Summer Reads (June/July/August)

I have had this post sitting in my feed waiting to be published for three months now. Can we say lazy?! I pretty much kept up with my new years resolution but have slowed down some this fall with my three books per month goal. This summer gave me some must reads. Behind the Beautiful Forevers will change your life or at least your outlook on your place in the world. And Jeannette Walls second book did not disappoint either!

Bringing Up Girls
by James Dobson
Finished in June

If you have a daughter, this is possibly the scariest book you will ever read. Dobson of "Focus On the Family" obviously writes from a Christian perspective but really everyone could benefit from his research and point of view. It took him twice as long to write as Bringing up Boys with hundreds more pages of research. He discusses everything from Disney's billion dollar princess industry to protecting our daughters on the internet to discussing promiscuity. I found it fascinating as well as applicable. Don't expect to finish overnight. This is one I highlighted and dog eared to death in hope to go back to my notes again and again.
The House I Loved
The House I Loved
by Tatiana de Rosnay
Finished the first week of July

Historical fiction is my absolute favorite genre and I'm drawn to books having to do with French culture so this has been on my reading list for a few months. This was a simple and sweet story. I didn't know much about Napoleon's vision for a new Paris so I liked hearing about a time before the city was the romantic capital we think of today.  I think the reason I am drawn to historical fiction is because it often reveals how the same problems/situations/arguments/norms span across time. They may vary but an underlying similarity is always there. You could easily compare the main character's fear of moving forward, of change, of a new city, of new ideals to the same fears that we are facing in America today, especially during an election year. I related to the character's desire to hold on to the past, her desire to fight big government and her love for what she hoped was her staked out territory in a big and changing city. Not a must read, but definitely worth picking up if you enjoy any of the topics mentioned.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers
by Katherine Boo
Finished at the end of July

I could write about five posts on this book alone! I picked it up at the library because after reading so much fiction set in India or around the Indian culture (Jhumpa Lahiri is one of my favs), I thought it would be interesting to really delve into some non-fiction. It was a long one so I almost returned it after one chapter and reaching my due date. I can tell you that finishing it was well worth the eight dollars in late fees. Written by an American who married an Indian man, moved to India and fell in love with its culture; Boo submerges herself in the slum life of Mumbai's under city. She tells the tale of several real life characters while throwing at you questions of morality, human suffering, economic growth, and how EVERYONE is affected by the global market. It was enlightening, haunting, fascinating and something I still cannot quit thinking about. I think everyone should read this just to have the experience of living beyond their front door. Go out, read it and call me--I would love to do a book club on this one. I loved it!

Half Broke Horses
by Jeannette Walls
Listened to on cd mid August

If you read The Glass Castle, the this should be on top of your reading list. After being constantly stopped in the street, at book readings, and being emailed all the time about her less than normal mother; Walls set out to write a book explaining her mother's life. The more she and her mother talked however, it became clear that her mother's story could not be separated from her grandmother's. After some coaxing from her mother, Walls decided to write a book based on the life of her grandmother.

Where We Belong
by Emily Giffin
Finished the very first of August

I have loved Emily Giffin since she first introduced us to Darcy and Rachel in Something Borrowed (don't see the movie, get the book). She never disappoints and I have been excited about this book since April and just waiting for it to hit the shelf on July 31st.  Called the modern day Jane Austen, she truly writes how a woman wants to read. Though her stories are everyday concerns or issues women may deal with, she has such a fresh point of view and somehow always makes it a page turner. I finished the book in a day. Not thought provoking but a perfect summer read, one I might pick up again. I love it when a book creates a place you might want to go back to. And not to give anything away--it covers one of my favorite topics.

The Mermaid Chair
by Sue Monk Kidd
Finished last week of August

I thought this book was more recent than early millenium and for some reason the the tone seemed older than that. I listened to this on book cd while painting the upstairs for two days so I wasn't able to completely delve into it. Good book, good plot, not a life changer. I would suggest as a beach read but not in a Dorothy Benton Frank kind of way--much better than that. 

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