Monday, September 17, 2012

back to school, almost

Back to school they went. Adjusting schedules, alarm clocks, and expectations. Everything just starting to settle into place, when the teachers decided to... STRIKE.

My two oldest girls at loose ends for most of last week. Today, the administration decided to schedule a full day of alternate education enabled by substitute teachers and community volunteers. I can't wait to hear how it went. My oldest made sure to bring a couple of interesting books. Can you ever be bored if you have a good book?

I've been meaning to share with you some of the books I've read this summer. Our library is my usual go-to source for books, and I also buy the occasional book if I can't wait to read it. As part of the summer reading club at the library, they were handing out 'advance reading copies' of yet to be published books. So fun, and much easier to take on vacation or the boat. 

Loved the Orchardist, by Amanda Coplin. Lyrical historical fiction set in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest about a gentle, solitary homesteader who tends apricots, apples, plums, and finds his life upended by two sad runaway girls.

Edith Wharton's influence is still alive and kicking as evidenced by a number of recent books inspired by her writing. Both The Age of Desire, by Jennie Fields, and The Innocents, by Francesca Segal are directly related to Edith.  Purporting that she fell madly in love with the young journalist, Morton Fullerton, The Age of Desire details 'a vivid journey through Wharton's early Gilded Age world: Paris with its glamourous literary salons and dark secret cafes, the Wharton's elegant house in Lenox, Massachusetts, and Henry Jame's manse in Rye, England.'

While Francesca Segal's debut novel, The Innocents, is more Age of Innocence, set in a small Jewish suburb northwest of London. The narrator finds himself torn between security and exhilaration, tradition and independence. 'What might he be missing by staying close to home?'

Perfect for summer reading: The Shoemaker's Wife, by Adriana Trigiani, The Book of Summer, by Emylia Hall, and The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, by Bridget Asher.

Gathering a ton of positive word of mouth, The Light Between Oceans, by M. L. Steadman lives up to the hype. Married lighthouse keepers on a remote island in Australia find a boat washed ashore with a baby accompanied by a dead man. Deciding to keep 'the gift from God' causes all kinds of unintended consequences. I'm unable to get it out of my mind. Tigers in Red Weather, by Liza Klaussmann isn't in the same category but is an enjoyable 'light- historical fiction' read.

Continuing in the historical fiction vein, Shadow of Night, The Orphan Master, and The Solitary House. All are pretty solid reads.

More in the thriller category, Justin Cronin knocks it out of the park with The Twelve, his follow-up to the very scary The Passage.  Previously mentioned, here. Also enjoyed the psychological thriller Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. Some plot developments were more than a little convenient/ predictable, but that's pretty hard to avoid.

What's the last good book you read?


Ms. Redo said...

Some of these sound like books I'd like to read, will check out the library. This summer I read straight through all five books by Rick Bragg, just learned of him through the "back page" article in recent Southern Living magazines. Fabulous, fantastic author! Thanks for sharing your ideas.


laurie -magpie ethel said...

Always looking for new titles to read and just put a couple of these on hold at the library! Thanks for the suggestions.

Terra said...

I wrote down 4 of these titles and authors to look for in book stores. I am a librarian but prefer to buy books and have a stock pile on hand to read in future.

Naturally Carol said...

It's always good to get recommendations..I like the sound of 'The Orchardist' among others and will try and find some of them to read.

kayce hughes said...

So sorry about the strike. I hope that all returns to normal soon!

Shabbygal said...

Thanks for the recomendations! Always love a great story!! Traci

Kim K. said...

What great recommendations. I sadly haven't touched any reading material since school started back up. By the time I get home from the University and get the family squared away for the evening, I've been finding peace in my craft room. I can't wait to explore some of these titles. I hope the teacher strike ends soon.

vintage grey said...

Look at these great books!! Thanks for sharing! Sorry about the strike, hopefully it will end soon. Blessings, Heather

Pati from London said...

Dear Molly, Thanks a lot for the suggestions: "The light between Oceans" looks quite interesting.
I've read some good books recently: "Before I go to sleep" by SJ Watson. This is an interesting psychological thriller, which has been very popular in the UK recently. It is about a woman who only remembers things for about 24 hours and every time she wakes up she's forgotten everything. She doesn't know who to trust etc... It is really gripping. Another really lovely book I read is by the French Writer Anna Gavalda, "Hunting and Gathering". We chose that for my local bookclub and it was a lovely story of 4 tragic characters who live in Paris and it is only when they meet and stay together that their lives change for the better. It was a bestseller both in France and Spain, where I come from. Lastly, the book I am reading at the moment called "A year by the sea" by Joan Anderson is also interesting. It is the real story of a 50 year old woman who decided to take a year off in Cape Cod in search of herself. I am really enjoying it. It is less cliche than I was expecting and the sea plays an interesting part on it. Have a lovely day, Pati x

Lisa said...

A Lantern In Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich. An oldie, but so sweet and wholesome. I can't get the main character out of my head. I loaned it to my mother in law but want it back so I can read it again.

Thanks for all your reviews! I'll be bookmarking some of those.

Vicki said...

Don't you just love a nice, clean, new, tantalizing book cover? The cover art can be key.

Thanks for the mini book review. I always love a tip on a good book. And I continue to buy them, the paper kind, resisting a Kindle. To me, my books are like any of my other small, material treasures and, with faves, I will definitely re-read through the years, becoming reacquainted with characters who moved me.

The problem currently is TIME to read. I can't seem to work hard enough to create the time, finding when I do try to read, I'm too distracted by a list of things I need to otherwise be doing (which is annoying, so I'm trying to 'work' on this dilemma and give myself permission for ME-time).

I find that a birdie blue post in my email box makes me 'wake up' as I sort thru too many other transmissions. Yours posts are never a disappointment. Oh, I do feel for you with the teachers' strike; you must be in the Chicago burbs. My husband teaches, and his biggest worry is always for the kids first; they shouldn't have to be deprived of school, or worry about adult issues, especially at the much-anticipated fall semester when they want to share their summer experiences and see their much-missed school friends. We're West Coast and, so far, have a smooth start to the new school year.

I just got a notice from Cath Kidston about a new china line. Felt myself saying, "Oh, goody!" That's where I'm going right now.

Looking forward to more posts from you this fall; yours is at the top of my most enjoyable blogs!

Julie said...

Great titles - I just had to request them from my library. Just finished "The Book of Summer" - a good read.

My Vintage Mending said...

Sorry to hear the girls are having to shuffle. It has ended from what I understand today. Hopefully it is smooth sailing from here. I read summer rental by mary kay andrews while on vacation. I don't get to read as much as I used to. I do have a ton of books on my bureau that need to be read though...smiles..Renee

{oc cottage} said...

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh thx! always looking for new books!!!!

m ^..^

GardenofDaisies said...

Sounds like a lot of good reading! My curiosity has been piqued on two in particular: "The Orchardist" and "The Light Between Oceans". I just finished reading the classic "To Kill A Mockingbird", and have started
"The Bird Sisters".
Sorry your family has been caught up in the teacher strike mess. I know that teachers have a very hard job, but this is not right. (And I'm an educator myself)

Apple Blossom Barn said...

Thank you so much I love when someone recommends a really good read

\best wishes

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Just finished Gone Girl, and about to read The Light Behind The Window, recommended in a UK mag. Have you read The Book Theif? It's been around a while, but it's one of those books that has stuck with me.

Anna Scandinavian Cottage said...

I'm reding War and Peace by Tolstoy at the moment. I started it in the spring and took a little break during the summer to read some other books, but I have to say I do Love War and Peace! The book The Orchardist that you've mentioned sounds good and is now on my reading list, Thanks for that! :)
Have you read war and peace?
Happy Sunday!

Stacey@A Sort Of Fairytale said...

these sound like some good reads...i really need to start reading more books again. i always seem to be crafting something instead ;)
glad the strike is over now for you all!

Deanna said...

Oh thanks for all these great reviews, I always love to hear what others are reading and the good recommendations.

Christine said...

Sorry to be so late to the party, but I was just browsing around and discovered this post. So... recommendations: The Tiger's Wife (Obreht), Arcadia (Groff), and Sea of Poppies (Ghosh). Just my two cents. ;)

Thanks for the great recommendations. Adding a few to my library wait list right now.