Tuesday, March 7, 2017

what I read: January, February 2017


In the spirit of sharing what I read re: yesterday's post, here's a list of what I read over the first two months of 2017, with a quick note about each one. Have you read any of these? Tell me what you thought in a comment here or an email (larkingshop at gmail)!

Middle-Grade or YA Novels
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein [literature-based caper]
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan [historical fiction, magical realism, racial injustice, the power of art/music]
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper [historical fiction, racial injustice, coming of age]
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar [magical realism, family drama, coming of age]
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo [coming of age, family drama]
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken [suspense/thriller/adventure]
The Westing Game by Ellen Rankin [mystery]
Carney's House Party by Maud Hart Lovelace [friendship, romance]
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo [fantasy, adventure]
Wildwood by Colin Meloy [fantasy, adventure]
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz [coming of age, family drama, bigotry/racism]
The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea by Eileen Beha [adventure, family drama]

Mysteries
The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime edited by Michael Sims [collected short stories and chapters from Victorian women writers or published works about women detectives]
Bellwether Rhapsody by Kate Racculia [The Shining meets Special Topics In Calamity Physics with a dash of Alice in Wonderland]

Nonfiction Books about Writing
What It Is by Lynda Barry [graphic novel about overcoming writing fears and Barry's own creative path]
The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman [e-book only]

Adult Fiction
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple [in the same vein as Where'd You Go, Bernadette]
Austenland by Shannon Hale [three weeks at a fantasy camp for Jane Austen connisseurs]

Monday, March 6, 2017

larking book club, revisited.


I've mentioned before that I'm in a book club I adore, modeled roughly on the one that appears in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, in which we all read whatever we personally choose and then we share at our meeting (over hard cider and french fries), sometimes trading books amongst ourselves. We all have very different reading preferences, but a few books (often typical "book club picks") have made it around most or all of the members: The Night Circus, Where'd You Go Bernadette, The Golem and the Jinni, Wild, How Lucky You Are, Gone Girl (NB: this is not an endorsement of the books on this list - they were just read by multiple members, sometimes loved and sometimes despised).

I like the freedom of reading what I choose and not being stuck with a book I dislike, but I do miss the chance to actually discuss with fellow readers. I've made a commitment to pick up books instead of scrolling social media this year, and as a result I'm making significant headway on the large list of titles I've been meaning to read. I thought it might be fun to share my reading list at the beginning of each month and, if you're interested, you can jump in and read along! No pressure to read them all, of course, but if a title sounds good, I'd love your literary company.

I'm not sure yet what my format will be for sharing my thoughts on the books - email newsletter, blog post, FB live video, something else - so if you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them. And if you're local and want to come to our monthly book club or meet me for coffee or a drink to discuss, that'd be awesome too.

Here's the lineup for March (I've already finished the first book and am 40 pages from finishing the second so you can find them at the local library if needed!):

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
The Getaway Car by Ann Patchett
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb
and if time (otherwise, the start of my April list)
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Emma by Jane Austen

(ps - these are not affiliate links, just helpful ones, but I did use my smile account on Amazon to search for them)

Hope some of you might be joining me in reading one or two of the titles on this list! If you have some books ideas to share for the rest of my year, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what else I should be reading - and you can always find me on Goodreads, too.