We have some Europe and some wilderness, some Wales, some Pakistan, two troubled teens, some geezers, a young man, paranoia and mistrust and the rolling hills of Ireland!

Let us begin!

Gretchen, one of those who were amongst the vacationing this week weighs in with two very different reads;  Jack 1939 and Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. “I read and loved Jack 1939 by Francine Matthews.  It is a fictional account of young JFK in Europe during WWII spying for FDR. The author is a former CIA agent who did a lot of research!  Wild by Cheryl Strayed is a book I almost couldn't read because it hit so close to home, but her journey to find peace through loss in the wilderness struck a chord with me while reading it under a canopy of trees in the woods myself. She went into the hike a lost soul in Southern California, grossly unprepared, but came out strong and more centered at the Washington border. A gutsy woman and a great read. . I can't imagine Strayed didn't go into the long trek with a book in mind, but it was a terrific read nevertheless.”

Also amongst the vacationing was Abby who weighs in with this: “With one of the most intriguing/creepy covers I've seen on a book, it's been my goal to read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs since it was released.  I am very happy it got to the top of my pile.  Jacob is a 16 year boy very close to his grandfather, Abe.  Their special bond is not shared by Jacob's family who knew Abe to be more aloof and yes, maybe a little crazy. I am currently at the point where Jacob is heading to a remote island off the coast of Wales to learn more about his grandfather's past and help heal his own wounds.  Were Abe's ramblings those of an old man who has lived through too much, or the result of an extraordinary existence? This book is punctuated by fascinating (ie: creepy) vintage photography and visuals.  It is listed as YA, but don't let that stop you.  Ok, I'm going back to read now.”

Barbara M. (not a vacationeer)  is reading The Perfect Gentleman: A Muslim Boy Meets the West by Imran Ahmad. It's the memoir of a Pakistani boy who at the age of one immigrated with his family to England. So far the book is entertaining and somewhat droll but not living up to the rave reviews and hype it’s received. I’m only about a quarter of the way through the book though, so, I’m hoping it gets better as it continues.  What I’m finding the most interesting are his insights into the similarities of the three major religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam."

Caroline who whilst a vactioneer was more of a staycationeer says she enjoyed What the Nanny Saw by Fiona Neill last week. “It’s an addictive page turner that revolves around a wealthy British family and their nanny, Ali, who is taking a year off from university.  She soon becomes immersed in  the lives of the children (7-year-old twins and two troubled teenagers), and when financial scandal breaks she finds herself right in the middle of it.  If you loved The Darlings by Cristina Alger, here's a similar but slightly beachier read for the summer!”

Jeanne has noticed a trend!  “Has anyone else noticed how many geezer love stories there have been in the past couple of years? Everyone turn up their hearing aids! There was divorcé Liam Pennywell in Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler, widower Major Ernest Pettigrew in Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson, Percy Darling in The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass, and now widower Edward Schuyler in An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer. I just finished this last one. There are others and I loved them all! Each novel tells of a retired widower or divorcé who finds himself in an unfamiliar station in life. Sometimes his family treats him differently; sometimes his friends try to play matchmaker, and in most cases he is navigating a new set of social mores. Edward misses his wife deeply, but the story turns to amusing and a little chaotic when his stepchildren take out a personal ad for him. He is ......an available man!”

Stephanie is  turning to an old friend . “This week I have been rereading Martin Amis. I love him!, Lionel Asbo: State of England is coming out in a few weeks, which I thought was fantastic!


Pat S. has just finished City of Women by David R. Gillham.  “Taking place in Berlin toward the end of the war, Gillham creates an atmosphere tense with the paranoia and mistrust that characterized even the most quotidian exchanges between neighbors. The heroine Sigrid is an ordinary German housewife living with her mother-in-law while her husband defends the Fatherland at the front. The story follows Sigrid as she meets and befriends a young woman working for the underground; as she pines over memories of her Jewish lover; as she becomes lovers with a wounded German SS officer- as she slowly begins to actively make choices. This is a riveting story about the ordinary and the extraordinary,-and re-defining ones' own moral compass in a world that no longer operates according to established rules.This is an excellent read. ”

Pat T. is wishing she had some sand between her toes! “I am enjoying Tana French's latest detective mystery book Broken Harbor and I would like to be sitting on a beach so I could read it straight through to the end. Seasoned Detective Kennedy and rookie Detective Curran are assigned a murder investigation in Brainstown - one of the many new development communities that have cropped up all over the rolling hills of Ireland. Detective Kennedy has a personal stake in this case since this community, once called Broken Harbor,  was a town that has mixed family memories for him. While dealing with the pressures of this case he is also caught up with his sister Dina's breakdown. When I finish Broken Harbor I am going into the stacks to look for Tana French's other books In the Woods, Faithful Place and The Likeness.”

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