Saturday, July 05, 2014
Just as a warning, this picture doesn't quite match up with the text. Some of the books I read I've already returned to the library and some of my library books I haven't read yet. So it goes.
I've decided that summer and classic mystery novels go hand in hand like buckets at the beach. Last summer I read the complete Sherlock Holmes and it was so fantastic. This summer I decided to read the novels of Dashiell Hammet and they have not disappointed. I'm not a big fan of contemporary mysteries, they are often too gorey for me, but I do enjoy the classics- especially by the pool. So far I've read his Red Harvest and Dain Curse and I'm working on the Maltese Falcon.
Other recent reads include:
City of Heavenly Fire- by Cassandra Clare. This is an urban fantasy YA series. It can be goofy at times, like all involved fantasy series but I like the characters and the world. These books to me, are like a fun escapist TV show.
All Joy and No Fun- by Jennifer Senior. This is a great parenting book, in that it is about the stages and development of the parents, not the kids. Each few chapters focus on a different stage of child-rearing and the ways that it emotionally and sociologically changes parents. I really related to this book and it helped me realize that our family is really at the turning point, moving from the chaotic and isolating early years into the different challenges of the scheduling and car-pooling elementary school years.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home- by Carol Rifka Brunt. I loved this novel that a friend gave me recently. It's a lovely and haunting coming-of-age story, set in the 1980s. A lonely bookish girl has always been close to her uncle, a painter. After his death from AIDS, she discovers that he had a partner, whom her parents blame. In their grief, they form a friendship that will eventually bring many hidden family dynamics to the surface.
Rules of Civility- by Amor Towles. Set in the late 1930s in New York, this novel follows a young woman from a working class immigrant background as she expands her world professionally and socially. It's filled with art deco style and martinis in smoky jazz joints and mysterious loves. Great beach read.
Listen to the Squawking Chicken- by Elaine Lui. A fun and quick memoir written by a Chinese-Canadian woman about her immigrant mother. Lui talks about her mother's difficult upbringing and how it transformed her into a a squawking chicken- loud, confident and the most important person in her daughter's life. I found it interesting to read about the differences between Lui's upbringing and the typical Western parenting. (Lui's mom didn't believe in telling her fairy tales, because you don't need to prepare for being happy, it's the hard times that need preparation.) It was also interesting to read about her mother's brand of feng shui/ Chinese zodiac luck since a lot of that was also new to me. Some of the chapters are a little thin but overall it's an interesting story of a lively lady.
An Altar in the World: a Geography of Faith- by Barbara Brown Taylor
This lovely little book came highly recommended by a friend. I've been reading it slowly, savoring. Each chapter is an exploration of a different spiritual practice that helps the author connect the sacred with the everyday. By exploring the profound mysteries in everyday moments, this is one of those books that helps you feel grateful and blessed to be right where you are.