Not teaching full-time has provided me with a bit more time to get into some good books to keep moving toward my goal of 30 books in 3 years! Here are my thoughts on a few of my recent reads:
My thoughts: I picked this book up because it was on a “hot titles” cart at the library, and I recognized Gruen from her Water for Elephants fame. I was not expecting much from this book– reviews on GoodReads are mixed– but for some reason I absolutely adored this book. The setting in Scotland during WWII, the mix of folklore/myth, and the memorable characters really got me absorbed into the world of the book. Gruen writes beautifully, and the dynamic characterization of the main character, Maddie, creates a compelling theme.
My thoughts: The Dinner has been on my “want-to-read” list for a few years now, and I finally picked it up. It is different from my usual reads, but Koch’s masterful prose told through a unique narrator drew me into the story. It is a dark, compelling, satirical story that focuses on how far we are willing to go to protect those we love, even if they have done something unforgivable. Read it when you’re feeling sound of mind! 🙂
My thoughts: This current bestseller was well-written and interesting, but nothing unique or special. It does offer a good lesson for parents who may be overbearing or may feel that they know their children’s true selves– no matter how much you think you know, things on the surface may not reflect what is actually going on underneath.
My thoughts: This was another book I have wanted to read for a long time, and quickly became one of my favorite reads of 2015. Taylor lost her husband unexpectedly, and is left pregnant and trying to pick up the pieces. I connected with her on so many levels– dealing with grief while teaching, teaching English to high school students, and living in the state of Michigan (she mentions northern Michigan often!). Each chapter starts with a connection to classic literature, and I thought she wove the themes from these stories so masterfully in her own life. She is incredibly honest in describing her grief process (to the point where I wonder how her mother & sister in law could take what she wrote at some points!), but the honesty is what makes the memoir so compelling. I highly recommend this one.