The End-of-Summer Book Tag

I saw this tag on Em @ The Geeky Jock earlier this month and thought it was a nice wrap-up to summer reading. So I thought I would give it a shot.

What was your favorite book this summer?

This book was a pleasant surprise. I had never read V.E. Schwab before but I had heard nothing but good things about the author. Well, I am now a fan. Honestly, if it wasn’t for book club, who knows when I would have gotten around to this book.

What was your least favorite book this summer?

I only got 40 or so pages into this book before I put it down for good. It was a book club read but I just couldn’t get into it. The character thinks she is the only one left alive on earth but the character seemed to be rambling on about random things. I think the author was trying to set up what isolation has done to her and even aludes to her having a psychotic break, but I just wanted to know what happened and it felt like we were never getting there. Perhaps I should have given this book more of a chance, but I just wasn’t interested.

What was your favorite classic this summer?

This was such a charming little book about getting older. It focuses on five people who live with each other and in typical fashion, they bitch and moan to and about each other when they are together but in the privacy of their own rooms, they deal with their own maladies. My classics book club has some seniors in the group, who said this book came a little too close for comfort in terms of reality, but they enjoyed it nonetheless.

Did you stray into a different genre and pick up a new and exciting book?

I am not one to read too many thrillers but I am so glad that my book club picked this one last month. I am still thinking about it. Every character has skeletons in their closet, making it hard to determine who the killer is in this small neighborhood. When you think you have it figured out, there will be another sudden twist that makes you rethink everything.

What was your favorite movie adaptation this summer?

I don’t think I watched any movie adaptations this summer, surprise, surprise. But I did just find out that The Witcher, which my husband and I watched on Netflix during the pandemic, is actually a series. I may just have to look into reading it.

What was your favorite new release?

I had not read Andy Weir before this book and now I am a fan. Although this book gets a little technical, I still understood everything that was going on. Right from the start, you are on this amazing adventure with the main character trying to remember who you are and complete a mission that you learn is to save Earth. Buckle in because it’s one hell of a ride.

TTT: Books I plan to read this fall

It is officially the end of summer.. or is it? While we are starting to get cooler mornings and nights, the afternoons are still peaking between 78-80 degrees here in upstate New York. However, it may be coming to an end. Today, the high is 73 and it looks like next week, the weather is officially in the 60s – officially sweater weather.

There is a lot going on this fall in terms of life changes, so I am not sure how much reading I am going to get done in the next two months, but it’s always good to have goals. I will have more news about that soon in an upcoming post. So let’s get on with this week’s Top 10 Tuesday with what I plan to read this season.

I am ashamed at how long this book has been on my TBR shelf and I am determined to read it once and for all, sooner rather than later.

Another book that I bought and never read. I have heard mixed reactions to this last book in the series, which takes the POV of Edward. I am quite interested since I have always been on Team Edward. The Twilight books have always been quick reads for me, so I plan to knock this out in a weekend.

This is a fairly recent release, but I have already seen quite a few reviews on it, and boy have they been mixed. It seems that you either love this book or hate it. I guess I have to read it to find out. I haven’t read Michaelides yet, but there is nothing like murder and secret societies at an old university to set the tone for the season.

If memory serves me right, I was supposed to read this last fall and never got to it. I am so intrigued by this book that my curiosity is at an all-time high. I am determined to get this off my TBR this season.

This book is coming out next week and I can’t wait. Nicholas Sparks is back to writing the way he used to when he first started out and I have absolutely loved the last few books he wrote. It has made the anticipation of this book so much harder. You better believe I am buying this book the day it drops.

Murder, secrets, family drama….sign me up. I have become a Liane Moriarty over the last few years and while I have not read all of her books as of yet, I liked what I did read. Her most recent book has come out just in time for fall.

We are reading this book for November in the Metaphorially Speaking Book Club, but how could I not put it on the list? This is a coming-of-age novel about Emmaline who lives on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world with her senses. When she is thrown into the real world, Emmaline learns about love, ambition, betrayal and revenge. To understand her past, she must figure out who she is. I really can’t wait to read this book.

This book has been calling to me from my bookshelf since I bought it a few weeks ago. I have heard this book is really good and it just sounds so charming. This is definitely a book to crack open on a day when I can pass away the hours cuddled in a blanket in my reading chair.

For some reason I have a sudden urge to read this book and I keep thinking about it. I have yet to read anything by Taylor Jenkins Reid but I have heard nothing but good things about her writing. I think it is time to rectify this situation.

November is Native American Heritage Month and I wanted to read something about the culture. This book came up on the list when I did some research. I feel like I don’t read enough stories about Native American culture and I am trying to rectify that this year.

What do you plan to read in the fall? Have you read any of the books on this list? Let’s discuss!

Monday reading check in

I skipped last week’s check in simply because there really was no update from the week previous. My life has been so busy lately, I wasn’t able to read as much as I did the week previous, but I am taking a staycation this week so I am sure that I will be able to catch up in no time.

What I recently finished

I had heard of the Troubles in Ireland but I never knew the full history. “Say Nothing” is an interesting read about that turbulent time in Northern Ireland and the people involved. There was so much to talk about in book club, from the different players, the families that were impacted, the religious discrimination, the role of America and so much more. I think for the most part everyone in book club thought that this book was well done.

Books I am currently reading

I know, I know, I am still reading this. I put it down for a little bit so I can read some other things, but I am back to it this week, especially since I have the time to get it done.

I am kind of switching between “Middlemarch” and this nonfiction book about the Iraq War. I know, heavy reading. This has been on my bookshelves for too long and it’s about time that I read it.

What I plan to read next

I had never heard about this book until book club but it sounds really interesting. College Joe Talbert goes to a local nursing home to find a subject to interview for an assignment. He meets dying Vietnam veteran Carl Iverson who has been medically paroled to the nursing home after serving thirty years for rape and murder. Talbert tries to reconcile the veteran with the murderer and is determined to unravel the truth behind the conviction. I am sure that this book is going to have many twists and turns. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

What are you reading this week? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

TTT: Books I have enjoyed with numbers in the titles

For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, by That Artsy Reader Girl, we were asked for our Top 10 books with numbers in the titles. I was actually surprised by how many books have numbers in the titles, and how many of them I have actually read. Here are the ones that I have read the most recently and have enjoyed:

What are some other books with numbers in the titles that you would recommend? Let’s discuss!

TTT: Books guaranteed to put a smile on your face

When I saw this week’s Top 10 Tuesday’s prompt, I smiled to myself. If there is one gripe that we get in the Capital District Book Club, one of the biggest of the book clubs I am a member of, it’s that most of the books we read are heavy and focus on serious themes. Members have asked if we can read some more light hearted and happy books. And of course the one “happy” book that everyone picked to read, no one liked. But then I got to thinking. What are some of the books I have read that made feel warm and happy inside. Here is what I came up with.

Ok so you had to know that this was a given for this list. I used to read this every year and to this day, it remains one of my “feel good” reads. I absolutely love this book and it remains in my Top 10 all-time favorites.

This book is just so magical. Yes, Matilda goes through some hardships, but it’s those hardships that makes Matilda find the magic inside of herself and overcome the obstacles in her way. And the ending just makes you all warm and fuzzy. I want a Ms. Honey in my life and I am 34 years old!

Another magical book. I recently just rewatched the movie and I love it. Sara is sent to a boarding school when her father has to go off to war. At first, Sara is welcomed and treated like a princess. But when her father dies and leaves her penniless, Sara is subjected to work for the boarding house. However, Sara has a powerful imagination which she uses to overcome her hardships. I still cry out of happiness at the ending of this story.

This is a charming and endearing book about books. It’s a collection of letters between Helene Hanff, a freelance writer and a used-book dealer in London over a period of 20 years. I absolutely loved this book and thought Helene was hilarious the way that she would pester the book store when they couldn’t find a book she wanted. Even though Helene and the book seller never meet, they have an incredible friendship and it just shows how powerful letters can be. I seriously wanted to pick up a pen and write a letter to someone.

I will never forget reading this book for the first time (for fun) and the minute that I fell in love with it. It’s the classic love story and I am sure that it will make quite a few lists for this prompt. I think everyone knows what this book is about so what else is there to say?

The only time I was sad while reading this book was when it ended. I actually listened to the audiobook for this and I am glad I did because the narrator was able to apply the right voice. The book is a collection of letters by Annie Spence, a librarian, to the books that she likes and dislikes as well as the books that are circulated in the stacks that need to be replaced and other that have long been forgotten and need to be “retired.” I absolutely loved listening to this book.

This is a book that is somewhat of a fairy tale. Set in 1920’s Alaska, Jack and Mabel are childless and are drifting apart. Then one snowy night they run outside and make a snow child. When they wake up the next morning the snow child is gone but they discover a little girl at the edge of the wood. As they try to understand this child who seems to be out of a fairy tale, Jack and Mabel begin to think of her as their own daughter. This was definitely a magical read that made me want to hug the book to myself.

What books would you recommend that put a smile on your face? Let’s discuss!

Monday reading check in 9/6/21

Happy Labor Day everyone!

It’s been a three-day weekend and I have been using the time to read. I was supposed to go down to New Jersey to visit my parents but after an altercation with my neighbor that involved me calling the police on her twice, I was left drained and exhausted.

However, even with this bit of drama in my life, I have been flying through the books I am reading. I think I have read more books over this weekend, than I have in a month all year. I only have 2 1/2 books left to read on my TBR. Which is crazy since we are only in the second week of the month.

What I recently finished

I have been eyeballing this book for awhile, but I wasn’t planning to read it yet. Then the New York State Writer’s Institute kicked off their fall events, starting with a Q&A/reading with Zakiya Dalila Harris at the University at Albany Campus. I immediately bought the book to bring with me to the event to get signed. I also started reading it prior to the event and got sucked in. This is a quick read and one that doesn’t disappoint. I can’t believe that this is Harris’ first book. Harris definitely puts a new spin on workplace competition. This thriller is full of twists and turns that will leave you dumbfounded in the end.

I read this for book club which will be meeting in a week to discuss. I would say that is a must read for everyone. You may think you know what it’s like to be disabled or think that you can understand, but unless you are, you don’t. Rebekah Taussig provides her perspective of how people interact around her and uncovers the truth about the cultural, political and societal impacts that her disability has on the world – mainly how people run on assumptions about a disabled person needs or wants. This book is truly eye opening and may make you feel unexpectedly uncomfortable.

I finished this book this morning and I still can’t wrap my head around this book. JK Ellem is the master of twists and turns because I really couldn’t figure this book out. Everyone is the bad guy. Every time you think you know, you don’t. Every single character has skeletons in their closet and you have to read to the last page to get any sense of finality. I haven’t read a book like this in a while. My brain is still trying to wrap around everything that happened. Though I would say their are some seriously dark and twisted things that happen which might be triggering.

Ok so I have owned this book since I was a little girl and had never read it. It’s actually good, though a little disturbing. You have a group of boys who are stranded on a deserted island. They try to stick to the habits that they had grown with. They select a leader and put rules into place with everyone having a role. However, eventually nature takes over and you see what happens when humans are left with just their primitive instincts. This book is only 200 pages but there is so much to unpack between its pages.

Books I am currently reading

My read of this book continues as I have to finish parts 5-8 for the Modern Library Book Club. We discussed the first half of the book and every single person is enjoying it so far – the language, the characters, the plot. It’s soo good. However, I am now taking my time with it.

This the September read for the Capital District Book Club. Apparently this book is about a murder that happened in Northern Ireland during the time of the “troubles.” I am not too familiar with this in Irish history but I am sure that I am going to quickly get educated. I started this book today and I hope to be done with it before the end of the week.

What I plan to read next

This is another book that I have had on my bookshelf for quite a long time. I think that the title of the book says it all. Given that it is the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I thought it was fitting to read about the war that resulted in what happened. I am even more interested in seeing the other sides of things.

What are you currently reading? Have you read anything on this list? Let’s discuss!

August Reading Wrap-up

Where has the summer gone? Despite a week of hot and humid weather, we are right back to the gloomy, rainy days that has permeated the last few months. Technically, we do have a few weeks of summer left, but we all know that Labor Day marks the end of the season.

Despite the cold weather approaching, there are some exciting things going on in my life. I have to wait a few more weeks to be sure, but the fall could mean some big life changes for us. My husband and I are learning the value of patience, but the time consuming process that we are involved in is not making it easy.

To help distract myself, I am trying to just focus on reading. I think this is the first month in quite a while where I can say that I finished my TBR list, although to be fair, there was one book that I just did not bother finishing.

This book started out funny and ended up being somewhat sobering. Overall the Modern Library Book Club enjoyed “Ending Up,” though for a few of our elderly members, it was a little too realistic for comfort. It focuses on four elderly people who live together and their gripes about getting old. However, as we go along we uncover their personal demons and how they deal with getting older. For such a short novel, this book had so much going on, which is a credit to Kingsley Amis’ writing.

I absolutely loved “Project Hail Mary.” Although, Andy Weir loads this book with technical scientific writing, I was still able to understand everything that was going on. I loved how this story unfolded and how Weir used flashbacks to link the character’s past with the present. This was my first Weir book but it won’t be my last.

This was a book that was sent to me by a local author in upstate NY and it focuses on his childhood years growing up in Troy, NY in a house they called “The Embassy.” It was interesting glimpse into years that are long gone but reminded me of the stories of the 50s/60s that my parents shared all through my own childhood.

Cracking open a Jenny Lawson book feels like you pick up right where you left off with her, wherever that is. While she still provides some hilarious anecdotes, this book is more serious than her books of the past and provides a serious glimpse into the mental and physical challenges of anxiety and depression. I would highly recommend that people read her books.

So I have finished parts 1-4 of “Middlemarch” and I am really enjoying this book so far. I am still trying to digest what I have read so far, and we still have so much more to go. I plan to read the second half in September and I can’t wait to see what Eliot does with each of these characters.

I didn’t get far into this book before I got absolutely bored. I know that I should have given this book more of a chance but the lack of chapters or section breaks, as well as the character’s mixed thoughts just lost my interest. I ended up putting the book down and then had no desire to pick it up again. Maybe after hearing what others in book club think, I will want to pick it up again.

What did you read in August? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

August Book Haul

I have been trying to get back to the library. Really. I swear. It’s not my fault that the library doesn’t have the books that I want to read. Nor can I resist the huge book sales at the local book stores. I mean I have to support the small mom-and-pop book sellers, right?!

I am not make excuses, just merely explaining why this month I have acquired half a dozen books. Two of the six I actually did read, but the others have been added to my growing TBR shelves. Speaking of, I seriously have to do an updated TBR list, but that is for another post. Let’s get back to what I bought this month.

Damnation Spring” and “Project Hail Mary” I selected for my August Book of the Month Subscription Box. I have since read “Project Hail Mary” which I just reviewed and loved. I can’t wait to read more of Weir. I chose “Damnation Spring” because I am sucker for an environmental story. This is set in a logging town and questions begin to arise about the pesticides being used having an impact on the people living there. I think this is going to be one of those stories that sticks with you.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find this book anywhere and I was forced to order it. It was for my book club. I say unfortunately because I have since DNF’d it. The summary of “Wittgenstein’s Mistress” sounded interesting but I just couldn’t get into it.

I picked up these three books at a sidewalk sale at one of my local bookstores for about $1 a piece. I am a big Barbara Kingsolver fan so I had to pick up “Unsheltered.” My book club is going to be reading “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak in the fall. I have already read it but I figured it was a good time to read his other books. I own “Bridge of Clay” but have yet to read it. “I Am the Messenger” sounded too interesting to pass up. Maybe I will do a Zusak read-a-thon. As for “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared,” I bought because of the title. Even the woman who cashed me out said the book sounded interesting.

What books have you recently acquired? Have you read any of the above? Let’s discuss!

Monday reading check in 8/16/21

What a difference a week makes. Governor Cuomo has resigned and NY is now getting its first female governor. So it’s no surprise that all of the news is currently about that as well as the Delta variant. This past week saw a flurry of events getting cancelled because people are once again nervous about holding events in person, which is understandable. It just means that my calendar has unexpectedly opened up.

Not that I am complaining. It means that I am able to leave work at normal hours and get plenty of reading in. I am blowing through my reading list, though that may slow down this week, since my book club read is not as exciting as I was hoping it was going to be. I may just DNF it because I may not be able to go to the book club discussion. On Wednesday, I am having oral surgery so I am probably going to be out for a few days, which includes both book club discussions that were planned for the week. The other one is discussing “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” which I loved. I am kind of disappointed I am going to miss the discussion for that one. I wanted to hear what everyone had to say. However, I am hoping that, pending how I am feeling, I can use the time off from work to catch up on my reviews.

I also hope to keep on track with the reading. I am glad that I am nearly through my reading list and we are only halfway through the month. Here is what I recently finished, what I am currently reading and what I plan to read next.

What I recently finished:

This was my first Andy Weir book and I absolutely loved it. Even though I may not have understood all the technical scientific terms that Weir uses in this book – and let’s face it, there is a lot – I didn’t need to know every definition to understand the story. This was a fast paced book that had me holding my breath at times. I mean the main character wakes up from a coma only to discover that he is riding in space, with two dead crew members and he has no recollection of why he is there or what his mission is – at least not at first. The reader feels like they are the ones that just woke up and they must discover the truth with him.

This was a book that was sent to me by the author who is from Troy, NY. He saw that I ran a local book club and wondered if we would be interested in reading it. I decided to read it myself. The book is about the author’s childhood growing up in Troy during the 50s/60s in a house that he and his family called the “Embassy.” It was interesting flash back to the past and reminded me of the stories that my own parents used to tell us of how they grew up albeit in New Jersey. The one drawback for me was the author’s style of writing. He used a lot of words in all caps which I think was for emphasis but was distracting due to the quantity. The author is interested in answering questions about the book, so I may take him up on that – at least for my piece of mind.

Books I am currently reading:

So this is the book club read that I am struggling to get into. I realized that there are no chapters or section breaks, which is a challenge when it’s a book that is not super interesting at the beginning. It seems to be one large narrative. The summary of this book says that the main character thinks she is the last person on Earth, which sounds interesting, but 30 pages in and so far it’s just stream of conscious style writing. I get that the author was probably going for that since the character is alone and of course, as she even admits, she has gone crazy here and there. But I just want to get to the part where we know why she is the only person on earth. Maybe I am being too impatient. I know I should give this book a chance, but I just hope it gets better. Otherwise I will probably not finish it.

Given my struggles with the previous read, I put it down and picked up Jenny Lawson’s newest book. And it feels like I picked up right where I left off with her. She is just as funny and her antics are just as crazy, though even more relatable. I am not that far into this book either but the first chapter had me hysterical as she tells about the times that she lost shoes, while still wearing them. And I can totally relate to it, though I never had to fight the elevator or tell a hotel manager that the elevator ate her shoe. HAHA. Though never say never.

What I plan to read next:

I have heard nothing but good things about this book and everyone at book club was raving about it when I announced that this was our next read. I am hoping that I feel the same way. Since this is a behemoth of a novel, we are taking up two months to get through it. We are reading parts 1-4 for September and then finishing the last 4 sections for October. I want to leave myself plenty of time to get through it, in case I don’t find it as great as everyone else thought.

How has your reading week been? What are you currently reading? Have you read any on this list?

Monday reading check in

I normally don’t do a weekly update. In the past I thought it was a bit of overkill, but honestly, since my reading has been a little off the rails of late, I thought maybe this could keep me on track. So I figured I would try it out for a few and see how it works.

This past week has been one huge dumpster fire at work to put it mildly. It started with the AG’s report on our governor and then spiraled out of control from there. Every day was either dealing with potential PR crises or just flat out busy with projects. I am definitely not looking forward to today as it is our monthly meeting and the Monday’s have a habit of getting a bit hectic. Shoot this whole week is going to be hectic. I just have to breathe.

To help distract me from the stress of work, I have been absorbing myself in my reading so I am currently on track in that department. So without further ado, here is what I recently finished, what I am currently reading and what I plan to read next.

What I recently finished:

“Ending Up” was as good as I thought it was going to be, though unexpectedly sad at the end. Overall, my book club thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought Amis was indeed a great writer. I hope to have a review up this week about our discussion.

What I am currently reading

I have never read Andy Weir before, though “The Martian” is currently sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust. For some reason I picked this book for my August BOTM and when it arrived, I immediately got sucked in. Weir set up this story well, as we watch our protagonist wake up from a coma to find his crewmates dead and he has no recollection where he. Through brief flashbacks, he discovers that he is currently light years from Earth on a life-saving mission. This seriously is anxiety inducing as we learn everything with our character as he tries to remember what he has to do, right down to how to fly the ship that he is on. While Weir can get super technical on the science at parts, his writing is so clear and moves right along the page that even if you don’t know all the words. you don’t miss a beat. I am more than halfway thought this and I can’t way to see how it ends.

What I plan to read next:

This is my August book for “Metaphorically Speaking Book Club”. We meet on the 20th to discuss so I have to get this one out of the way. The summary is a bit elusive but intriguing. I am actually interested in reading this, only because I have never heard of it before.