Friday, July 9, 2010

reading recap: june.

See previous recaps herehere, here, and here.

Book: Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women
Finished: Early June

A good biography must be read slowly and deliberately, which is why it took me a good month to make it through Harriet Riesen’s Alcott biography. I’d asked for the book for Christmas after seeing the pretty cover in a local bookstore, but it was a no-go. But, as providence would have it, I wound buying my very own copy in Louisa May Alcott’s hometown of Concord, Massachusetts (a much more memorable choice). Riesen introduced me to another side of Alcott and shared the behind-the-scenes stories of my favorite Alcott tales, including the much under-appreciated An Old-Fashioned Girl. Not every girl who cried through Little Women is going to want to read this book (let’s face it, not everyone likes a biography). But if you do plow through, I think you’ll be pleased. I know I was.


Book: Home
Finished: Late June

I remember the night I finished Gilead, Jordan had to make sure I wasn’t crying over something seriously wrong. “No,” I had sobbed. “This is just the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.” Somehow, I missed the release of Home, Marilynn Robinson’s follow-up (but very separate) novel about Gilead, the Boughton family, and their prodigal son, Jack. While glancing through Border’s bargain bins before heading out of town (isn’t that what you do to prepare for a week of travel?), I found a hardbound copy of Home for $5.99. I was sold. Two days later, I was mildly depressed. Reading a good book will do that to you. I do think I liked Gilead better (the style and narrative of that novel were so unique), but Robinson’s ability to tell a spiritual story without coming across as preachy is powerful and convincing. I found myself relating, in some way or another, to all the characters: Jack, the lost boy not sure if he can come home; Glory, the responsible sibling trying to discover a place for herself back in Gilead; and Robert, the patriarch of the family, trying — and sometimes failing — to be a loving, accepting father to his wayward son.


Finished: Early July

There are so many books I want to read, books I need to read, books I’ve had on my list for ages. And yet, sometimes, I just want to pick up a random book and give it a whirl. So, over July 4th weekend, I did. Joshilynn Jackson may be a popular Southern author, but I’d never read her. I saw her three books in a bookstore and — after convincing Jordan books are, indeed, more important than clothes — picked the one about Florida (and the most mysterious sounding of the bunch). I think the back cover offers a review calling The Girl Who Stopped Swimming a similar choice to The Lovely Bones. I’d say that’s accurate, though Jackson’s flair for telling a story in the Southern way is pretty unique. This is just about the perfect summer read, light, airy, both tragic and comedic, with a little mystery thrown in.

1 comment:

Kari said...

I read The Girl Who Stopped Swimming in June (or maybe May, I'd have to look). I liked it, but of all of her books, Gods in Alabama is the best. If you haven't read it, you really should.