Welcome to the last YAWYR for Summer 2013. The picture is our Labor Day equivalent to The Egg Tree. Except that Fudge and Taffy are way yummier. Thanks Patty McC! And we welcome you back from The State Which Should Not Be Named but rhymes with Meat Chicken. Remember! It is not too late to try to buy our love. In fact, it is never too late and chocolate is always the answer. It will, however, be too late to rock the white so get it in while you can. Sweet Ann, who originally brought us The Egg Tree, feels that my mood this week could be a little sweeter. I am sure that come Saturday and the promise of a nice long weekend will greatly improve that situation. Have no fear. And because it is supposed to be not a very nice weekend we bring you all sorts of wonderful things to share your covered porch with. This week we have a mouse, a shag but not of the Carolina kind, immigrants, some twisted and troubled, sadism, an eight, and Trench Warfare.
Let us begin!
Miss Kiera of the CL is charmed I am sure. “This week I'm completely enchanted by Richard Peck's The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail. It's the tale (tail?) of a very small mouse who has grown up in the shadow of Queen Victoria's Buckingham Palace. Without even a true name, the little mouse must venture out beyond the Mews and into the great world in order to discover who he is and from whence he came. This sweet and funny chapter book is perfect for children reading independently. I would also recommend this as a wonderful family read-aloud.”
Amanda was in the mood for a laugh and found it in Ophira Eisenberg's Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy. Eisenberg is a comedian by trade. You can tell by the quick, snappy way she turns a sentence from ordinary to giggling aloud funny. I pulled her book off the shelf on a whim -- who can resist looking at a book with this title? And found myself giggling aloud in the non-fiction section. The book starts off on a high discussing Ophira's first kiss and her quest to shag anyone who caught her fancy. She finds little to be embarrassed about in her adventures. Then in the middle, the book stops being funny and slows down to a drag. She's in her twenties and floundering with what to do with her life. She then discovers comedy and that sleeping around isn't fun anymore. Still, she's determined to avoid love and commitment. The title gives away the ending. This book is a quick read for the beach and allows you to step into an entirely different mindset with ease.”
John is trying a read-a-like suggestion and is halfway through The Golem and the Jinni. “This has been promoted as a book you may enjoy if you liked The Night Circus. I can see where that connection might be made, but I found The Night Circus to be much more ethereal and I loved it. I do really like Golem, but it doesn't have the same kind of voltage. Its storyline is less frenetic, its characters less desperate. I think that if Doubleday had not invoked Night Circus in the promotion of this book, it would have been better served. Where it absolutely shines is in the kindness of the writing and the way faith, religion, superstition, and tradition are all braided together to illicit a dream-like appreciation for the immigrant way of life in late 19th Century New York. The magic and mysticism is a secondary theme--perhaps only a motif so while this is indeed a fantasy novel, it is more closely aligned with historical fiction. It is definitely worth a read.”
Steph is worrying me. I can’t lie on this one. Be happy she has a long weekend coming up. “Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, edited by Sarah Weinman, is a fantastic, eye-opening collection of short stories. How is it possible that so many of these were lost to time? Aside, of course, from patriarchy. Weinman provides a tantalizing amount of biographical information about each writer and lets the stories do the rest of the talking. I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite of the bunch. Okay, I pick the Patricia Highsmith story. Okay, actually I pick ‘Lost Generation’ by Dorothy Salisbury Davis. Okay, I’ll stop. Basically, if you are somebody who liked Gone Girl, or somebody who wanted to like Gone Girl, but didn’t, or somebody who still hasn’t gotten around to it, this is the book to get also recommended for commuter reading.”
Miss Elisabeth of the CL is also sort of scaring me. “I’m on a crime/horror kick this week. I just finished The Never List by Koethi Zan at the recommendation of Miss Marian, and it was a doozy! Jennifer and Sarah are best friends who survive a terrible car accident at the age of 12. After that, they become obsessed with the statistical probability of death. They keep a list they call The Never List to help remind them of the things they, statistically, should never do to remain safe. But in college, life intervenes in a horrifically ironic twist. The girls become the victims of a twisted, sadistic man who keeps them chained in a basement with 2 other girls for 3 long years. 10 years later, Sarah is drawn back into the dark and terrifying world of her ordeal when her captor comes up for parole. It was QUITE the intense read, though I appreciated the fact that the torture was not explicitly described for long paragraphs at a time; just short, simple snippets. I did think the ending was a little rushed.”
Sweet Ann, who verily, verily, verily feels that life is but a dream and is not scary but rather small and well, sweet, is reading The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. “This is one of the best books I have read in quite a long time. This is the wonderful true story of the University of Washington's crew team that made it to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. As a reader you follow the makings of the team and their journey to gold. The author interviews Joe Krantz, one of the crew members, and various teammates and family. You might not be interested in crew as a sport but you will care about these young men and the rowing aspects will only be a part of the story. I also found the historical facts that Mr. Brown included about America at the time as well as Germany to be fascinating. I can't recommend this book enough.”
This week I read Anna Hope’s debut novel Wake which comes out in February. In the five days leading up to Armistice Day in 1920, three women navigate their daily landscape which has become unrecognizable to them since the war. Hettie’s brother was lucky to come home but does not speak, Evelyn is bitter after the loss of her beloved and is working with veterans at the Pension Exchange, and Ada is haunted by her dead son who she sees everywhere, making her husband doubt her sanity. While all of London is preparing to accept the remains of the Unknown Soldier from his grave in France, the lives of these three women are about to merge into one story. I love the way Hope guides us through these five days. Her description of life in the Trenches had me despairing at the lengths man will go to in order to hurt his fellow man. As one character says to another of war, “War wins. And it keeps on winning over and over again.” I highly recommend this one for your future fireside reading.