Moonflower Vine (Jetta Carleton)****
- Noah's Compass (Anne Tyler)***
- Orphan Train (Christina Baker Kline)***
- Other Voices, Other Rooms (Truman Capote)***
- Raisin in the Sun (Lorraine Hansberry)****
- Secret Keeper (Kate Morton)****
- The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey****
- Story of Beautiful Girl (Rachel Simon)*****
- Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Brontë)*****
- To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) Multiple re-read
- Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand)*****
- What Alice Forgot (Lianne Moriarty)****
Best Books So Far
- Unbroken: an absolutely stunning novel about survival and resilience during WWII (nonfiction)
- The Story of Beautiful Girl: Absolutely mesmerizing story of Lynnie, a beautiful inmate at the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded; Homan, a deaf man who is also locked away there; and Martha, a widow in her 70s who becomes tangled in their lives.
- Expecting Adam: Martha and John, young Harvard graduate students, find out the life-changing news: their unborn baby, a boy, has Down Syndrome. They are shocked beyond words. This is Harvard, the land of geniuses and IQs off the charts. There is no room in Harvard for anything "less" than "perfect." Terminate now, they are told over and over again. This is their family's beautiful story. (memoir)
- And, well, of course I have to add To Kill a Mockingbird, which I read again while teaching American Lit. It just never loses it's magic for me.
The good: What Alice Forgot. I almost put this one back on the shelf because the jacket description sounded silly, but I absolutely loved this story of what we'd like to keep forgotten.
The bad: Other Voices, Other Rooms. I've been wanting to read this Truman Capote novel for decades—since singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith came out with her album by the same name. She's holding a copy of the novel on the album cover. (Yes, I know there aren't "albums" anymore, but you know what I mean.) I was pretty disappointed in this short novel, which I actually bought with delight at Shakespeare and Co. Bookseller while we were in Paris.
Books Read in Book Club
- Interred with Their Bones. Mixed reviews in book club, but the general consensus was similar to my review.
- Moonflower Vine. Well-received. Those who read it loved it!
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Unfortunately that was a book club in which only a few members could come, so we didn't have much discussion. But this is one of my favorites! I did a paper on it in graduate school.
|Where Hemingway and Hadley lived in Paris|
Movies/Plays from Books
• With my American Lit class, I watched The Crucible and Ethan Frome. I loved both of them, although I've seen them both before. We're going to be getting together this summer to watch To Kill a Mockingbird and a few other classic movies based on American literature.
• We also went to see the play A Raisin in the Sun at the Clarence Brown Theatre at the campus of U. Tenn. The kids seemed to like the play pretty well. I love hearing them discuss how this actor wasn't what he expected, or how a particular scene was done differently that she imagined from reading the play.
• I watched Sarah's Key finally. I liked it well enough, but it's been years since I read the book. I've heard others say they didn't like the movie at all because it deviated so much from the book; fortunately, I have a short memory for such things.
• I'm really looking forward to seeing The Great Gatsby. I re-read the novel (my old college copy) on the train from Paris to Normandy and loved it almost as much as I did way back when. I think I loved it most in college, but I remember some great discussions from my high school English class as well. We got to France right before the movie was released, and the metro was plastered with movie posters. They're excited in France, too!
Added to My TBR List
- The Keeper of Secrets by Julie Thomas.
- The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani.
- A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
- The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
- 41 False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers by Janet Malcolm
- Ghost Moth by Michele Forbes
- Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford
- And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
- Riding the Bus with My Sister by Rachel Simon
- The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy
- Clair de Lune by Jetta Carleton
- In My Father's Country by Saima Wahab
- Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss
- Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
- Losing Julia by Jonathan Hull
- Astray by Emma Donoghue
- The Round House by Louise Erdrich
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
- Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Mataxas
And last, but not least, a few more bookish photos from our trip to France!
|Jesse at Baudelaire's grave|
|Samuel Beckett, no longer waiting for Godot|
|Victor Hugo's tomb marker in the crypt beneath the Pantheon|
|And a bit about Les Mis while in the Paris sewers. Yes, really.|
|My oldest, an English major, loved the booksellers along the Seine|
|Breathing in the history, walking in the footsteps of great writers!|
|We all had to buy a book or two.|
|Beneath the Pantheon.|
And that is my mid-year update! Now, to get back to regular book reviews!