Tuesday, July 19, 2016

May and June Reads

I have not read very much in the past few months. It is sad. 
With the trip and then packing and preparing for the move and then moving and then unpacking and getting our house put together I haven't had as much time or energy to put into reading. 

But I did read a few books over the two month period. 

1. While I was in Europe my Susan Branch book, Martha's Vineyard, Isle of Dreams came in the mail. 
I couldn't wait to dig into this book. 
I started it immediately and finished it a few days later on May 1st so I am counting it as a May read. 

"In the winter of 1982, long before she became the watercolor artist and author we know today, Susan Branch, 34-years-old and heart-broken from the sudden and unexpected end of her marriage in California, "ran away from home" to the Island of Martha's Vineyard.

It was meant to be temporary, a three-month time-out from the daily grind of being broken up and miserable, but within days of her arrival, alone and not quite in her right mind, Susan "accidentally" bought a tiny one-bedroom cottage in the woods. And that is how she discovered she was moving 3,000 miles away from everyone and everything she had known and loved
." (Goodreads)

I loved every second of it. I have said it before and I will say it again. Susan is a wonderful writer and she is someone that as you read her words, you just want to be her friend. 
I got to meet her a few weeks after finishing this book and it was amazing. 
I wanted to read the entire set of books about her life all the way through again as soon as I finished this... and I will be doing that at some point soon. 
5 stars. *****

2. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

 "At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is "never going to stand by and say nothing again."(Goodreads)

I read this book out loud to Abi and Maddy for Bookworm Club. 
It was hard to put down so we finished it in one night. 
It is very short so that wasn't hard and only took about an hour to read. 
This book is well written and has a really good message. 
Fantastic book. 
5 stars *****

3. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

"Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept." (Goodreads)

I started listening to this book back in March and then finished it up in May. This book pulled at every heart string I have. I loved listening to the audible version as they had a different actor for each character and they had such distinctive voices that really fit the personality. 
I cried a lot during this book. Really. A lot. 
And I loved it. I have another one of Ruta's books on my shelf that I haven't read yet and after reading this I will be making it a priority in the near future. 
5 stars *****

4. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

"Mrs. Dalloway is a novel by Virginia Woolf that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post-World War I England. It is one of Woolf's best-known novels.

Created from two short stories, "Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street" and the unfinished "The Prime Minister," the novel addresses Clarissa's preparations for a party she will host that evening. With an interior perspective, the story travels forwards and back in time and in and out of the characters' minds to construct an image of Clarissa's life and of the inter-war social structure. In October 2005, Mrs. Dalloway was included on TIME magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923."

I really enjoyed this book. It was my first Woolf. 
Full review on Scones and Crackers here. 
4 stars ****

5. The Autobiography of Mark Twain

"Mark Twain was a figure larger than life: massive in talent, eruptive in temperament, unpredictable in his actions. He crafted stories of heroism, adventure, tragedy, and comedy that reflected the changing America of the time, and he tells his own story--which includes sixteen pages of photos--with the same flair he brought to his fiction. Writing this autobiography on his deathbed, Twain vowed to he "free and frank and unembarrassed" in the recounting of his life and his experiences. Twain was more than a match for the expanding America of riverboats, gold rushes, and the vast westward movement, which provided the material for his novels and which served to inspire this beloved and uniquely American autobiography." (Goodreads)

I loved this book. 
It was very long and it did drag on in some points but overall it was such an interesting read. 
He is such a funny guy. He says at the beginning that he wrote this with the express purpose of it not being published until after he was dead so that he would be fully honest. 
He tells stories of his life and those all around him. 
It made me laugh, there were parts that made me a bit emotional, and mostly it gave me a good understanding of who he really was. 
When I was about a third of the way through the book I found out that I am related to him. 
That was amazing. It made the rest of the book mean so much more to me. 
I really want to go back and read his books now because I feel like they will mean so much more to me now that I know more about him and his life. 
4 stars ****


The Kings said...

Good write up on the books. I would like to read the Mark Twain book. Is it your book or a library book?

cheryl said...

Thanks! I think you would like it. It was a library book.